A Day in Central Park

Central Park is enormous and so much bigger than I could have imagined.  My sister had advised us to allow two full days to ensure we saw most of what the Park has to offer.

There are a lot of statues in the Park

So well maintained

The only trouble is that with so many other things to see, we only had time for one day in the Park.  We took the subway to Lexington and 63rd Street and then walked along 63rd, crossing over Park Avenue, Madison Avenue and then along Fifth Avenue until we found the entrance to the Park.

The Plaza from the Park

The Plaza from the Park

It was a busy Saturday and there were a lot of people in the Park; tourists wandering around and locals picnicking, jogging, strolling, exercising, busking, dating and relaxing.  There was a lot going on.

A horse and carriage ride

A horse and carriage ride

We quickly noticed the horse and carriage rides and decided that would be a good way to begin seeing some of the Park.  The place you start your horse and carriage ride is close to the Park’s entrance on Fifth Avenue where you can see the Plaza Hotel across the road.

All ready for our ride

All ready for our ride

Despite lots of people being in the Park we didn’t have to wait for a ride.  The carriage rides go for 20-minutes and take a set route although you can hire them for longer and then experience more of the Park.  As a 20-minute ride costs $50.00 we decided that would have to be long enough.  The cost seemed very expensive but I had to consider how many opportunities I would have to do this in my lifetime.

On Fifth Avenue passing the Plaza Hotel

On Fifth Avenue passing the Plaza Hotel

We were there on a very warm summer’s day and while there were many people enjoying seeing the Park while being pulled along by a horse, our driver told us the busiest time for him is when the Park is covered in fresh snow with tiny snowflakes still falling.

The Plaza

The Plaza

Our ride took us out of the Park and along Fifth Avenue where we went past the Plaza Hotel.  I’d seen the Plaza in so many movies that I recognised it instantly.  I saw it in Arthur, then Home Alone II, then Scent of a Woman.  Later in the day I did try to have a wander through the lobby but it is strictly for ‘Residents Only’.

'Residents Only'

‘Residents Only’

While on our ride we noticed you can hire bikes so that was the next thing Arabella wanted to do.  We said goodbye to our horse and walked up Fifth Avenue trying to find out where to hire bikes (because you can’t hire them inside the Park).  If you can’t find where to hire them, don’t worry – the bike companies employ people to find you!

Our first horse and carriage ride

Our first horse and carriage ride

As we were wandering around looking helpless, a young man approached asking us if we wanted to hire bikes.  He was from Sayat Bike Rental which is about a block from the Park and he took us down to his premises where we had to wait in line for a bike.  We hired the bikes for three hours for $25/bike.  The bikes have baskets for all your belongings, a lock, helmets (but I didn’t see anyone wearing one), and they give you a map of the Park.

View from the park of Fifth Avenue

View from the Park of Fifth Avenue

We went back to the Park and with no clue where we were going, started riding around.  I’d highly recommend hiring a bike to see the Park because it’s just too big to be able to see on foot.  We saw the memorial to John Lennon, Strawberry Fields, but I couldn’t photograph it because there were so many people crowding around it.

The park in summer is very green

A beautiful bridge and the Park in summer is very green

We went to the 20-acre lake around mid-park where a lot of people were hiring little boats to enjoy on the water.  This lake is the second largest man-made lake in the Park.

The lake

The lake

We saw the Lasker Pool that in winter becomes an ice skating rink.  The pool is open seven days but for some reason it is closed between 3-4pm.  We arrived at 3pm and saw everyone leaving.  Entry to the pool is free!  To get an idea of just how big the pool is, in the narrowest part it’s 50mtrs across and the black lines are where swimmers can do 50mtr lengths.

The pool that in winter is an ice rink

The pool that in winter is an ice rink

We kept moving along and found some teams playing softball.  We parked our bikes and sat and watched.  Arabella said she’d never played a game of softball.  I was shocked as I grew up with it being the only summer sport my school offered so year after year I played whether I wanted to or not.

Playing softball

Playing softball

All through the park you can purchase drinks and refreshments.  There are plenty of hot dog stands and stands selling icy cold drinks and ice creams.  We also came across a lone chap perched on the side of the road with an esky selling bottles of chilled water for a dollar – bargain!

The Saturday crowd

The Saturday crowd

As we cycled along the roads that weave through the Park, I couldn’t help thinking about the restroom situation.  As I’ve already shared, New York is devoid of public restrooms and Central Park is no exception.  I was told there are some but I had two maps of the Park and neither showed restrooms.  We cycled around for a few hours and didn’t see any either.  A local told me that your best option is to go across to the Plaza Hotel and enter the Todd English Food Court where there are some restrooms, then head back across the road to the Park.  I’m not sure what the Plaza thinks about this.

A view from the bridge

A view from the bridge

Central Park stretches across Manhattan in a space of just under 850 acres.  I doubt there is another city in the world with such a large and well-kept public park.  It’s incredibly clean, very well maintained, extremely safe and worthy of more than just a day’s visit in your sightseeing schedule.  The only thing lacking (or hidden) are the restrooms.  (Here’s a list of where they are but good luck finding them).

Action shot

Action shot

Central Park:  New York NY

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  1. Gday! Love taking a trip down memory lane with you Charlie…LOVE Central Park!
    Perhaps in all your excitement you did not notice there are 16 toilets currently there all listed on the Central park Runner’s Map; downloadable and easy to access by phone!
    Glad you enjoyed!
    Cheers! Joanne

  2. Charlie – I love all your pictures of Central Park – it’s such a cool place – I hadn’t seen the pool on our trips to it before – but we have spent a lot of time at the Central Park Zoo. Next time we are in NYC – I must do one of those carriage rides around the park.

  3. Dear Charlie,

    Lovely pics! It’s hard to imagine it’s such a big park with so many attractions.

  4. What a great blog… I’m so glad you got to get driven in a hours draw carriage… and then ride bikes… it seems like the perfect holiday (except for the toilets) I’m loving hearing about all your adventures as I knew I would. Thanks for sharing. Liz xox

  5. Haha yay for your lovely day in Central Park! So glad to hear you guys rented the bikes….I’m sure it was more fun that way!

  6. I dream of visiting, no doubt! It looks so beautiful 😀
    So want to wander through the park just like you!

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. I love Central Park, it’s such a refreshing place to be, especially in the summer in New York. Restrooms are a problem in New York and often the only option is a hotel or Macdonalds. Looks like you had a great time. GG xx

  8. You didn’t see anyone behind the bushes due to lack of rest rooms did you? I spent a little time in central park but far more passing than your efforts – would love to ride around the park but I feel quite naked on a bike without my helmet

  9. Sounds like you had a wonderful day in Central Park, except for the lack of restrooms. I don’t understand that.

  10. One thing about it…you certainly did a lot on your unplanned trip to New York. I’m glad the two of you had a good time together seeing the sights.

  11. I found the bathrooms but haven’t seen that swimming pool despite wandering around the park on two separate NYC visits! It goes to show that it really is an enormous space. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂

  12. I know I have missed a few posts but no less jealous about your wonderful trip!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  13. Thanks for sharing these photos! I have never been, but hope to go someday 🙂

  14. I doubt that I’ll get a chance to hike through Central Park (that’s a BIG place) so I enjoyed your scenic tour of some of the highlights. And the horse and carriage ride sounds like a a good price when you must consider the cost of maintaining the horse and carriage in a big city like that.

  15. LOVELY.
    What a kick New York is.
    Love all of the great photos, Charlie.
    Thanks for the tour.
    Where’s the food????? xxx

  16. Hi Charlie, your pics of Central Park are amazing, we did not have time to check it out when we were there last and that was something I really wanted to do. Looks like a great trip.

  17. What an adventure. You certainly found the best ways to get around. You will both always remember this day.

  18. I had no idea Central Park was that big!

  19. Love your photos . . . Initially used St Regis a few blocks down as our ‘pad’ but stayed at the Plaza [hmmm . . . never really warmed to it . . . ] for a few decades. You have not missed a thing – a nice view if you had parkside a few floors up!!!!! You know they are trying to cut the horse-and-buggy rides from affront of the Plaza – that would be a NY tragedy methinks!!!! First place my two daughters always insisted on whether we had time or not 🙂 ! Actually SO many facets to The Park . . .

  20. What a fun, active day! So much goes on there-I remember seeing squirrels there. I was so excited!

  21. What a fun day! A trip with mom to NYC I’m sure Arabella will treasure forever! 🙂

  22. So beautiful! Will and I both said we regret not seeing more of the park when we were there. We just couldn’t fit it all in. We did wonder in a little bit on a Sunday with some bread and cheese for lunch but that was as far as we got.

  23. The buggy ride couldn’t be missed Charlie, it’s such an iconic thing to do 🙂 Hiring the bikes was a great idea to see as much of the park as possible- I had no idea there was a pool! Actually, I had no idea the park was so big! Xox

  24. We rented bikes in Central Park a few years ago and it was a lot of fun. I really did not appreciate the car traffic in the park, particularly the taxi cabs who never paid attention to the speed limits. It was very hot when we rented the bikes too, even though it was in May. Did you eat at the Boat House? They have a wonderful brunch and it’s mainly the locals who go. Toronto has High Park (around 500 acres), Stanley Park in Vancouver is about 1100 acres and

    • that was weird, I didn’t post the comment and bang, there it is.
      Hyde Park in London, England is around 400 acres so there are quite a few parks in major cities. What I love about all parks is that they are very well used.

  25. That looks like so much fun. I agree, carriage rides are always pricey, but as a special treat . . .

  26. I so glad you and Arabella took the time to enjoy the park. It really is special, isn’t it? And iconic, of course. Looks like you made good use of all of your time in NYC.

  27. You really captured the highlights nicely and the photos are proof you were there and had a great introduction. You’ll just have to return another time to see even more. With the way you just took off and traveled without much notice I’m quite impressed with all you were able to see and do! What wonderful memories you’ve given to Arabella! I think Alfie is probably taking notes and wondering if he’ll have to wait to be her age or will you bring him along before too much time passes? 🙂

  28. Just finished watching Sex in the City (for the millionth time) seeing Central Park makes me squeal every time. I love that you gals jumped the horse / cart buggy thing, sooooo special, and that you hired bikes and wheeled it too. Not gonna lie… Im crazy jealous. You have captured your adventure perfectly.

  29. You definitely saw more of Central Park than I did. Mike and I were there years ago and only saw a tiny bit of it. Our trip was far too short and there is so much to see, as you know. This looks like you had such a great time. I love the bike idea!

  30. Ahhh Central Park looks so different in Summer we went in Winter so it was literally covered in Snow and I would’ve loved to spend more time there but we had spent too much time at the National Museum and could only have a short walk before leaving 🙂

  31. I love that park. Too much to see in New York to spend much time there but it’s beautiful.


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