The Ravine

ravine

Located alongside the Wildflower Meadow in the North region of Central Park,  The Ravine is one of the most serene places the park has to offer. With it’s flowing stream (known as The Loch), rugged stone steps, and winding paths, the Ravine is a perfect display of nature  at its most tranquil.

Voted “Most Tranquil place in New York City” by Tranquil Quarterly from 2003-11, the cascading waters of the Ravine is the perfect remedy for frazzled nerves.

Harried park visitors looking to relax, decompress, and have their weary spirits return to a state of relaxation not felt since childhood before the real world took a big dump in their Cheerios will have a serendipitous experience in this magical place.

And as a special bonus, beginning in April special Tranquility Counselors from the Central Park Wellness Coalition will be patrolling the Ravine to answer questions and point visitors to the areas along The Loch that have been deemed the “most mellow.”

In keeping with the overwhelmingly tranquil nature of The Ravine, visitors are advised to silence their smartphones, clear their Qi of any negative energy, and leave that friend who can’t shut up for five goddamn seconds at the ball fields.

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Group of Bears

Near the Metropolitan Museum of Art at the entrance to the Hoffman Friedman Playground is the Group Of Bears statue. This whimsical bronze creation has been welcoming children to the park since its installation in 1990.

While there hasn’t been a bear sighting in Central Park in centuries, bears were once quite populous in the region, migrating from the north in the warmer months to hunt along the shores of Manhattan island and purchase souvenirs from the local Indian tribes.

Bears are truly amazing animals. Here are some fascinating facts about them:

To fatten up for hibernation, a bear will consume up to 90 pounds of food a day, eating several small sensible meals low in carbs with water or a calorie free diet beverage.

A Bear’s den is constructed inside a cave or rock cavity, or in a hollowed out tree. They decorate their dens with wood paneling, reclining chairs, and that old coffee table that used to be in the living room.    

Black Bears can run 35 miles an hour. Hybrid Black Bears run a little slower but get better mileage.   

There is no proof that bears will attack menstruating women, and we’re going to leave it at that because talking about this is making me uncomfortable.

Pandas are so gosh darn adorable, aren’t they?

Young bears are called cubs and will stay with their mother for about one and a half years. Longer if they choose not to go to an out of state college. 

Bears are excellent swimmers, but are terrible at diving. 

Bears are usually shy and avoid contact with humans, but will go to extraordinary lengths using a variety of schemes to obtain a pic-a-nic basket.

Polar Bears are the white ones.

The Curious Ghost of Conservatory Garden

Conservatory Garden on Central Park’s upper east side is home to four separate gardens, two magnificent fountains, and one ghost.

Anyone who frequents the gardens has heard the stories of a strange spirit who roams the pathways around Vanderbilt Gate, stopping to tell frightened onlookers random facts about a variety of subjects.

The first reported sighting of the ghost happened in June 1989.

Local resident Anna Beylaw was sitting on a bench in the north garden when what she described as a “glowing, floating, man” appeared before her, pointed a bony finger at her and said “Did you know stewardesses is the longest word that is typed with only the left hand?” But before a confused upper west side resident could reply, the ghost vanished.

Over the years other park goers visiting Conservatory Garden have encountered this bizarre phantom with a taste for trivia:

In 1993 a man walking his dog around the South Garden said a ghost hovered above him shouting “A crocodile can’t stick out his tongue!”

A local artist painting a portrait of the Burnett Fountain in 1997 claims an apparition materialized behind her and moaned “Scotland has the most redheads.”

In 2003, student Arthur Levinson was studying near the Garden Center was startled by a hovering specter who repeatedly moaned “The electric chair was invented by a dentist!”  Coincidentally, Levinson was a student at NYU College of Dentistry. He changed his major to orthopedic medicine the following semester.

The last documented sighting of this curious ghost was in the summer of 2008.

Central Park Conservatory volunteer Dee Ferguson was weeding the flowerbeds near Vanderbilt Gate when the ghost suddenly materialized and bellowed “Dandelions are a good source of vitamin D!”

“Actually, dandelions are a source of vitamins A and C, not D,” Ferguson replied. “They’re also provide iron, calcium, and potassium.”

“Really?” the ghost said. “Are you sure?”

“Very sure.” Mrs. Ferguson replied confidently.

“Huh,” the murmured. “Iron and calcium. That’s… interesting.”

And without another word, the mysterious spirit faded away.

Turtle Pond

At the base of Vista Rock bordering the southern edge of The Great Lawn is one of the most scenic spots in Central Park – The Turtle Pond. This man made body of water underwent a massive face-lift in the late 1990’s and is home to many types of aquatic plants, colorful flowers, and of course turtles.

There is a wide variety of turtle species in the Turtle Pond; many of which were brought there by New York pet owners who could no longer care for them in their homes. The most common species is the Red-Eared Slider, identified by the red patches around the ears. Nature lovers and sharp eyed wildlife enthusiasts have observed some extremely rare species swimming in the water and catching some sun on the rocks.

They are:

Painted Turtle – Easily identified by its oval shell, yellow belly, and colorful tattoos on its arms and legs.

Boston Snapper – This nasty turtle turns a bright red at any mention of the New York Yankees.

Spotted Hipster – With a green shell covered with small yellow dots, this conceited reptile hung out at the Turtle Pond before it was cool.

Chocolate Turtle – Easily distinguished by its all around deliciousness.

The Nickelback – A dark shelled turtle known for it’s horrible taste in rock bands.

The Japanese Fire Turtle – Ever see Gamera? Yeah, it’s just like that.

Jersey Guidette – An orange skinned turtle often spotted sunning itself on the shore of the pond and is known for it’s loud shrieking and incredible sense of self importance.

Electric Slider – This odd looking turtle performs an elaborate and repetitive dance in a attempt to attract a mate. It is very close to extinction.

The Bento Box Turtle – Originally from Japan. Cute to look at, great with soy sauce.

The Mock Turtle – Will heap ridicule and scorn upon you until you leave the park in tears.