Central Park is often referred to as “the lungs of New York City.” It’s an area of 843 acres (341 ha) of parkland in a bustling city, providing an oasis for its residents and visitors alike.
Before we arrived in New York I wondered if it would be difficult for Central Park to live up to its reputation. But when we were drawn back to it several times over our visit I knew it had more than lived up to my preconceived ideas.
Our hotel, The Hotel Beacon, was only three blocks from Central Park making it easily accessible and a lovely way to start a day. The harsh winter New York had suffered prior to our arrival was evident with Central Park’s trees still bare. Being spring we had expected more colour but the park took on a romantic air, similar to an old fashioned black and white or sepia photo. Although lacking in vibrant colour it oozed atmosphere and charm. There were signs that life in the park was thawing out. Daffodils and other bulbs were starting to dare peep their heads out into the slightly warmer temperature. The squirrels seemed positively bursting with energy and scurried from one area to another looking similar to the Wall Street businessmen, but with less to lose I suspect.
Central Park has a variety of terrains. Although paths weave their way throughout the park some areas are more level and easier in a manual wheelchair than others.
We opted to get an overview of the park via a carriage ride. Central Park Carriage Rides can be booked in advance which may be advisable in the busier months. We had a booking and met our driver Michael. He helped us up into the carriage and arranged for BJ’s wheelchair to be minded by a street vendor. I felt nervous leaving the wheelchair in the street but with the abandon one probably only has on holiday we left it behind. Michael gave us a plush red blanket to keep us warm. I immediately felt transported into one of the many movies set in New York I’d watched over the years.
We headed off for our carriage ride and once we left the busy Columbus Circle area it was quiet and peaceful in the park. The rhythmic clopping of the horses hooves was the soundtrack to our ride. Michael, our driver, had a thick European accent which took me a while to settle into but eventually I got into the groove and listened with interest to the commentary he gave as we explored the park. He stopped to point out places of interest including areas of the park that had been used as a location for movies like Maid in Manhatten. The kids knew some of the movies like Home Alone 2, Stuart Little and Mr Popper’s Penguins.
Being a little higher up in a carriage gave us an elevated view of the park and we loved sitting back relaxing all cosy in our blanket. The kids smiled the whole way around, thrilled by the ride and the added bonus of not having to walk for a while.
It was all over too soon. We took a few last photos of Silver the horse and said goodbye to Michael. AJ was particularly disappointed it was all over but fortunately I had another surprise for her not far away.
– Our ride was 45 minutes and I would certainly recommend doing this length of time or longer to see more of the park.
– Take a bike chain/lock if you are planning leaving your wheelchair in the street. It would be more relaxing to have some security. A folding wheelchair may be able to be accommodated in the carriage depending on the driver.
– Booking ahead allows you to try and make these requests in advance.
Please note –
– You do need to be able to step up into the carriage and transfer.
Bookings can be made through Viator