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Neighborhood Guide: Central Park

Even if you live in a luxury apartment on the Upper East Side, space and peace can still be somewhat elusive in energetic New York City. So to have wide-open fields on which to run and play, and fresh air, and soft grass to lie down upon and feel the sunshine on your face.. well, you can understand why the Park is so priceless.

The genius of the Park lies in its landscaping and design, developed in 1857 by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. Spread out over 843 acres (and right through the heart of some of most expensive real estate on the planet), there are enough diverse habitats to please everyone, and satisfy every mood. Vast fields for soccer, softball, and Frisbee; lush green lawns, perfect for picnics and sunbathing; deep woods in which all of the surrounding buildings, all of the traffic noise and people, disappear; tracks for horse-riding, paths for strolling, ponds for rowing; two ice skating rinks, a carousel, a theater, ancient artifacts, and the Central Park Zoo, home to a rain forest, a tribe of monkeys, and frolicsome sea lions, polar bears and penguins; it’s all Central Park.

But perhaps what makes the Park so special is that it truly is a place where everyone is equal… and not just on the lawns, and running tracks, and bike paths. Every summer the Park plays host to dozens of free concerts and theatrical performances, in which admission is given on a strictly first-come, first-served basis. Among the most sought after events are the performances by the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera on the Great Lawn; Shakespeare in the Park—two different plays, usually with a famous movie star in one of the lead roles—at the Delacourt Theater; and the impressive line-up of rock bands and world beats at the annual, season-long Summer Stage festival.

Central Park is centrally located between 59th and 110th Streets, and Central Park West and Fifth Avenues.

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