As I walked down the Upper West Side’s Gold Coast on a sunny Sunday in May, I found the neighborhood most welcoming. Families and happy couples strolled past me, leisurely soaking up the sun and discussing plans for the rest of their day. Meanwhile, I took in the sights of the beautiful Parisian and Italianate architecture of the apartment buildings along Central Park West, styles I deemed fit to line the Western border of the picturesque Central Park.
Although I found all of the buildings and sites on my walking tour very unique and intimate to their surroundings, my favorite part of the Gold Coast lies on the opposite side of the street. As I crossed the street at 66th and Central Park West, I spotted a few shaded benches, inviting me to sit and observe the scenery. And so I sat. I sat right across from 55 Central Park West, the notorious setting of Ghost Busters, and people-watched for an hour or so. From this shaded spot, I observed families on their way to Central Park, excited to spend the day away from work to enjoy time with one another. Children lined up at a street vendor’s stand to buy cool, refreshing lemonade. Due to the sweltering heat, I followed their examples.
As I left my shaded bench, I ventured into the park and found a quiet place to read my book near the entrance. Since then, I’ve returned to this very location whenever I need a place to relax, away from the busy atmosphere of Washington Square and the occasional stress of my internship. I’d recommend it to anyone—New Yorkers and visitors, like myself, who simply wish to get away for a few hours within the oasis of the Upper West Side. I found Central Park West to be a homey escape.