The Hidden Gems of Central Park

October 27, 2011
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Stepping down the elaborate staircase that open up to the iconic fountain surrounded by tourists, struggling musicians, dog lovers and everything in between its evident you are in the heart of central park in New York City. This scene has been featured in numerous movies and is instantly associated with Central Park. It is an icon after all, and to many tourists it is the only icon. It takes a true die-hard central park transcendentalist, though, to look past the fountain and step off the beaten path in Central Park. It is then one can find numerous secluded locations filled with enormous trees towering over a variety of vibrant plants, whimsical wooden bridges and secret lakes making you feel as if you’ve stepped out of New York City and into a Jane Austen novel.
One should first venture to 79th street on the west side to the Shakespeare Garden. Filled with a collection of flowers mentioned in Shakespeare’s numerous plays outlining long winding paths, this hidden gem is the perfect image of seclusion. Many of the flowers found in the garden, such as a rosemary plant, are accompanied by the quote in which they were alluded to help visitors fully appreciate each flower planted in the garden. Despite the overwhelming beauty and meaning of the Shakespeare Garden it is often forgotten. However, once one enters this garden one cannot help but feel creative and allow their romantic side to show. It is the perfect location to escape from the hectic life of the city and be inspired to possibly become the next literary genius, or at least conquer the Shakespearean play assigned in class.
To further commemorate cultural icons one can head to Strawberry Fields on the west side between 74th and 71st street. Designed to pay tribute to the great singer, songwriter and musician John Lennon from the popular 1960’s band The Beatles, Strawberry Fields, derived from Lennon’s song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” is a specially carved tear shape region in the park filled with plenty of foliage. The highlight of the region is the black and white mosaic tile with Imagine, another Beatle’s song title, inscribed in the middle. It is designed to represent war and conflict. To complete the tribute to Lennon, a peace activist, the area is designated as a garden of peace, meaning it is a quite zone in Central Park. It is forbidden to disrupt to peace of Lennon’s memory and everything he represented. This serenity makes Strawberry Field an ideal location to take out the IPod, play a Beatles song and contemplate world peace.
For those seeking to step back into the Victorian Age, or at least enjoy the beauty of Central Park, one should venture over to center of the park near 79th street to see Belvedere Castle. Designed in 1865, the castle was meant initially meant to be an impressive attraction in the park and with two balconies boasting breathtaking panoramic views of Turtle Pond, and the Great Lawn mission was completed. The stone building topped with a flag eventually came to hold a greater purpose though. It currently houses numerous artifacts that especially appeal to nature lovers such as paper mache birds. One can also head to the castle to use binoculars to discover the park from a scientific approach to observe birds like hawks and osprey.





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