It’s true that exploring Central Park has its charms year-round. There’s the quiet contemplation of a snowy walk, the thrill of watching a spring shower ripple across Conservatory Water, and, of course, the artistic appreciation for the foliage of fall. But few would disagree that summer is the time the park truly bursts to life. Perhaps it’s the relief of leaving the sweltering sidewalk behind in exchange for a pebbly trail, or it could be the simple joy of seeing people from all over the city gather to enjoy the outdoors. Whether you’re in the mood for a cool, quiet walk through the woods or a night of dancing with the grass beneath your feet, summer in Central Park has something for everyone. Fortunately, residents of 180 East 88th will only be a short walk from the city’s own oasis. Here are some of our favorite ways to take advantage of the park in the heat of summer.

Get on the Water
For a new vantage point on the city and the park itself, try escaping land for a while. Renting a rowboat at the Loeb Boathouse is easy, and the views of the park from the water are different than any you can see from shore. If you’re not sure your arms are up for the task of rowing across the pond, opt for the classic Venetian gondola. The long boats fit up to six people, and you’ll be treated to a ride steered by one of the park’s gondoliers. In this romantic, old-time setting, you may momentarily forget you’re even in the heart of New York City.

Discover Live Music
During the summer in Central Park, it seems like wherever you go, you’re bound to hear live music filtering through the trees or across meadows. There are few better ways to spend a summer night than in the open air, being treated to performances from some of the world’s best talent. SummerStage, an outdoor music festival that runs through the season, showcases a wide enough range of artists to satisfy even the choosiest of listeners. Or, if you’re looking for something more low-key, follow the sounds of music, and you may just run into a famous busker. David Ippolito, affectionately known by locals as “That Guitar Man from Central Park,” has been playing covers of classic songs and originals on a grassy hill overlooking the Central Park Lake for 25 years.

Just Get Lost
Some of the best discoveries are made when one deviates from the plan, so don’t shy away from spontaneity. Roam down the Ramble, which is made up of 38 acres of looping, winding paths that will take you through groves of old-growth oaks, sycamores, and other American tree species. Look up, and you may catch a glimpse of some colorful plumage zipping through the canopies. Or, check out the Loch, a manmade waterfall cascading over boulders. Maybe you’ll find yourself in a quiet zone like the Conservatory Garden, the only formal garden in the park, with its lush, ever-changing rotation of blooms. The more you wander, the more treasures you’ll find waiting to be uncovered.

Read more