Having seen Hyde Park, I’ve always longed to visit Central Park. On my someday list? Meanwhile, I’m visiting online and invite you to come along.
Central Park spans over 800 acres in the heart of New York City. It, in itself, is worth spending at least a day exploring. You’ve probably seen it many times in movies and television shows, but have you seen the secrets of Central Park? Probably not.
Five Historically Significant Central Park Gems
Throughout Central Park are hidden treasures with unique stories and their own historical relevance. If you’re in the mood for a treasure hunt or looking to impress your fellow travelers, be sure to seek out these hidden gems.
The Obelisk, also known as Cleopatra’s Needle, is by no means hidden from sight in Central Park. However, its name and origin story are often unknown to tourists walking the park.
The Obelisk is the oldest man-made object in the park, created over 3,500 years ago in honor of an Egyptian Pharaoh. Despite the name, Cleopatra’s Needle has nothing to do with the ancient ruler. This name was given to the Obelisk by New Yorkers after its installation in the late 1800s. There are two other Obelisks, one in London and one in Paris.
This granite monument towers over the park at almost 70 feet tall and weighs almost 200 tons. Imagine trying to move this monstrous piece of stone overseas over one hundred years ago!
So while you’re touring through Central Park, take a moment to stand in awe before this monolith. It is so much more than an interesting chunk of stone.
The Whisper Bench
If you have been reading up on interesting, hidden features of New York City, you may have discovered the secret arch in Grand Central Station. At this arch, you can face the wall and whisper to someone across the room at the other end of the arch. Due to the acoustics of the arch, the person at the other end will hear you.
The Whisper Bench in Central Park has the same effect. Found in a peaceful spot in the Shakespeare Garden, you can sit at one end of the large, semi-circular bench and whisper to your friend at the other end. Despite the distance, your friend will hear you.
The Hallett Nature Sanctuary
Historically speaking, the Hallett Nature Sanctuary has been off-limits to the public since the 1930s. The wild four-acre peninsula had been cordoned off to the point where the Central Park groundskeepers rarely bothered with it.
That changed in the summer of 2016, after an infusion of 40 million dollars allowed for the necessary maintenance to re-open this section of the park. Still only open to the public on select days, the Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a peaceful refuge with calming walking trails, on which you can escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Ramble Cave
In a man-made area that’s meant to look natural, the Ramble portion of Central Park does have an interesting natural feature: the Ramble Cave. This natural cavity was discovered during the park’s construction.
Due to its magnetism for trouble, the natural cave was eventually blocked off and sealed shut. However, if you keep your eyes open while walking near the better known Ramble Arch, you can find the stairs leading down to the cave still intact.
The Strawberry Fields Mosaic
If you are a Beatles fan, then you might already know about the Strawberry Fields Mosaic. This tear-shaped mosaic was built in dedication to John Lennon. The teardrop shape pays tribute to Yoko Ono, Lennon’s grieving widow.
Named for the song, Strawberry Fields Forever, the mosaic is engraved with the word “Imagine” as a tribute to Lennon’s most popular solo song. This section of the park was officially dedicated to Lennon in 1985, five years after his murder which took place nearby in front of his apartment on 72nd Street.
Whether you are a history buff or just a traveler who loves a good story, be sure to take time to explore Central Park. The historically significant sights are endless, making Central Park a treasure trove of historical delights.