Friday, September 28, 2007

Have a Blast Visiting Central Park, New York

When going on a tourist trip to New York, the sheer amount of things to tick off the list seems staggering, especially in terms of places to go. The Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, perhaps taking a visit to watch stockbrokers yelling at each other on the trading floors of the New York Stock Exchange - it all adds up. So why not take a break by visiting Central Park to recharge your batteries?

The mere concept of Central Park is quite amazing - a landscaped park area, measuring 843 acres (twice as large as Monaco and eight times as big as Vatican city), the park lies slap-bang in the centre of the borough of Manhattan - one of the most expensive property areas in the world, second only to central Tokyo. The value of the land Central Park occupies is estimated at nearly $529 billion, making it by far the most expensive area of parkland in the world.

Whilst much of the area looks like natural wooded grassland, the entire park is in fact painstakingly and exquisitely landscaped. The park contains many attractions, including several natural lakes with fondly-given nicknames, many walking trails, a wildlife sanctuary, a large open area devoted to sporting pursuits, two ice-skating rinks and many playgrounds for children. Additionally, the area is hugely popular with native New York joggers, being the only open area for miles across the Manhattan borough.

Many professional races are run in and through the park, including sections of the New York Marathon. This finishes inside Central Park next to Tavern on the Green, an extremely famous restaurant that's featured in such films as Wall Street and Ghostbusters.

But sport is not the only activity for which Central Park is most cherished - entertainment is also very high up the list, with many famous music acts having performed concerts there throughout the years, including legendary performances from Simon and Garfunkel and Dave Matthews Band.

Central Park has it's own fair share of talent and celebrity too - local folk singer/songwriter David Ippolito, more often known by his usual moniker of "That Guitar Guy From Central Park", has been regularly performing every summer weekend in the park since 1992 and regularly draws crowds of up to 500 people, locals and tourists alike. In fact, such is his love for Central Park, it is the only place he ever performs.

So when you're on holiday, take a little time off from the clamour of Fifth Avenue and Times Square. You'll be able to find a range of hotels near Central Park from which you'll be able to access the area's tranquillity with ease and spend some quiet time revelling in the more laidback side of the hectic Big Apple lifestyle.

Adam Singleton is an online, freelance journalist and keen amateur photographer. His portfolio, called Capquest Photography is available to view online.