Great cities, by definition, MUST have great parks, in my opinion. The parks of Paris, the numerous ones in London, the green spaces in Melbourne, all bring a bit of nature into a relatively concentrated urban area. In New York, Central Park is the heart of the city in many ways. Hundreds of thousands of residents use this massive green space every day… for a casual stroll, a healthy jog, for kids to expend energy, to skate, visit a zoo or botanical garden and in the past, to ride one’s horse! Manila was originally planned by Daniel Burnham, the same guy who mapped out Washington, DC, if I am not mistaken, and the original plans for Manila (as with Baguio) included huge parks and open spaces. But somehow, The Luneta today just doesn’t cut it for me, or maybe I just live too far away from it to enjoy it. And poor urban planning or an overrun original plan has resulted in a rather chaotic metropolis park wise…
About the same size as the ritzy principality of Monaco, Central Park runs some fifty short blocks from 59th to about 110th Street, and is some 843 acres, 6% of the total land area of Manhattan, according to the official Central Park website, here. Today, it is one of the best maintained parks in the world. It wasn’t always that way, I recall a bleak period in the 1970’s or thereabouts where it was unkempt, home to the homeless and dangerous at dusk onwards. But today, Central Park is an absolute joy to stroll in. Sit at a bench and daydream. Sunbathe on a sunny day. Picnic. Whatever. On our most recent visit to New York, the Kid met up with a very good friend who moved back to New York state almost a year ago. They were able to spend a couple of days together and on one afternoon, I spent some time with them in Central Park.
So green in the summer, the park in winter remains extremely charming, despite all of the trees (except evergreens) being bare, and most of the ground covered with brown leaves. The squirrels were much more visible without leaf cover and the ponds were emptied of most of their water.
The girls had time to catch up on chismis and basically just relax, while strolling through a couple of miles within the park… A very pleasant afternoon indeed.