100 Important Things to Know Before You Head for Central Park! (11-20)

The following are the next ten tips of a list of one hundred that I have compiled to help you make the most of your park experience. I am a worker and volunteer of Central Park and have endeavored to compile a list to better serve the visitors of this greatest of public spaces based on the questions I have personally fielded during my time there.

11.How much does it cost to go to Central Park? Central Park is a public space therefore anyone is free to enter and leave it without cost. However that being said there are attractions that occur inside the park that cost money such as: Victorian Gardens, The Carousel and the Central Park Zoo. Not to mention all the walking around is bound to make you hungry or thirsty and unless you bring your own food you will have to purchase some from either the park vendors or some of the many cafe’s in the park all of which can cost a pretty penny. So it would be advisable to have a decent amount of cash on you for your visit.

12. What are the park hours? Well unlike most other parks Central Park is in the heart of the city that never sleeps but this doesn’t mean that the park doesn’t close. The Park closes its main gates and entrances at 1am every night for cleaning and general maintenance of the park.

13.The dog park. There appears to be the misconception that there are specific designated areas in Central Park for dogs. Actually, Central Park can be seen as the worlds largest dog park because the whole park permits leashed dogs on the premises provided they are accompanied by their owners of course and have proper ID tags.

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14.A horse and carriage ride! A horse and carriage ride through the park has become sort of a trademark of central park. Popularized by TV shows like: Sex in the City and Seinfeld, the horse and carriage ride through the park has quickly become a “must do” for park visitors. However most people do not know where to catch a horse and carriage and even fewer know the cost or how far into the park they travel. First of all, a horse and carriage ride is NOT CHEAP! The carriage drivers set their own prices, and non of the money goes to the city or the park. The cheapest price for a 15 minute trot through the park was forty dollars. The carriages do not take you throughout the park only along very specific paths. So be sure you wallet can take the hit before you choose to go on one! Second there are only certain places you will be able to pick up a horse and carriage. You will always find them just outside the main entrances to the park lined up along the sidewalk. Two places known for catching carriages are: 59th street by Columbus Circle and the east side fifth avenue entrance at 59th street and fifth avenue.

15. Where can we ride horses in the park? Sadly, the only riding stables in the park closed their doors permanently over a year ago. Therefore there is no longer any horseback riding in Central Park.

16.On 4/20 its legal to smoke pot in Central Park! No, it is not! You are probably wondering why I am including this fact in this guide. Well the sad truth is that hundreds of people have asked me if it was legal to smoke marijuana in Central Park on 4/20. And the answer is a resounding no! NYC has decriminalized small amounts of marijuana but not legalized it and the park is no exception. If you are caught possessing or using marijuana in Central Park you will either face a fine or jail time depending on the infraction whether it is 4/20 or not. So don’t smoke weed in the park.

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17. Playing Chess and Checkers in the park. Whether you are an expert or a beginner the Chess and Checkers visitors center located next to the Dairy gift shop at 64th and mid park, allows visitors to borrow the pieces for a rousing game outside on one of their chess tables with the board built into it. There are also many grandmasters who give free lessons on select days throughout the year there. Inquire at the desk inside for the dates and times of these events. The Chess and Checkers house regular hours are: Tues-Sun from 10am to 5pm. Their phone number is 212-794-4064.

18. Can I rent bikes in the park? Yes you can rent bikes from the Loeb Boathouse just off of the lake next to Bethesda fountain. However these are not “paddle boats” they are row boats! There are no paddle boats in Central Park. And it is worth noting here that “the lake” is the only body of water in the park that visitors are allowed on. Others like: turtle pond or the reservoir are closed off to the public.

19.I saw a picture of central park from the air and it looks like there is a bridge across the reservoir can I walk across it? There is a famous aerial shot of central park and yes it appears that there is a bridge that crosses the reservoir end to end however this is not true. There is no bridge. What you see in the picture is in fact not a bridge but a large water pipe that runs the length of the reservoir. The reservoir has a large fence around its parameter and visitors are not allowed to enter.

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20.What subway trains can I take to Central Park? There are several trains that allow for exit near the park some even on the corresponding street however there is no Central Park train station parse. You must first determine what part of the park you wish to visit and plan which train to take accordingly. Some of the trains that leave you near park entrances are: the A,B,D,C,N,Q,R,W…etc.