Escape from New York: Central Park Provides Peace

When I didn’t find the serenity I was looking for at the High Line, I parted ways with one of my friends and met up with another at the entrance to Central Park on 59th street.

I had not seen my friend in some time – since grad school at Temple – and we decided to take a walk through the park, catch up, and escape the honking horns of the city for an hour.

Straight honesty: I severely underestimated the size of the park. After an hour of leisurely walking and looping and taking in the views, we found ourselves only on 70th street (the park goes all the way to 110th street).

Some of my friends in the city think it’s a shame that the main thing New Yorkers have to save themselves from the endless concrete is overrun with tourists. I hear it – a lot of areas are very crowded and far from an escape – but the park is so damn big. I noticed plenty of places to hide, plenty of green space to spread a blanket on.

That was the best part for me – you could walk for an hour and only explore a small portion of the park, and it would take several trips to cover the whole thing. It was truly impressive and almost like escaping the city entirely (I now understand why Kevin McCallister chose it as a hiding place).

That all said, despite Central Park’s grandeur, I think I am more of a fan of the way Chicago has set up its city – making an effort to ensure every neighborhood has some type of green space, as opposed to creating one gigantic super-park that most likely dominates the city’s budget.

I’m not going to get into the politics of it – just saying – when you compare the High Line with Central Park, you can easily see which child is the favorite.

I didn’t feel that way in the Windy City, as Chicago’s parks seemed more for the residents than the tourists. I can’t help to think that Central Park, despite it’s size, is really inconvenient for many locals to access. I know they have the subway, but I guess I’m thinking more along the lines of families with small children – have fun taking the stroller on those underground sardine canisters.

In other words, I can see how locals get sour on Central Park. But that doesn’t take away from the beauty of it, nor does it make it any less captivating for those of us who don’t live in the city. I definitely recommend a walk through when you visit the Big Apple – it was the best thing I did on my trip.

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