Every year, more than 42 million people visit Central Park, which is more than any other urban Park in the world.
In 1859, the sanctuary of rolling hills, bridges and lakes taking shape in the heart of Manhattan was described in The New York Times as a “noble work, which is so clearly destined to be the honor and delight of New York.” Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park’s more than 840 acres are spotted with sculptures, monuments , fountains. There is a carousel, a castle, a marionette theater, a zoo and more than a dozen playgrounds in the Central Park. I devoted many posts to my favorite place in New York- I wrote about the pond and castle, reservoir and marionette theater.
This new post is about the Ramble, the heavily wooded area, interwoven with narrow, winding trails, and dotted with large granite boulders. It is one of the most magical parts of Central Park...you would never know you're in the middle of Manhattan.
For those who like a long walk in nature but who also like their comforts not far away, a visit to the Ramble in Central Park should fit the bill. This 38 acre site of wild woods sits roughly between 78th on the north and 73rd on the south.
With winding, shaded pathways, man-made streams, and beautiful wildly-landscaped flora and fauna, this is a place you want to get “lost” in.
The Ramble contains a number of wooden bridges, including this one that crosses the small stream called The Gill (it is actually man-made and is fed by a pipe connecting it to the Central Park Reservoir).
This was one of the first parts of the Park to be built, and except for the bedrock platform, it is totally artificial. Even the water running in the stream and the adjacent Lake is turned on and off like a faucet. Some of the trees you see date back to 1859 when the Ramble was planted.
To use the words of Park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, The Ramble is a 36-acre "wild garden." Central Park's designers imagined a tranquil spot where visitors could stroll, discover forest gardens rich with plantings, and meander along the paths. This truly is a place for the urban explorer to escape the city and get lost in nature.
In the Ramble birding is especially rewarding because, according to the Central Park website, it is on the Atlantic Flyway, a migration route that birds follow in the spring and fall.