Step off the crowded sidewalks of 59th Street into Central Park, and you’ll hardly realize what lies before you: 693 acres of man-made gardens, meadows, forests, and rolling hillsides. If you ambled down every one of Central Park’s pathways, you would walk 58 miles!
Along the way, you pass fountains, monuments, sculptures, bridges, and arches. Plus 21 playgrounds, a winter ice-skating rink, a zoo, and even a castle. But you’d hardly notice the four major crosstown thoroughfares, which cleverly disappear into foliage-covered tunnels. What you will do is break out into a Sound of Music-style sprint upon arriving at Sheep Meadow or the Great Lawn.
Don't miss Conservatory Water, the seasonal pond on the East Side (from 72nd to 75th Streets) made famous in E.B. White’s iconic children's novel, Stuart Little.
And if you're afraid of getting lost, there’s a trick to reorienting yourself: check the numbers at the base of any lamp post. Each is inscribed with four numbers — the first two digits indicate the nearest cross-street; the second two signal whether you’re closer to the east or west side of the park (even numbers mean east; odd, west). If you never venture north of Times Square, NYC might seem entirely flat, but Central Park will prove otherwise. So whether you’re jogging or in a wheelchair (most of the park is handicap-accessible), mentally prepare yourself for some winded inclines.