New York City wilderness

It’s no secret that Central Park (a.k.a. our city backyard) is one of my favorite places to go for any occasion and without any reason, as it is for many people. A year into my NYC life, I now know that there are actually various different Central Parks all packed into one large breathing green rectangle: they change and evolve with the seasons, and it’s important to know where to go depending on the weather and your mood.

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I have the fondest fall memories of the East side of the park between 72nd and 66th streets: Ben and I would go there on our Sunday dates (can’t wait for this and this), carrying treats from the Madison Ave LadurĂ©e, climbing the rocks covered in orange leaves and breathing in the cool, quiet air.

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In winter, when it’s too cold for weekly picnics, I loved strolling across the lower part of the park where you can see pink sunlight on the high rises, and you can easily get surrounded by hungry squirrels while passing one of those nut carts near Columbus Circle.

Spring is the best, especially when it’s all blooming. Cherry blossoms are falling into The Lake near the W 72nd street entrance, and the first proposals of the season are happening on row boats. We didn’t discover the north side Conservatory Garden until all of the trees had bloomed, and that’s going to be my main spring destination in 2016.

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Summer is the craziest time in the city and in the park: so many people! We had a few picnics in Sheep Meadow, went to a couple of concerts, and took many walks all along the various paths and trails.

Wisdom of the season: in summertime it’s good to hang out in the Northern part of Central Park. It feels fresh, wild, lush and quiet. There are hiking trails, ponds with herons, turtles, giant fish monsters (we spotted a Loch Ness equivalent in Harlem Meer a few evenings ago!), waterfalls, gorgeous gardens, and pretty lawns. We even made a raccoon friend there, who we’ve now met on a few different occasions. He/she is adorable, chubby and loves to inspect peoples’ bags if they are left on benches. I even got its epic exit into the bushes on video!

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