From the snowstorms that closed our schools (four Nor’easters in as many weeks) to the prolonged sub-freezing temperatures that threatened to give little fingers frost-bite if not properly covered, New Yorkers took a veritable beating this winter. Next came the torrential downpours that gave special meaning to “April showers bring May flowers” and we essentially lived in our raincoats and rain boots. Now finally (finally!) spring is here, and it’s time to get outside. The trees have budded, the flowers are in bloom, and people have come out of hiding. Central Park is alive with families playing games with their kids, people running or biking or just reading and taking in the spring weather.
After a quick run around the Jackie Onassis Reservoir today I meandered up to the north eastern part of Central Park to the gorgeous Conservatory Garden to take in the sights and smells and just relax. Located at 5th Ave between 104 and 106th Street, through the iron Vanderbilt Gate, Conservatory Garden is the only formal garden in NYC. I may be giving up a well-kept secret because most people don’t even know it’s there! I’ve lived near Central Park for over a year before a friend introduced me to it, and most visitors stumble across the garden by accident. Now I go whenever I want to see a stunning floral display without trekking to the Botanical Gardens.
The large space is divided into three sections: a French-style garden to the North, an Italian inspired garden in the center and a traditional English garden to the South. Besides the different styles and flowers (which have started to bloom now in late April but are not yet at peak), the gardens also differ in that each has a special sculpture.
The French garden has a sculpture of Three Maidens dancing, the middle has a jet water fountain whose mist feels lovely on warm skin, and lastly the English garden has a sculpture of a boy and a girl near a small water lily pool dedicated to the author of The Secret Garden. It’s really a relaxing place to be.
The Conservatory Garden is open during daylight hours between March and November. It is a designated “Quiet Zone” in the park so it’s great place to just get away.
As an added bonus, within the garden grounds is one of the few restrooms in Central Park. Just a small joke for those of us with small bladders who hate that there aren’t more restrooms in the park.