There's nothing better than experiencing a new part of Central Park. It's an added bonus when the crowds are sparse and the feel is truly local.
Central Park's Conservatory Garden is the perfect oasis of calm nestled among bustling Manhattan.
While the grounds weren't at their peak of color when we visited in early September, there were plenty of blooms to adore.
Dozens of painters scattered about to capture the remaining days of the flowers’ brilliance. They seemed to jockey for position to find the best angle for their garden subject of choice.
Our taxi dropped us off at 105th and Fifth Avenue, where we entered through a black-and-gold wrought-iron gate framing its central garden. Made in Paris in 1894, the gate greeted visitors at a different time and place at the Vanderbilt mansion at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street before making its home in Central Park.
We started our tour with the North Garden, admiring the bronze sculpture of three women centered in an oval pool. As water shoots toward them, the women are caught in a playful interlude. It's easy to get lost in the moment here.
Three Dancing Maidens fountain by German sculptor Walter Schott
The North Garden offers several entry points onto its circular path.
In the South Garden, birds bathe in the basket atop the shoulder of another bronze figure of a girl standing next to a boy meant to depict the main characters from the children’s book, "The Secret Garden."
Benches filled with artists surround the sculpture and a partially shaded water-lily pond filled with meandering koi.
Designated as a “quiet zone” in the park, the Conservatory Garden is the perfect spot for just about any tranquil pursuit. Bring a book, spread out a blanket, stroll the grounds or channel your artistic side whether wielding a camera or brush. Either way, it's a beautiful experience in the heart of Manhattan.
What's your favorite part of Central Park to explore?