Amid the excitement and chaos that is New York City, miniature havens have been set aside for the enjoyment of the general public. The New York public parks and gardens offer a place of rest and retreat from the bustle of everyday life.
Central park is perhaps the most famous of the New York public parks. Over one hundred fifty years old, this park is located in the heart of Manhattan in New York City. As the city became increasingly crowded, the citizens needed a place to escape from the cramped conditions of New York City. The solution was the commission of Central Park in 1857. The 843-acre park is completely landscaped except for an untamed wooded area. The park remains a haven from the noise and havoc of New York City. Several miles of walking trails, sports fields, outdoor pools, and rock climbing provide a variety of ways to exercise. Central Park is also home to a large zoo, a nature center, and hosts ice skating in the winter. Entertainment is provided in the form of the annual Shakespeare Festival in the outdoor amphitheatre and free performances in Summer stage, an outdoor arena.
New York Botanical Garden
Founded in 1891, The New York Botanical Garden is a spectacular 250-acre facility located in the Bronx and is now a National Historic Landmark and perhaps the most internationally famous of the New York gardens. With fifty separate gardens, there is always something in bloom. The 50 acres of indigenous forest offers a rare opportunity to view New York forestry as it was before Europeans settled the area. This New York garden is home to the largest botanical library in North America. Extensive botanical research is conducted in the large Pfizer Plant Research Laboratory. This facility contains many important botanical specimens and carries out important research on plant genetics. The only fresh water river in New York City winds its way through the gardens in New York.
Bryant Park is a New York public park rich with American history. This park has been the site of historic riots and protests and even a visit from George Washington. Up until recently Bryant Park was host to New York fashion week for seventeen years. Located in midtown Manhattan, Bryant Park is the most densely occupied urban park in the world. The park is packed year round with free classes and events. Visitors can enjoy concerts, theater, chess lessons, knitting lessons, yoga, and tai chi courtesy of the Park. An ice-skating rink and a holiday market opened during the winter months makes this park as popular in winter as it is in warmer weather.