Monday, March 12

MY NYC, Part II: take a walk in Central Park to meander along Shakespeare Garden

this is for my English writer friends 
Take A stroll in Central Park
and over to
four acres of wonder
Veronika Miller from is headed to New York this week with a group of design bloggers.  For fodder, I'm bringing you a few ideas of my favorite NYC stops.  Last week I showed you a glimpse of the refurbished New American wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 84th Street and Fifth Avenue.  This wing is pretty spectacular, and will give you a historical link to all you see in Brooklyn, the design centers and the Architectural Digest Home Show.  After all this inspiration, you may need to take a small respite, so today I recommend taking a walk in the park and over to Shakespeare Garden. This beautiful oasis may be one of NYC's most romantic destinations, a quiet spot in a booming city, and yes it's right smack behind the MET museum.
photography from my daughter Gabby 

The history and story behind this garden--Shakespeare Garden was first created in the 1880’s to create a garden next to the nature study center and the Swedish Cottage. It was not until 1913 the garden was dedicated to the works of this famous English poet and playwright. After years of neglect, Shakespeare Garden (and most of Central Park), fell into disrepair. In 1987, the Central Park Conservancy restored and built upon the garden, repaving pathways and installing rustic wooden benches and bronze plaques with quotations from the Bard’s masterpieces.

Shakespeare Garden is Central Park’s only rock garden. It was created in 1916 and on the 300th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.  This beautiful gem is truly one of NYC's gems, and often missed by tourists because of how it is nestled in the park.  It's been dubbed the  "Garden of the Heart" and created after Victorian era rock gardens.  It is important to note that only plants referenced in Shakespeare's plays were originally planted in this garden and unusual beauties such as columbine, primrose, wormwood, quince, lark’s heel, rue, eglantine, flax and cowslip.  Many of these species are ancient flowers and the garden blooms at various points of the seasons, but it is spring and early summer when the garden comes alive and fragrant - I hoping with our current warm spell there will be the first blooms on the vines for your visit next week.  There are  rustic benches positioned throughout the serendipitous path and plaques with references to Shakespeare quotes sprinkled throughout.
I hate to tease, but if you were here in early May this is what Shakespeare Garden would look like, but in the end of March you may just catch the first signs of spring in this majestic garden.  It's hard to believe that smack in the middle of the hustle and bustle of New York City there are rare flowers blooming...check out these shots my daughter Gabby took
throughout Central park last spring...

photography by Gabby Stephenson
how to get to Shakespeare Garden:

As you leave the front door of the MET, turn left and you will look up the hill to the entrance of Central Park. Take a walk up the hill (keeping the side of the MET to your left), cross the street to continue into the park.  Follow the paved path in Central Park as it curves left and heads over to the infamous garden.  Once the path curves left you see up high on the hill glimpses of the regal Belvedere Castle.  Look up at this amazing Castle in the distance and keep walking a bit more until there is a left turn on the paved path, take the left turn and straight ahead on your right will be the lovely famous, historic Swedish Cottage.  This cottage looks straight out of the storybook tale of Hansel and Gretel.  It is an authentic cottage, and inside is a Marionette Theatre offering shows weekly (look on the door for time schedules).
Directly across from the Swedish Cottage is the entrance to Shakespeare Garden on the left.
the garden path will wind and take you up the hill until you reach Belvedere Castle you had walked past a few moments ago.  Belevedere Castle is the highest points in Central Park.
You will look down upon the city in wonder. 

this is the entrance to Shakespeare Garden
The natural log benches, engraved plaques
and many busy volunteers moving about
weeding, pruning and keeping this garden in its glory
photography by Gabby Stephenson