ISSUE 84  |  Summer Gardens in the City

Required Reading: Central Park, An Anthology

August 05, 2013 7:00 PM

BY Michelle Slatalla

On any given day, it will take less than three hours to walk the perimeter of New York’s 843-acre Central Park, as I did on a recent Sunday. To see it all, however, will take a lifetime.

Among the sights: picnickers; popsicle carts; topless sunbathers (European tourists); robins feasting on scattered scraps of white bread; mountain bike teams whizzing by in identical Spandex; long-distance runners; long-distance power walkers; long-distance wheelchair riders; four generations gathered for a reunion under a specimen pin oak; skate boarders; shuffle boarders; a quarter-mile-long line of Shakespeare lovers waiting for free tickets to As You Like It; boys fishing in the Harlem Meer; girls practicing soccer kicks; several lively seniors’ doubles tennis matches, and pit bulls straining at their barbed choked collars as appetizer lap dogs prance past.

What does Central Park mean to you? Eighteen writers recently answered that question, in an anthology of essays, edited by Andrew Blauner, called Central Park.

Above: The book’s contributors include novelist Francine Prose (L), photograph via Amazon, and New Yorker writer Alec Wilkinson, photograph by Sara Barrett via Random House.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8125″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Central Park: An Anthology”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”525″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: Central Park in early spring, looking south toward the Plaza Hotel. Image by Doug Kerr, via Flickr.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8127″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Central Park: An Anthology”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”459″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: The gates to the Conservatory Garden. An idyllic spot, it remains undiscovered by the hordes of tourists who populate the southern end of the park. Image by Ccho, via Flickr.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8129″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Central Park: An Anthology”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”525″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: Lily pads at the Conservatory Garden. Image by Chris 9, via Flickr.

[[{“type”:”media”,”view_mode”:”media_large”,”fid”:”8121″,”attributes”:{“alt”:”Central Park: An Anthology”,”class”:”media-image”,”height”:”1050″,”width”:”700″}}]]

Above: Eighteen writers contributed essays to Central Park: An Anthology. The book is $12.93 from Amazon.

N.B.: This is an update of a post originally published on June 19, 2012.