A young couple on TripAdvisor.com asked how to tweak their itinerary for a Christmastime trip to New York City. I gave them a walking tour through Central Park, since they wanted to see both the Metropolitan Museum and the Apple Store. The two are connected by Central Park.
Here's my reply:
Start at the Apple Store. Go one half block north of the nearest corner of the park, and enter through the wall, down a flight of steps. Turn right along the duck pond. Go up on the stone bridge and have someone take your picture with The Plaza behind you. Skating rink is nearby. Wanna hold off on Bryant Park and skate here instead?
Walk uphill to a multicolored wall-less building that has a slate roof. This is the Dairy, where they sell clothing that benefits the Central Park Conservancy. Go up the path, not the road, uphill from the Dairy and over the top. You should see rising steps cut into the stone, to your left about here. Continue down and under a bridge. Continue to the Carousel. It's $3.50 a ride.
Uphill from the Carousel, walk alongside East Drive. Out to the left on Central Park West, see a twin-towered apartment building, home of Steve Martin and other notables. It's called the San Remo. You're looking at it over the grass of the Sheep Meadow. You may see lights in the trees at Tavern On The Green, across the meadow. The tavern is better looked at than sampled, for another month, at least.
Continue parallel to the road. You're going uphill. Many massive trees are ahead. This is the world's last grove of American elms. Dutch elm disease killed off almost all of our native species. You will see a statue of a man in a robe holding a furled flag. He is Columbus. Turn at his statue and go up under the arching elm branches, on The Mall. This is where Meryl and Dustin exchange the little boy in Kramer Vs. Kramer, where Santa's sleigh runs out of power in Elf, and where Jennifer and Ben walk the ferret in Along Came Sally. The Mall runs between English-language authors' statues, about a quarter mile north. As you near the north end, you see a real mall, not the kind studded with stores but a real mall. Sit on the last original park benches in the park. To your right is Nussbaum Bandshell, dating from a time when, to hear music outdoors, you had to make it yourself. In Mr. Deeds, Adam Sandler buys bikes off of two boys. He and his girlfriend then ride them dangerously down the stairs.
Go down those stairs. Restrooms are halfway down them. Continue down to the Navy Terrace. The Angel Of The Waters, at Bethesda Fountain looks down at you, as seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DD7j67NGQis
Facing the Lake, head to the right, toward a distant green roof. This is the Loeb Boathouse. You may recall a Sex & The City scene taken on this path, with the guy who was such a snob that he would never leave Manhattan, because the rest of the world sucks. Coming closer to the Boathouse, another Sex & The City scene: Carrie fell in the water here at the verandah. Mr. Big leaned over to help her out, and she pulled him in too.
Bathrooms are attached to the Boathouse.
Walk uphill on East Drive, in the pedestrian lane. It's shared with bikes, so be respectful of them. Watch out for the crouching black panther on the rocks to your left.
Farther ahead is an open space punctuated only by a lone statue. Get a good look at his face, then pull out a $10 bill. Notice the similarity?
Continue on. You should see a huge building -- not so much tall as wide -- dominating the view ahead, across the road. Next crosswalk, cross and head downhill. This will be the Metropolitan Museum. Go warm up.