Central Park is the physical and spiritual heart of New York. Conceived as the green lungs
for a rapidly urbanizing metropolis in the 19th century, it has evolved into America's seminal landscape. On this 3-hour Central Park walking tour we'll join a local architect, landscape architect or historian for an in-depth exploration of the park, from its design to its sociology to the innovative conservation movement that saved it in the 1990s.
Central Park Tour: Manmade Nature
The verdant expanse of Central Park, punctuated by bodies of water and masterpieces of American Gothic architecture, can hardly be called natural. Instead, it is a heavily designed and artificially constructed space: the architectural vision of two men steeped in 19th century notions of the picturesque as well as ideas of democratic space and social responsibility. Struggling against a corrupt city government and a not entirely appreciative public, Frederic Law Olmsted and his lesser known associate, Calvert Vaux, spent nearly twenty years designing and overseeing construction of this masterpiece of urban design.
Our Walking Tour: Surviving and Thriving
During the course of our stroll we'll discuss the design theories behind the park, and its social function through history. Maintenance of this space and its designers' ideals has proved a constant and costly battle, yet the urban oasis continues to thrive in impeccable condition. This walk will visit some of Central Park’s best-known spaces and monuments as well as some of its clandestine corners, taking in a century-and-a-half of local and national history in the process.
Where do we meet? Where does it end?
Generally speaking, the walk begins in the southeastern quadrant of the park, near the 64th Street entrance. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point details along with a map, and our 24/7 phone number. The walk typically ends in the southwestern quadrant of the park, not far from Columbus Circle.
Will we see the entire park?
Central Park is 843 acres in size. Our tour will explore roughly the southern quarter of the park. If you are interested in a larger exploration of the park, we can customize a private excursion into the northern quadrants of the park. Please contact us for more details and pricing.
Is this walk mobility friendly?
Overall, Central Park is mobility friendly. While the paths that we follow through the park are evenly paved, there are two areas in the park that require descending several steps. There are several places along the way where we can pause to sit on benches and at tables with chairs. Please contact us with any questions; we can advise if this seminar will be appropriate for you, and are also happy to design a private, customized tour for visitors with mobility concerns.
What if it’s raining?
Tours operate rain or shine, but in the case of inclement weather, your docent will modify the tour so more time is spent indoors. It never hurts to have an umbrella on hand.
Is this tour good for kids?
Yes! We have some excellent family friendly docents who can appeal to the learning styles of children. Please book privately if you have children under 13. Feel free to provide us with information about your children such as favorite school subjects, and hobbies. This way we can match you with the best possible docent.