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Central Park
Central Park
#About New York's Biggest Park

You have arrived at one of the most well-known and pleasant places in New York - Central Park.

Central Park was established in 1857, on land that was used for herding sheep, and also partly a poor neighborhood. Walking through the park is an attraction in itself, though the most magical spots can be found between the narrow pathways, between trees and bushes. You can also see nice musical performances here, take part of fun activities, both for children and adults, look towards the view from different viewpoints in the park, that overlooks the lake and the architecture of the amazing New York skyline.

Visitors to Central Park are not necessarily tourists. New Yorkers take advantage of the wide spaces for sports, for laying out on the grassy lawns, to tan or read under the open sky. With that, it shouldn't be difficult to find a quiet corner for you and a partner, and even for a nice picnic. Near the park, you will find many delis where you can buy all the ingredients you need for the meal. You can rent bikes and ride along the park, or rent a boat and row in the lake.

On pleasant spring and summer days many locals and tourists tend to arrive in Central Park to watch the shows, festivals, and different concerts performed for the public, and some of these shows are also free.

This huge park is easy to get lost in. In an area that is 4 kilometers long and 800 meters wide, you can see over 25,000 trees and 1,500 types of plants and animals.



#History of Central Park

It is not by accident that Central Park is so important in New York culture. Central Park was the first designed park in the United States, and was so because of the need to build a big public park. In order to execute this plan, New York's government conducted a competition for the design of the park, and the plan that was chosen was by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Three years later the park opened.

One of the innovations in the park was a different transportation system for each purpose: sidewalks for pedestrians, special pathways for horses, and streets for carriages and vehicles, that back then did not exist. What is special about these streets that go up and down the park, is that they are embedded in the park and integrate well between the dense vegetation. It hides them from the pedestrians and maintains the nice aesthetics of the park. This is how it happened that the park has 36 bridges, each with its own style and character.

At the beginning of the 20th century the park was neglected and abandoned. From the 1960's it was considered a place of crime and criminals. Many of the residents avoided going near it. This is why the mayor La Guardia decided to rehabilitate it, and restore its image.

In 1980 a special foundation was established whose purpose was to maintain Central Park. It began with the renovation and maintenance of the park, and in 2003 the park celebrated 150 years to the park's establishment.

An especially interesting point has to do with the changing weather. The tough winter months has been endured by the park as well. In the past the lake had frozen completely during winter. Though as the years went, and construction grew around the park, the lake began freezing less and less, and today it is a rare event if the park lake freezes at all.



#The Building of Central Park

More than 80 years of building have made the park what you see in front of you today. The story of the building began in the 1840's, when several important people, including architect Andrew Downing, the author Washington Irving, and the Editor of the New York Evening Post William Bryant convinced the city municipality to buy the land, without a clear understanding what the land would be used for.

Back then the land was full of mud, and unevenly covered with trees and bushes, poor shepherds were living around the grounds in wooden shacks, with pigs and goats wandering around the rocks.

The building began in 1857 and involved 3,000 construction workers and 400 horses. They prepared the ground, cleared the ground and made it construction ready. The soil was brought straight from New Jersey, and more than 4 million trees were sent from around the world. Most of the rocks that were here previously, stayed in their place.

The building provided jobs to many of the poor residents in the area that suffered from an economic crisis, and in 1876 the park was opened to visitors officially.



#Disputes over Central Park

Central Park was the source of many disputes over the years. Each wanted the ground to be used for something else. The architect Olmsted wanted to turn the park into a place where visitors arrived to enjoy the landscape. He wanted to limit them to a passive experience and enjoyment that would allow limited use of the land. The public, though, felt that this was a perfect place for sporting activities, and the public won apparently, since over the years playgrounds were opened, a zoo, and a rocky area that is climbed by children.

However, the disputes over the area were not over. In 1899 great pressure was put on the municipality, until it finally allowed the use of cars in the park. A few decades later, the residents of Fifth Avenue also succeeded in getting the trees trimmed, that blocked their view from their expensive apartment terraces.



#The Dark Past of Central Park

Crime, drugs and violence were an inseparable part of the atmosphere, especially in the 1960's and 1970's, Central Park turned into a symbol of desperation, and a place to stay away from.

It was so intimidating, that tour guides warned visitors from walking around the park at night. What did not help the image, were the killings and murders that became the history of New York, and happened in the park itself.

One of the most well-known cases was the murder of Michael O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan was a kindly homeless person who used to spend his time around the park, especially around high school students who came to consume alcohol and drugs. The homeless man was murdered by two young 15-year-old boys.

Another terrible murder happened on the evening of July 16th, right on the same day that John Kennedy Junior's plane crashed, the son of the famous late President Kennedy. Around the park screams were heard of someone young. The young lady, whose cries were not enough to grab attention, was brutally murdered, even though this happened in one of the more populated areas of the park.

Across the street in front of the Dakota building, John Lennon, the leader of the Beatles, was murdered. In his memory a monument was placed for him with the writing 'imagine.' See more by clicking on the tag "Monuments".



#The Statues of Central Park

If you walk around the park you will notice the variety of statues that populate it. The statues are definitely worth your attention, and the most well-known of the group is probably the bronze statue that describes the story of Alice in Wonderland. It is located on the Eastern side of the lake.

On the West side of the lake you will be able to find the statue of Hans Christian Andersen, by Georg Lober. In the Bethesda Fountain you can see statues by Emma Stebbins. Near the Metropolitan Museum you can see the obelisk Cleopatra's Needle, 3,500 years old.

At the edge of the avenue "The Mall," with the pretty elm trees, you can see statues of Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus and Walter Scott.



A Closer Look at the Park:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjn8QcZzmQA
Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
#About the Brooklyn Bridge

On the Brooklyn Bridge hundreds of thousands of people pass each day. There is a reason it is so popular, it is one of the most famous sites in New York, and is one of the symbols of the city. From the 19th century the bridge was considered one of the architectural wonders, and was declared a National Monument in the United States.

The view from the bridge is wonderful of the New York skyline, with skyscrapers and fancy building, it is really great!

Some statistics:

The bridge weighs about 14,700 tons. The bridge manages to stand up thanks to the 2 kilometers of thick cables that are used for the suspension.

In its first years, when it was opened for traffic in 1883, it was the largest steel bridge in the world.

Construction of the bridge began in 1869, and continued for 14 years. It cost about $18 million. A surprising fact about the bridge is that out of the 600 workers that were involved in the construction, 27 were killed.



#The Tragic Story Behind Building the Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a real American family project. It was designed by John Augustus Roebling, an architect born in Germany that was an expert on suspended bridges. A tragic story, at the start of the building he was injured in a ferryboat accident, and his leg was crushed. He died several weeks later of Tetanus.

Work on the bridge was continued by his son, Washington Roebling. He also needed to pay a heavy price after he was injured during construction and was partially paralyzed. This is when Roebling's wife, Emily Warren Roebling, began to overlook the construction at the instruction of her husband. For 11 years she overlooked the engineers and workers, and in 1883 the bridge was opened for traffic. Emily was the first person to walk on the bridge.

27 workers out of the 600 were killed during the construction.



#The Brooklyn Bridge for Tourists

The bridge is a must-see for anyone coming to New York. The pedestrian lane is full of excited tourists. It is possible to walk across, from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Just start walking!

During the day, there is a wonderful view, huge skyscrapers and impressive buildings - the whole experience turns more magical in the evening hours, as the city lights turn on. While walking on the bridge you can see the Statue of Liberty and the Manhattan Bridge on either side of you. Exiting the bridge on the Manhattan side, you can see the City Hall Park, where you can have a fun light picnic.



#Short Stories about the Brooklyn Bridge

In 1883 many people were worried that the bridge was not strong enough, and feared its collapse. The creative solution to this problem was by the owner of the famous circus P. T. Barnum, to bring all his circus animal to cross the bridge, even his heavy elephants. Imagine to yourself seeing this comical event. After this parade, no one was afraid anymore of the bridge's collapse.

Another thing, a little less nice...in 1883 someone screamed loudly that the bridge is falling down, and the 30,000 people who were on the bridge all tried to run away in panic and fear. Unfortunately, during the mass scramble, 12 people were trampled to death...



#Tips

Walking along the Brooklyn Bridge will give you an insane view of the New York skyline and skyscrapers.



A Closer Look at the Brooklyn Bridge:

https://youtu.be/Vf-F773WgO8


A Live Performance - How it Really Was:

https://youtu.be/la90mA4VLa4
High Line
High Line
#History of the Walkway

The walkway High Line in New York was built on remains of train tracks that were built here in 1929. Originally, the tracks were opened for use in 1943, and trains transferred food and agriculture through it. With the years, the exporting industry improved, and made the track irrelevant. The amount of passengers and merchandise declined, and use of the tracks declined as well. In 1980 the tracks completely closed, and remained an abandoned skeleton.

In the summer of 1999, it was decided to destroy the tracks for the use of new construction, however an organization of locals decided to fight this decision, and try to change the decision to renovate the tracks into a public park. Many people joined this organization, and lobbied the local politicians, locals, and celebrities. In 2003 an architecture competition took place where a team was chosen to lead the project. Building began in 2006, and the first part of the park was opened in 2009. The second and third parts of the park were opened in 2011 and 2014 respectively.

From the first moment the park was a huge succeess, and immediately made this spot one of the most popular attractions in the city. About 3 million visitors a year visit the park.

The influence of the park is monumental and can be seen through the apartment prices around the park, that continue to go up, and the residents that live here are those who can afford a high quality of life.


#Visitors to the Park

The green walkway is a 1.45 mile-long promenade. It is a nice and green park, with greenery along the sides of the walkway, and overlooks 10th Avenue, and the Statue of Liberty.

On this walkway you will find a lot of greenery and wildflowers, sitting corners and walking trails. Benches are placed along the walkway and are perfect for couples that want to enjoy a romantic atmosphere.

In the first and newer part of the park you can see dozens of families wandering around the walkway, children playing on benches and doing sports. The area is patrolled by security, to ensure the area remains safe.

This is a magical piece of nature, perfect, and distant from the industrial and urban background of the city.

The southern entrance into the High Line is located on Gansevoort Street between Chelsea on the north, the entrance to the north of the park is on 30th Street and 10th Avenue. Here on Guidol you are equipped with a navigation button, so you are all taken care of. Enjoy!
New York Public Library
New York Public Library
#About the Library

The New York Public Library is one of the leading libraries in the world. It is located on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and it has an impressive presence that makes it stand out in the avenue. The building was built in 1911 in the Renaissance style. At the entrance to the library you can see two statues of lions, who stand guard near the staircase. In the 1930's these statues received names - "Patience" and "Strength."

In 1886 Samuel Tilden donated $2.4 million for the establishment of the Public Library. Thanks to the donation, in 1895 a fund was established that converged two existing libraries in New York, the Astor and Lenox Libraries, into one library. This land was not always used for hosting the Public Library. In the past, it was a cemetery for the poor, and later - a water reservoir with a walkway above.

The library holds many art treasures and rare books. From time to time exhibitions open on the ground level, and display items belonging to the library.


#Tips

It is worth coming in to here to take a look, for free, because of the interesting architecture, and also for the books, and free exhibits.

Behind the library you will find Bryant Park, a green space where many cultural events take place, festivals, market stalls, and an ice skating arena in winter.



A Closer Look at the New York Library:

https://youtu.be/tkD9aNOn6v0

Free in New York

Broadway Street
Broadway Street
#About the Theater of New York

The street where you can see incredible shades of New York, is Broadway Street, the theater street of New York. This street is actually a long avenue that divides Manhattan into two. Broadway in English means a broad, or wide, street.

Most of the streets and avenues in Manhattan are built as cross-sections forming right-angled intersections, however Broadway Avenue goes in a diagonal way across the city, and is not parallel to any street. The reason is that Broadway was paved before the majority of the streets and avenues in Manhattan.

Today, Broadway is a second name to the theater industry. The theater district and Lincoln Center, located on the street, present a collection of shows, mostly musicals. The Broadway theaters represent the highest quality theater in the commercial English speaking world. In 2012, over a billion dollars in ticket sales were for Broadway shows, and were watched by more than 12 million visitors.

In 2010 New York declared its decision to close the street to car traffic in the busy areas of the street, to avoid issues of overcrowding. Store owners loved this idea, and began taking out chairs and picnic tables to the street, in the Times Square area.

Dozens of stores, restaurants and cafes, street performances and amazing shows - this street is the best show in town...

#Cheap Tickets

At the center of the square you can find a kiosk for selling discount tickets, TKS, that offers tickets that have not yet been sold for same-day shows, around a 30%-50% discount. Don't worry, if you thought you would miss the kiosk, just look for the long line that spreads at the center of the square and you will immediately see it. Good luck!

#Shopping in Broadway

There are hundreds of stores on Broadway Avenue, especially during the section between 8th Avenue and Canal Street, offering great shopping for designer clothing. There are expensive designer stores like Prada, as well as cheaper stores and large international brands. Try getting a glimpse of the Bloomingdales department store, where there are many surprises to be found.
Bryant Park
Bryant Park
#About the Park that Commemorates the Person Who Fought for its Existence

Behind the Public Library of New York, you can see Bryant Park, named after the journalist and editor William Bryant, who fought for a long time to establish parks and open spaces for the residents of New York. The size of the park is 39,000 square meters.

In the park is a large lawn area, where different events throughout the year go on. There are screenings of movies, concerts, and musical festivals. Around the lawn are seating areas.

In the park, you will find free attractions for visitors and locals, like ping pong tables, books and magazines, and more.

If you arrived in the winter months, notice that the main lawn becomes an ice skating rink. You can skate in the rink, entrance is free, or chose to sit at a cafe nearby and enjoy watching people skate. In the stores, you will find unique merchandise for Christmas, and everything around is decorative and festive.



#History of the Park

An interesting story about this park has to do with the general mood that was here until 1850. For a serious lack of green spaces and entertainment locations, locals were forced to go to the closest cemeteries to their houses and lay blankets on the ground.

Bryant Park in the past was also a cemetery. In 1840 it was decided to moved thousands of bodies to a new location. Seven years later the park was opened to the general public and offered visitors a place to relax. This time, the park was without gravestones.

With the building of the subway, this area deteriorated, and prostitutes, drug dealers, and homeless people began coming to the park. In 1930 the park was fenced with a metal fence, to ensure a separation between the park and the street. More steps were taken to clean up the questionable characters who used to come here. These attempts were unsuccessful. In 1979 the Public Library received funding for a new design, the park also received attention, and attempts were once again made for its rehabilitation. From 1992 the park became a success, a relaxed and fun place.

Following the substantial renovations, and the fact that it became one of the most populated places in the world during opening hours (about 198 people per 1,000 square meters), it is easy to understand its popularity. Renting prices for the houses in the neighborhood rose by 40%, and the quality of residents improved.




Ice Skating in the Park in Winter:

https://youtu.be/4L6wLsodC7g


Walk in in the Park in Summer:

https://youtu.be/QgNEaZFDlF8
American Museum of Natural History
American Museum of Natural History
#About the Natural History Museum of New York

One of the most important museums in the United States is the American Museum of Natural History. It is located in Central Park West Ave in Manhattan. The museum was established in 1869, originally located in the arsenal building, until moving to its current location in 1974. The museum includes 25 buildings where there are permanent and temporary exhibits. For its massive size, the museum holds up to 30 million items on display.

The museum is famous mainly for its Dioramas (3D models), the displayed stuffed animals in their natural habitat: animals from Asia, Africa, and North America. Near these displays are also displays of fossils, meteor remains, diamonds and minerals. In the Ocean Hall there is a life-size model of a blue whale. In the permanent exhibits there is a space exhibit, science and historical fossils, and among these dinosaur skeletons.

There is a Planetarium in the museum showing a three-dimensional view of space, with a spectacular audio-visual display and show about the universe.

The museum is a classic children's museum, however, adults will also find a lot to be fascinated with here. The museum has over 1,200 workers and managers and conducts about 100 researches every year.

Entrance fees to the museum are on a donation base only, but it is common to leave 5 dollars at least.



A Closer Look:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kxPCFljwJws


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