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Park-ing Fee

Sakay na! Central Park's famous tourist draw
IT IS the famous concrete jungle that dreams are made of. But living in the Big Apple may just take a big bite off your paycheck. Most especially if you want to your nest snuggling nicely on the branches of the greenest part of the metropolis.

If jotting your address have to include "Central Park" (e.g., Central Park North by West 110th Street; Central Park South by West 59th; Central Park West by Eighth Avenue; and of course, retaining its name as it delineates the eastern border of the park is the famous and posh Fifth Avenue), it may mean you have made it there, and maybe you can just make it anywhere, as the famous line goes, that is if you decide to uproot yourself from the city. This park has the "biggest and strongest draw in NYC" having been top listed as one of the most expensive real estate in the world. Who doesn't want a view of the Central Park from their balconies?

Central Park in Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall

From the small to the big screen, living in this address has epitomized the upscale living in Manhattan. Surely, it is Central Park they have to thank for. The view of this green patch is gold and admittedly, has more exposure than all the shows combined which makes it more famous than the buildings that enjoy raking in the moolah just by standing beside it.

Unlike its neighborhood where a fee is required to "park" (read: rent or reside), Central Park's shout out is "the best things in life are free". No, you can't pitch your tent and stay, but this National Historic Landmark (1858 Central Park winning entry designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux would be so proud) offers much more than a rejuvenating hue in the gray spot making it the most visited park in the USA with about 25 million guests yearly.

Coincidentally, the park's annual budget is $25 million to keep it in tiptop shape. The Central Park Conservancy, a private, non-profit organization manages the park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Thank you!

Spread across the 838-hectare landscaped oasis are natural-looking lakes and ponds, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks (one of which is a swimming pool in during the summer season), the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, a 43 hectare billion-gallon reservoir with an encircling running track and the Delacorte Theater outdoor amphitheater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel are its indoor attractions.

With BFF Tenny

Sit, play, run, line or ice skate, bike, work the oar, bird watch, appreciate art, ride the horse drawn carriage or rock climb, there is just something for you at this world-famous reserve whatever the season is.

Well, I visited during winter--as a tourist. It was photo-op for me, this time. At least I have something to look forward to doing when I make it back to the Big Apple--explore more of Central Park sans any fee. Now that's what I can call free parking.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on February 03, 2011.