Exploring New York highlights cool spots around the city that are worth checking out. Where is your favorite place in Central Park? Let us know in the comments.
59th Street to 110th Street between 5th and 8th Avenues is home to Central Park. The 843 acre park hosts about 25 million visitors every year making it one of the most visited urban parks in the United States. It’s not surprising that there are many great photo opportunities no matter the time of year. I wanted to enjoy the park as I explored with my camera so I decided to split the park in half around 82nd St with the Great Lawn being my center point. Here are my top photo spots in the southern half of the Central Park from 59th St to the Great Lawn.
Gapstow Bridge is in the south-eastern corner around 62nd St. Capture the beauty of the park with a view of the city skyline in the background. The famous Plaza Hotel can be seen from the north side of the bridge and in the winter you can see the Wolfman ice skating rink from the south. On calm days reflections of the bridge and the cities skyscrapers will reflect off the pond making for beautiful photos.
Central Park Dairy
Just up the path from Gapstow Bridge is the Central Park Dairy. What is now a visitors center and gift shop was originally built to provide a safe place for families to purchase fresh milk for children while visiting the park. Located in the original children’s district, the gingerbread-like building provides a whimsical backdrop for your photoshoot.
Head west up the path from the Dairy and you’ll find one of young park-goers favorite attractions, the Carousel. With 57 hand-carved and beautifully decorated horses, this 111-year-old carousel is a great Instagram snap waiting to happen.
From 66th St. to 72nd St. runs the only intentional straight path in all of Central Park. Framed by rows of American Elms the Mall is one of the most visited and photographed areas in the park. Take in the beauty on one of the rows of benches lining the walkway or stroll through the local vendors and street performers that set up here when the weather is nice. No matter what time of year you visit, you are bound to get great photos.
Located at the north end of the Mall is beautiful Bethesda Terrace. The arches, tiled ceiling, fountain, staircases, arcade, and views of the lake are only a few of the things that make the Terrace the perfect place for photos. The beauty of the area makes this a favorite among visitors so go early for your best chance at photos sans crowd.
Just west of Bethesda Terrace is one of the most romantic spots in New York City. Between the beauty of the bridge itself and the views around it, Bow Bridge is a favorite spot for couples as well as photographers and filmmakers. With the Ramble to the north, Cherry Hill to the south, and stunning views of Central Park West, 5th Avenue, and the Lake, you can get a great shot from any direction.
Obelisk (Cleopatra’s Needle)
The Obelisk, better known as Cleopatra’s Needle, is the oldest man-made object in Central Park and one of the oldest Egyptian obelisks in the world. The Obelisk in New York is one of three in the world known as Cleopatra’s Needle the other two being located in Paris and London. Despite their name, the obelisk in central park and its twin in Paris were actually made in 1475 BC, thousands of years before Cleopatra reigned. It was moved to the park in 1881 near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
There are quite a few other locations that are worth mentioning but were not on this list because of season or renovation.
Strawberry Fields: The memorial to John Lennon is open year round but the best time to visit is in the spring and summer when the plants are in bloom.
Cherry Hill: Located near Strawberry Fields, Cherry Hill is best to visit at the end of March through April when the forsythia and azaleas are in bloom.
Loeb Boathouse: Visit in the warmer months to get snaps of the paddle boats on the lake and around the famous boathouse.
Belvedere Castle: The castle is currently under renovations but will be open later in 2019. Check the Central Park website for updates.
Shakespeare Garden: Best visited in the warmer months when the roses are in bloom.
Arches: There are an abundance of arches in Central Park that make for great Instagram shots.