Bohemia Blog by Agent David Ellis
After the long winter, New Yorkers are excited about the warmer weather, especially if they have kids. The bitter cold and snow kept my almost 3-year-old daughter (and many of her friends) inside an apartment on too many days. And now, she is bouncing off the walls...sometimes literally. However, the temperatures are rising and we can now enjoy our city’s magnificent green spaces.
The northwest corner of Central Park in South Harlem is one of those spaces. Arguably the most famous park in the city, Central Park was created in 1850 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and covers over 843 acres. The park has had its ups and downs over its 156 year history. Yet today, “city officials and park professionals from across America and around the world come to the Central Park Conservancy Institute for Urban Parks to learn of its best practices to restore and manage their local parks.”
But let’s get back to the reason that families go to the park: to play! From the Frederick Douglass Memorial (sometimes referred to as the Gateway to Harlem), it is a short walk to the West 110th Street playground. This small but beautiful playground is surrounded by a valley of trees that provides shade over a portion of the space. The playground includes a sandbox, water features and bucket swings. Open daily at 8:00am for your early-riser, this playground is gated and good for siblings. The equipment is appropriate for a decent age range and the ground is covered in springy rubber matting. Be advised, though, that the closest bathrooms are a bit of a walk from the playground.
If you need some open green space (or a bathroom) for the kids, walk up to The Great Hill. This beautiful hilltop meadow has views of the Hudson River and the Palisades. It’s a great place for picnics and games or a run on the oval track. There are even jazz concerts here during the warmer months. Just west of the oval is the Peter Jay Sharp Children’s Glade. As noted on Central Park’s website, “Without formal fences and floors, a child's imagination is free to roam.” The Glade is the perfect place for kids to explore nature, learn about biodiversity and attend family-friendly workshops.
Thanks to the folks at MommyPoppins.com, you can even teach your kids how not to get lost in Central Park: “Most of the lamp posts are embossed with numbers and can help you get where you are going. The first two numbers in the series correlate to the street number you would be on if the street went through the park – so you will always know how far north or south you have traveled, for example: #9202 means you would be on 92nd Street. Streets north of 100th street will start with 01, 02, and so on.”
While I certainly hope that you take the time to explore the northwest corner of Central Park, don’t stop there! The Loch in Central Park is mid-park at approximately 102nd Street and boasts three separate waterfalls. (Who knew our city had its very own Loch? I hope we don’t have a Loch Central Park Monster though!) The Harlem Meer, with catch and release fishing and other activities, is in the northeast corner of the park. So pack the picnic basket, dust off the Frisbees and don’t forget to apply some sunscreen.