simple is beautiful
New York Daily Photo: Steps From Paradise
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Thursday, 3 July 2008

Steps From Paradise

Do you want to find one of the most idyllic, bucolic areas in Manhattan? One where you feel virtually removed from the city itself? Then step into the Ramble, a 38-acre "wild garden" in Central Park (in the words of Park designer Olmsted) with rocky outcrops, secluded glades, and a tumbling stream called The Gill. The designers of the Park literally sculpted the Ramble out of a wooded hillside. One of the first parts of the Park to be built, the Ramble is totally artificial except for its bedrock base. Even the water running in the Gill is turned on and off with a water tap.
What is extraordinary about the Ramble is how one can be completely secluded in a heavily wooded environment in the center of Manhattan with no visual sense of being in an urban setting. You have to look hard in New York City to find spots of nature that are capable of really acting as a retreat and provide a respite from city life. Some of my favorite spots are the various community gardens - see my posting here on an exceptional one I called Shangri-La.
The Ramble is a major bird-watching area due to its location on the Atlantic flyway (the migration route that birds follow during the spring and fall). It is one of the top 15 birdwatching sites in the entire United States - 230 species have been spotted.
One aspect of the Ramble, which has kept some visitors away, is its use since the early 20th century for gay encounters. The heavily wooded seclusion which the Ramble affords, has made this an ideal location in the city for outdoor gay sex. However, I have been to the Ramble many times over the years and personally I have never witnessed anything of this nature, so I would not let any of this deter you from visiting this area.
I am frequently surprised at many people I meet are who are unaware of the Ramble's existence. If you are in Central Park, always remember - you are only a few steps from paradise ...


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