Parks & beaches
Central Park is the only real expanse of greenery in Manhattan. On hot July days, when the city streets become suffocating, this shady green space is a true blessing. It also offers an all too rare opportunity to get away from the skyscrapers of the neighbouring areas. Visitors can enjoy a variety of athletic activities in the park (horseback riding, tennis, in-line skating, etc.) or simply stroll along its paths, which are lined with rows of Art Nouveau benches.
The Mall offers one of the only classical perspectives in Central Park. This wide, symmetrical promenade was laid out by Calvert Vaux to satisfy the more traditional tastes of certain 19th-century New York decision-makers.
Central Park also features the Naumberg Bandshell, an outdoor stage where brass bands and chamber music ensembles perform; the Bethesda Fountain & Terrace; the Bow Bridge and the Ramble, two of the park's most photographed sites; the Belvedere Castle, a weather station that recalls a castle out of Sleeping Beauty; the Great Lawn; and the famous Central Park Zoo (Fifth Ave. and 64th St., tel. 212-439-6500).