Central Park | The Most Visited Green Space in New York City

by Denise Marie

Designed by prominent landscape architects in the late 19th century, Central Park is the most visited green space in New York City. From ponds and outdoor theaters to a zoo and formal gardens, this iconic park in Manhattan is home to an array of attractions. Memorial statues and interesting architectural landmarks line the meandering trails in this 843-acre urban park.

Attractions and Activities

From Grand Army Plaza to Columbus Circle, the corners of Central Park are marked by prominent urban squares. As you stroll the lush grounds, you’ll see statues and memorials dedicated to notable international leaders, such as Simon Bolivar, King Jagielo and Cleopatra. There are also monuments that honor William Shakespeare, Beethoven and Christopher Columbus.

With access to more than 25 playgrounds and dozens of fields, children can enjoy a variety of outdoor activities at Central Park. The Sheep Meadow, North Meadow and the Great Lawn are popular points for picnicking and sunbathing. Other notable recreational facilities include the Lasker Rink and a tennis center.

There are also miles of trails around the Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy Reservoir. Boat rentals are available at the historic Loeb Boathouse, which is situated on The Lake. The Conservatory Water is a small pond that’s designated for model boat sailing. Additionally, the Pond occupies the southeastern corner of the park.

The Conservatory Garden at Central Park has prime displays of traditional European-style landscape architecture. The formal gardens include the Untermyer Fountain and Burnett Fountain. After looking at well-manicured shrubs and plants, you could view hundreds of animals at the Central Park Zoo, which opened in the 1860’s.

Covering approximately 6.5 acres, this historic zoo also includes climate-controlled facilities for exotic animals from tropical or cold regions. From the Victoria Gardens Amusement Park to the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, the park offers great entertainment for the entire family. Additionally, the outdoor Delacorte Theater hosts plays on a central stage that’s surrounded by amphitheater-style seating.

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Location and Transportation

Central Park is situated between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side in Manhattan. The A, B, and C trains of the New York City Subway stop at underground stations on Central Park West. The 4, 5 and 6 trains stop at various points near the park’s eastern side. Parking is limited on the busy 5th Avenue and other avenues that run through the Upper East Side.

New York’s poets and thinkers began the call for a public park by the middle of the century, looking for inspiration from London’s parks and the Bois de Boulogne in Paris.  So a plan was put in place to clear existing buildings, small farms and homesteads to build the 850 acres of accessible parkland. Today, when you visit, take a moment to appreciate that every tree, flower, path and river was designed and placed here for the enjoyment of the people.

Click to visit the Central Park official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Apollo Theater | Historic & Legendary Music Venue in Harlem, NYC

by Denise Marie

Having enough seats for just more than 1,500 spectators, the Apollo Theater is a historic music venue that’s tied to the Harlem Renaissance. Located in Manhattan, this iconic theater has hosted some of the most successful artists in Jazz, R&B and other genres.

History and Highlights

The Apollo Theater evolved from a performance venue that was known by a different name in the early 20th century. Specializing in burlesque, Hurtig and Seamon’s New was one of the premier theaters of its kind in the 1920’s. Unfortunately, the end of the Roaring Twenties era also marked the rapid decline of this intimate facility in Manhattan.

The Great Depression exacerbated the condition and fate of Hurtig and Seamon’s New. The mayor of New York City ultimately shut down this venue and several other burlesque hubs. Shortly after, the legendary venue reopened with a new mission and vibe.

At the height of the Great Depression, Harlem already had a thriving African American cultural scene. The renovated theater naturally sparked a revival in Jazz and other musical genres that essentially originated from the tight-knit neighborhood. Leo Brecher and Frank Schiffman managed the venue from the middle of the 1930’s until the end of the 1970’s.

A brief closure marked a new era of the Apollo Theater in the 1980’s. Since then, the facility has been a major multimedia hub for various entertainment sectors with a focus on the local African American community. Amateur Night is perhaps the most famous aspect of the Apollo Theater.

Dating back to the club’s early days, this event has allowed countless performers the opportunities to become famous. Some legendary singers who have won the Amateur Night contest include Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight and Dionne Warwick. Today, the iconic music hall still offers amateur singers the chance to impress an audience on the stage.

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Visiting the Apollo Theater

Centrally located in Harlem, the Apollo Theater is easily accessible by the NYC subway. You can take four different lines to the 125th Street station, which is located underneath the busy St. Nicholas Avenue. The subway trains that serve this underground station make multiple stops in Midtown Manhattan. Alternatively, you could ride the subway to the 125th Street Station that’s situated below Malcolm X Boulevard.

Additionally, several MTA buses stop just around the corner of this historic theater. For example, the M2 route runs along Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard. The M10 route makes frequent stops on Frederick Douglass Boulevard. Taxis and other vehicles should quickly drop off passengers near the venue’s main entrance on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, which merges with W. 125th Street.

Click to visit the Apollo Theater official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Scandinavia House | Nordic Art, Exhibitions, Programs & more

by Denise Marie

If you ever wondered if there is more to Scandinavian culture than IKEA, then it is worth paying a visit to Scandinavia House: The Nordic Center in America. Home to The American-Scandinavian Foundation, this modern building features two floors of galleries showcasing the art and culture of Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland as well as a hall for films, music and drama performances.

Nordic Cultural Programming

Scandinavia House offers a schedule of Nordic cultural programming including exhibitions, lectures and special events such as screenings of contemporary and classic Scandinavian films. There are concerts, readings and language courses offered as well as programs for kids and families like “Scandinavian Sing-Alongs.”

The galleries showcase a broad range of Nordic works of art. The outdoor sculpture terrace features a variety of art and design exhibits.

Shopping & Dining at Scandinavia House

Fans of modern design will love the unique selection of merchandise at The Shop @ Scandinavia House. This boutique offers a wide variety of home decor items, textiles, tableware, jewelry and fashion accessories.
Lunch, dinner and brunch are available at the on-site restaurant Smörgås Chef @ Scandinavia House. The menu features a variety of Scandinavian sandwiches, salads, appetizers and classic Nordic favorites such as cured gravlaks, Swedish meatballs, herb-roasted chicken and lingonberry soda.

Visiting Scandinavia House in New York City

Scandinavia House is located at 58 Park Avenue at 38th Street, four blocks south of Grand Central Terminal.

Address: 58 Park Avenue, New York, New York
Phone: 212-779-3587
E-mail: info@amscan.org

Click to visit Scandinavia House official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.