I was right about needing to make the most of summer and the outdoors before autumn came, because today I was caught out. I had trekked 100 blocks north to check out Central Park’s Conservatory Garden, lured by its lush lawns and dusk closing time. But when I got there, this was all I could see:P1100155 P1100158 P1100160

Shut. Very annoying considering said dusk closing time – and the fact that it looked so lovely. A wire-haired hound sniffed at my feet as I snapped pictures through the gate and his owner told me she was surprised how early they were closing the park now. She said her hound always hovered around the entrance, looking for the raccoons that parade around on the grass. There was no sight of them but it’s nice to know someone can appreciate the park in the evening, even if I couldn’t.

If I had got inside, this is what I would have seen:

garden2 conservatory-garden-fountain

But not all was lost – and I ended up having a great new experience anyway. I love Central Park, and if you recall, I’ve enjoyed it in Winter, Spring and Summer. I’ve always stayed towards the south section and it’s easy to forget the park is more than 50 blocks long. So today I visited the top northern corner.

We’re at 110th street here, so it has a very different atmosphere to the horse-drawn carriages, opulent hotels and Apple stores down on 59th. Instead, it’s Harlem, so it’s much more of a neighborhood.

While this corner if the park is clearly widely used, it’s much quieter and obviously not as appreciated by tourists. Which is understandable, but a shame, because it’s a gorgeous corner. I walked around the algae-covered 11-acre lake, which is called Harlem Meer, and breathed in the space, admired the 110th Street Boathouse and annoyed a flock of ducks who were trying to cross the path.P1100154 P1100134 P1100140 P1100141 P1100142 P1100147 P1100143 P1100148

This was a very fortunate discovery and I’m glad I’ve experienced more of Central Park than just its ice rink and horse carriages, which are tucked in the south. And while I can’t imagine I’ll be trekking up here again anytime soon, I am itching to get inside that beautiful park.