Central Park

New York City may seem like an endless stream of cold pavements and shopping centers to a newcomer but if you look hard enough, there is an 843-hectare spot right at the center of Manhattan that will change your perception of the Big Apple forever.

This may be your first time in New York but you will be surprised how Central Park could evoke a feeling of Déjà vu in you. The Park has left wonderful memories in people who have seen it in most of their favorite movies and television series mainly because it is one, if not the most favorite location for filmmakers because of its enchanting beauty and accessibility.

Central Park, which stands in a land owned by the city, opened its doors to the public as early as 1857. However, the plan to beautify the Park came only after designers Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted won the competition through their Greensward Plan which was completely implemented only in 1873.

Up to $37.5 million every year has been earmarked for this National Historic Landmark and aesthetic that provides simple pleasures for New Yorkers and visitors the whole year through regardless of the season. This is one place in New York where you can breathe fresh air, ride bikes or pedicabs, try rollerblades, skates or just walk around while you reminisce the movies in your mind like When Harry Met Sally, Home Alone, Serendipity and many more. 

Central Park has served as a favorite location for many romantic comedy films. However, it has also become a favorite spot for filmmakers who want an enchanting spot for fantasy and animated movies. The animated movie “A Troll in Central Park” will forever be etched in the memories of avid filmgoers who have fallen in love with Stanley. 

The troll, a certified green thumb, was banished and sent to the concrete streets of New York. Growing too many flowers is not ideal for the Kingdom where Stanley lives since the Queen requires them to be mean and scary.  However, he found himself in the middle of New York in springtime which is undoubtedly the best season at Central Park because this is the time of the year when the tulips, daffodils and cherry blossoms are all in full bloom making the park picture-perfect. Stanley befriends a brother and sister tandem who helps the troll fight and overthrow the Queen.

While enjoying the beauty of Central Park, look for the spot where “The Muppets Take Manhattan” was filmed. The movie was filmed at a time when the Park was undergoing a transformation process. The beauty of the Park is shown in several scenes particularly those involving Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog.

The all-time favorite Sesame Street television series also has some scenes filmed at Central Park. If you grew up watching Sesame Street then you will find some areas in the Park very familiar as these were used as background for the show’s opening number. The Belvedere Castle is not only a picture-perfect site for your photographs but it has also been shown as the castle of Count von Count in Sesame Street. Some scenes showing adults enjoying a bicycle ride were also filmed at Central Park.

The Wollman Rink at Central Park was the venue for the skating party during Big Bird’s birthday scene in the said television series. The Skating Rink was featured in the romantic-comedy movie Serendipity which stars Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack. It was also shown in the movie Love Story which starred Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal.  The Rink never fails to show the Park at its finest whether at night or during a snow-filled day.

The best place to go skating for the first or the nth time is at the Wollman Rink at Central Park. Skating lessons are offered at the Rink but more importantly, what could be more memorable than skating in the same rink where your favorite movies were filmed and your favorite movie stars once glided?

When you get tired of skating then there are many places in Central Park where you can catch your breath and still admire the Park’s attractions. One strategic place to relax is the Jim Henson Bench at the south end, which was made in honor of The Jim Henson Company founder who was also known as Ernie and Kermit the Frog in Sesame Street.

The first movie shot on location at the Central Park is Romeo and Juliet and the two sculptures at the Delacorte Theatre will give you a chance to relive the movie and the adventures of the popular lovers. The life-size representation in bronze, which was created by Milton Hebald, shows Romeo and Juliet in a very romantic pose.

Central Park also served as location for the movie The World of Henry Orient. You will discover the Park in autumn through the eyes of two young playful girls who discovers the lakes and the bridges of Central Park ideal for frolicking to the chagrin of Paula Prentiss played by Stella Dunnworthy and Henry Orient played by Peter Sellers.

The 1949 movie Portrait of Jennie also showed viewers the magic of Central Park. It narrates the story of Eben Adams, a struggling artist played in the movie by Joseph Cotton. Eben is seen strolling along the Park in search of love. In the process, different locations were shown in the movie including the Mall and the Dairy. 

It is now difficult to recognize the old Dairy which was originally built in the 19th century to provide fresh milk and snack to children while relaxing at the Pond area since it has been renovated and now functions as a gift shop and information center for visitors. The Mall, an open air wonder, has remained a haven for those who want a natural landscape for relaxing while exploring the park. If you walk straight through The Mall, you will eventually end up at the Bethesda Terrace which is another favorite location for movies like Enchanted which starred Amy Adams and It Could Happen To You which starred Bridget Fonda and Nicholas Cage.

Nothing could be better than experiencing your favorite movies by visiting their locations at Central Park. While New York can provide you rows and streets of shopping centers, nothing can compare to the experience you will have when you allot an hour or two to explore Central Park by pedicab, bike or by foot.