Central Park is one of the urban wonders of the world, a field of green embedded in the concrete streets of New York City. Home to the Central Park Boathouse, Central Park Conservatory, Bethesda Foundation, and Strawberry Fields – the home of John Lennon’s “Imagine” memorial – Central Park offers endless opportunities for learning and entertainment. You can access the park through the Merchants Gate located at 59th Street and Columbus Circle.
Photo: Sara Cedar Miller/Central Park Conservancy
West 59th Street at Broadway For more than a century, this landmark, named for Christopher Columbus and centered around a 70-foot granite column with a statue of the explorer, has been a major intersection at the crossroads of two of NYC’s most famous streets, Broadway and Central Park South. An extensive renovation has added fountains, benches and plant tiers, making it an ideal spot to break from shopping or to plan a tour through Central Park. At night the fountains are illuminated by 300 lights, creating a romantic atmosphere that will almost make you forget the traffic circling around you.
Photo: The Shops at Columbus Circle
Stretching four miles along the Hudson River and designed by Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Riverside Park spans more than 300 acres and runs from 72nd Street to 158th Street. The park is ideal for bike riding, running and sunbathing and features a shoreline and promenade, basketball, volleyball and tennis courts, football and softball fields, and a public marina as well as lovely views of the Palisades.
Photo: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation