Tuesday, 10 February 2009


Birdseye view of Central Park from the south

There are two popular but misplaced myths about Central Park. The first concerns personal safety and is epitomised in the old gag about "a newly arrived tourist to New York City who is asked by a stranger outside Grand Central Station the directions to Central Park. He replies he doesn't know whereupon the stranger asks him if he minds being mugged here instead."

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......and from the north

Safety concerns were an issue at one time but in the past decade or so, much effort and money has been invested by the City to improve visitors safety throughout Manhattan, nowhere more so than in Central Park. Today it is as safe or safer than a city center parkland anywhere in the world with not only constant police patrols but its own very visible on-site security force. Commonsense would preclude walking through the Park late at night or away from the lit paths and roadways but that sensible precaution probably applies to your home town environment as well.
The Park is a great place to chill out at weekends
Central Park is two-and-a-half miles long and half-a-mile wide and contains 36 stone arches and bridges. It covers 840 acres with 185 acres set aside for lakes and ponds. The reservoir in the park holds one billion gallons of water and is 40 feet deep, and the Conservatory Gardens cover four acres.
....or a place for reflection

The second myth is best illustrated by the comedy routine that starts "You Know You're From New York When.........You think Central Park is 'nature'." For goodness sake, what does one expect slap bang in the center of one of the most densely populated and built-on cities on this globe........the Yosemite National Park, the South American Rain Forests, or the Borneo Jungles?

There are, on average, 42 bald eagles and 11,000 hawks spotted over the park annually. One golden eagle was spotted over the park, and 20 raccoons live in the park, mainly in the west 70's. The park is open for 18 hours a day and attracts an average of 14 million people a year.

Central Park is truly an oasis providing a welcome relief from the hectic pace in Manhattan to both residents and visitors.

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