This Autumn I achieved a significant bucket list objective; to explore New York and visit Central Park, The High Line and as many of New York’s green spaces that I could fit in. NYC really is a feast for the senses and as a first time visitor, you really have to embrace the city and hit it head on. 

Central Park  

Urban green space is vital for offering a calm restorative environment within cities, and Central Park did not disappoint. My visit to New York took place during a heatwave and so the obvious way to spend the first day was by cycling around Central Park in the sunshine.  On July 21, 1853, the New York State Legislature enacted into law the setting aside of more than 750 acres of land central to Manhattan Island to create America's first major landscaped public park; "the Central Park." Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the winners of the 1858 design competition for Central Park, along with other socially conscious reformers understood that the creation of a great public park would improve public health and contribute greatly to the formation of a civil society. Immediately, the success of Central Park fostered the urban park movement, one of the great hallmarks of democracy of nineteenth century America.                      

The park has suffered the same historic challenges as our own within the UK: underfunding, vandalism and neglect and has been improved with a program of restoration projects that have informed its present condition and it is now managed through a successful public-private partnership through the Central Park Conservancy.

  

The Conservancy volunteers help to maintain this valuable green space and meet up regularly to keep the park clean and tidy. It's a very naturalistic space incorporating the bed rock of the city and complimenting the mountainous presence of the skyscraper clusters. The park benefits from mature trees, a large lake and a cafe and restaurant that provide opportunities to eat and drink within the beautiful surroundings of the park.

     

Cycling around Central Park's one-way cycle route provides a great opportunity to see the city from all different angles and feel the breathing space that the park offers to everyone. It is a glorious multi functional green-space, utilised by all for all types of exercise and recreation as well as an outdoor classroom for school children. 

Helen Taylor