You weave through the throngs of people, the red, blinking hand taunting you in the distance. When you finally make it to the street corner, the red hand is stationary and the cabs are leaping out of their lanes towards you. You jump back onto the sidewalk to safety, barely avoiding the murky puddle at your feet, when some unidentifiable cloud of smoke wafts up from the sewer grate and hits you in the face. Maybe it’s time for a getaway.
To leave the city without actually leaving the city, make your way to the North Woods of Central Park, where it’s so tranquil you’ll believe the subway tunnel was a portal to another world.
Dubbed the Manhattan Adirondacks, landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed the North Woods to replicate the forests of the Adirondack Mountains. The 100th Street entrance brings you directly to The Pool, which is a picturesque tree-lined body of water that begs you to make a return visit with a picnic basket in hand. The northern edge of The Pool leads you naturally to the Glenspan Cascade and Arch, where you can begin a 30-minute self-guided walking tour of the area which wraps around the Loch, with the northernmost point being the Huddlestone Arch.
It’s a hauntingly beautiful piece of the park, best described below by Christoper Gray in a New York Times article:
“This stretch, from the Cascade on down, is a masterpiece of landscape manipulation. As visitors follow the streamside path, they see the noisy, sunny brightness of the Cascade disappear into the silent, tomb-like darkness inside the massive arch.
On the other side, soft forest light and sounds emerge — birds twitter under the rustling green canopy. Turning back, they get a visual recapitulation of this sensory trail — a sheet of placid water leads back through the dark arch which frames the sunny Cascade. It is typical of the Olmsted and Vaux concept of the park as a series of sophisticated experiences meant to be uplifting for all, but especially for the lower classes.”
Pair it with:
Coffee and baked goods at Plowshares Coffee Bloomingdale
Located less than a mile away, this outpost for the boutique coffee roaster is the perfect place to stop in for a hot cup of joe before or after your Central Park adventure. They also carry baked goods from Colson and donuts from Underwest, which are some of our favorite mistakes.
2730 Broadway (btwn 104th/105th)
Hours (per Google):
Monday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Tuesday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Thursday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Friday 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Sunday 8:00 AM – 7:00 PM