The Mall, May 2007. When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux began work on Central Park in the 1860s, the vast area at their disposal was little more than marshland. Their vision was simple: To build the world’s greatest park, a place that could be enjoyed by all New Yorkers, regardless of colour, class or creed. In these respects, and indeed so many others, The Big Apple’s premier green space has been a resounding success. For those seeking a simple walking route through the middle of the park, look no further than The Mall, a pretty tree-lined walkway running from 66th to 72nd street.
Bethesda Terrace, May 2007. Follow The Mall in either direction and you’ll soon come upon Bethesda Terrace and its fountain. Accessed by three stone staircases, today the park employs a sculptor to maintain the impressive sandstone carvings. The terrace provides wonderful views of Central Park Lake, while movie fans may remember the fountain from Ransom, when Mel Gibson’s onscreen son is kidnapped by Gary Sinise and friends.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, May 2007. This amazing reservoir was probably my favorite Central Park spot for getting shots of the NYC skyline. Holding a billion gallons of water, the now decommissioned basin is famed for the 1.58-mile running track that encircles the water. In 1994 the reservoir was named after former US first lady Jackie Onassis, who revealed it was her favorite jogging spot.
Strawberry Fields Memorial, May 2007. This western area of the park, located between 71st and 74th streets, was a favorite walking spot of the late Beatle John Lennon. In fact, in the 1970s he lived just across the road with his wife Yoko Ono in the famous Dakota Building. When he was tragically murdered outside his home on December the 8th, 1980, plans were set in motion to re-landscape his best-loved section of the park. Eventually re-named Strawberry Fields after one of Lennon’s most popular songs; its focal point is this black and white Imagine mosaic with its message of peace and humanitarianism. Day in day out musicians come here to play music and honor Lennon’s legacy.
The Great Lawn, May 2007. This fifty-five acre stretch of pasture sits right in the centre of the park and is one of the most famous lawns in the world. Open from mid April to mid November, it’s a great people-watching spot, with snacking, drinking, kite flying, soccer-playing, Frisbee-throwing, napping, studying, juggling, acrobatics and even baseball training on the eight diamond-shaped pits that run along the outer rim. I remember slumping under a tree with a salad box from a local deli and watching it all play out. The lawn also hosts concerts from time to time, with Bon Jovi, Diana Ross and Paul Simon all boasting triumphant performances.