NFT New York Central Park

Central Park



This Neighborhood Featured in...
Robert Moses Commands

By Michael Massmann
Sure, he's a controversial figure, but ain't you glad we got fast-moving roadways, tunnels and heaps of stark, unvarying violence-inciting public housing? Michael Massman chronicles the mind (or maybe just the history) of the 20th century Machiavelli.

Four Zoos and an Aquarium

By Diana Pizzari
Animals! They're not just for slaughtering anymore. Diana Pizzari's got a thing or four to share about her favorite city zoos and aquarium. Open your ears and clear your minds of meat lust as she details some little-known factoids about bison, breeding and the Bronx.


On Our Radar:

Posted By:  Leigh Raynor
Photo:  Leigh Raynor

Harlem Meer
This small lake at the northeast corner of Central Park (110th Street and Fifth Avenue) is a shockingly tranquil setting and unique from the rest of Central Park for its (albeit slight) changes in elevation. Instead of the flat expanse of the Reservoir, the Harlem Meer is surrounded by rocky cliffs and the rolling tree-covered hills of the North Woods. It is a superb spot for people-watching and the diversity of families and folks walking the perimeter of the water makes a New Yorker proud to call this city home. Also, it doesn't hurt that a faint murmur of the latest pop hits can be heard wafting over the water from the ice skating rink/swimming pool at the southwest corner of the lake.

Posted By:  Sarah Enelow
Photo:  Sarah Enelow

Central Park
According to some, riding through Central Park in a horse-drawn carriage is a quintessential New York experience, but I would like to make a note on behalf of these brave animals. Having grown up in the Texas Hill Country, I am quite familiar with horses. I know what they need to live a peaceful existence, none of which includes clip-clopping down Central Park South as an M5 bus bears down on them. I find it grotesque to take one of nature's most majestic animals, put a hat on his head, slap on a pair of blinders, and make him trot on pavement (which is terrible for their hooves) in the country's most hostile metropolis, without the benefit of peripheral vision. Horses simply need wide open spaces, ideally several acres per animal. On the other hand, regarding the drivers, who am I to protest against someone's job during a recession? If the horses must stay, I hope they're treated well after the tourists walk away.

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Central Park
The sounds of chainsaws and woodchippers, lumber jack-type guys driving big trucks, felled tree trunks scattered across the ground...Is this rural Oregon in the 1970s? Nope, it's the northern end of Central Park after the biggest storm in thirty years. It's an eerie feeling to walk around the park north of 96th Street this week. On Monday, a massive storm whipped through with powerful lightning strikes and 80 mph winds. Final damage count: over 200 trees destroyed and thousands of others damaged. It's not a pretty site. But just like the city itself, Central Park is tough and can easily take a few hits now and then. Crews are already getting ready to plant new trees that will be big and strong long after the rest of us are history.

Posted By:  Rob Tallia
Photo:  Rob Tallia

Central Park
Yes, dear New Yorkers, it may seem an impossible dream that our fair city will look like this ever again, stuck as we are in the doldrums of ass-crap March weather, but believe it or not, by May; or, at least, certainly by June--Central Park, our crowning jewel, will once again look as green and as lush as this picture. We may not have jobs, the Parks Department may not have enough money to buy gas to mow the grass, but we can at least know that we can go to Central Park and just chill out for an afternoon, before we have to go home to our Anarchist Squat and eat Ramen Noodles. And frankly, there are worse things to contemplate (unless you've got cancer or someone is shooting at you currently; then, you can complain freely). Otherwise, let's just try to hold on until the picture materializes

Posted By:  Craig Nelson
Photo:  Craig Nelson

Sheep Meadow
It’s getting hot outside. Really hot. But thanks to some bold urban planning in the 19th century, we have a gigantic park in the middle of our little island—the perfect spot for a Sunday afternoon picnic. You’ll see a lot of people lugging Whole Foods goodies from the salad bar into Central Park. Not a horrible option, but you can do a lot better. Here’s the plan: Hit up your favorite sandwich spot. I recommend Faicco’s in Greenwich Village. Get an Italian special on sesame bread, ask for it spicy, and throw on some sundried tomatoes. Next, grab a chilled bottle of crisp wine (perhaps an Espelt white from Spain), and head for the Sheep Meadow. Bring a blanket, some plastic cups, and a special friend(s). You can find a nice grassy spot and some cool shade along the edges of the meadow in the late afternoon. And although you may need to watch out for an errant Frisbee or soccer ball knocking over your wine glass, you won’t have to worry about any dogs hounding your tasty sandwich—this is strictly a no pooch zone.

Posted By:  Rachel Greenwald
Photo:  Rachel Greenwald

What is public theater? Is it rising at 6 am to sit on Central Park asphalt until 11 am? Is it purchasing two meals between 11:30 am and 8 pm to avoid returning to the outer boroughs? Doesn’t purchasing two meals defeat the purpose of free tickets? And what ever happened to putting actors on stage instead of celebrities? This kind of public theater is for clueless, wealthy college students. New York Classical Theater, on the other hand, is theater for the masses. No tickets are required, which means the employed stay employed. Just show up Thursday through Sunday at the corner of 103rd and Central Park West at 7 pm (most performances) for Elizabethan through Enlightenment drama. But beware: exercise is required, because the mildly oppressed get nothing for free. Environmental theater, New York Classical’s specialty, has the audience follow the actors around the park from scene to scene. And the actors really are actors, because they create distinct characters, project their voices in an acoustically difficult arena, and pace Shakespearian English so that the audience can follow easily. Love’s Labour’s Lost is playing through June 24. But one last and important piece of environmental theater advice: smart hoi polloi bring a picnic blanket to avoid grass stains on super-cheap fifteen dollar jeans.

Posted By:  Sarah Liston
Photo:  Sarah Liston

Central Park Croquet & Bowling Lawn
When the film Heathers came out in 1989, croquet got a new identity. Once reserved for blue-haired, bluebloods with mansions and sprawling estates, it suddenly became naughty, sexy, and something those bitchy “popular” girls did in the film while wearing pumps with lace-trimmed socks. And it didn’t hurt that an impromptu match of strip croquet led to a late night shag between the characters played by Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. But croquet is not just for bitches and bluebloods anymore. Now you can get a piece of the action yourself in a fenced-in, members-only court in the middle of Central Park—where you can croquet the day away, as well as dabble in lawn bowling (rolling curve balls as close to the white ball known as a “jack” as possible). The Croquet and Lawn Bowling Courts are just north of Sheep’s Meadow (near CPW Drive and W 69th St) and are open daily from 8 am to dusk. All players are required to hold permits; full members, who pay a reasonably low annual fee (say $30-$50), get their own keys to the greens. Take that Gramercy Park key-holders! You aren’t so special now, are ya?

Posted By:  Ran Lee
Photo:  Rachel Milkovich

The Central Park Zoo is a favorite hangout for Upper East Side kids and their nannies. Go check out the penguinsand watch them swim back-and-forth endlessly at eye-level in their sunken tank. Visit Ida the polar bear, who spends her days playing with plastic garbage cans and lying around Al Bundy-style. Catch the sea lions earning their keep. Skip the “petting zoo” which is essentiallya farm with pellet vending machines strewn about. OK, it’s not the Bronx Zoo, but it’s a helluva lot easier to get to.

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