New York is the kind of city that has something for everyone; trendy nightspots, stunning architecture and a super atmosphere. Something not always associated with the isle of Manhattan is sprawling greenery, beautiful trees and fresh air - and Central Park has it all. It's the kind of a big deal, being around 843 acres in size, yet if you are south of 59th Street, you would barely even know it existed. I make sure to stroll through the park every time I'm in town, but for this trip I wanted to experience it on wheels, three wheels to be exact.
When in the park, you always see a good traffic of people touring the park by Pedicab, and I wanted to try it out for myself. Pedicabs can sometimes get a bit of a bad rep, but thanks to the powers of Google and TripAdvisor, I came across a great company called Eco Central Park Tours. The advantage of booking in advance is that you pay a flat fee, instead of paying by the minute, how many of the vendors charge at the park. It means you can enjoy the scenery without counting the minutes as you go.
Our guide for the day was named Graziano, originally from Capri and has been touring the park for 4 years. You can see pictures of the park before traveling, but it really is a different experience being there. It was a beautiful Fall afternoon with blue skies and orangey red leaves gently falling from the trees. As we traveled around the park, Graziano would tell us little facts and history into the sights as we passed them. Having been through the park before, I had walked past many of these points and never known of their significance.
A big part of the tour was showing the beautiful backdrops that have been featured in some very impressive films and television shows. In fact, the park has been seen in over 350 films alone, making it the most filmed public park in the world. Along the way we could stop off at destinations that were best experienced on foot. One such place was the Bethesda Terrace, where you can pass through a beautiful tiled walkway to met by the Bethesda Fountain, and a panorama of couples rowing boats in the lake behind. For those that are fans of Gossip Girl, you'll know this as the location of Chuck and Blair's marriage. And if you are a big fan of the show, the company also offers tours solely covering locations seen in the hit series. Another great sight was the picturesque Bow Bridge, which offers up the most romantic of locations and a great view covering the park grounds and through to the towering buildings that surround it.
The final stop on the tour was at the John Lennon memorial, Strawberry Fields. With a busker playing songs by The Beatles and dappled sunlight shining onto the marble stone, this was the perfect ending to an excellent tour. The time passed very quickly, but we had covered a long stretch of ground. This is a super option if you are in New York for a short time, as there is no way we could have seen so much on foot (unless we were jogging of course!) We learnt a great deal about the history of Central Park and now know where to go to recreate our favourite movie moments.
To find out more visit ecocentralparktours.com
Images: Richard Brownlie-Marshall
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