A couple days ago my friend Brady and I explored the recently opened Hallett Nature Sanctuary in Central Park.
Explored the Hallet Nature Sanctuary for the first time today with @dwelch3 Pretty cool stretch of woods in Central Park South where its easy to momentarily forget you're in New York City. #halletsanctuary #centralpark #newyorkcity #nyc #newyork #ny #manhattan #centralparksouth #thepond #skyline #fall #autumn #foliage
From the park entrance on 6th and 59th follow the main road that runs behind and to the right of the information booth (you could also take the opportunity to ask the conservancy member in the info booth for directions). Next take the first side path that leads to your right. This should put you directly behind Wollman Rink. From there you’ll see a fenced off area with Central Park Conservancy members keeping track of entrants.
The conservancy only allows twenty people in at a time. While they do it to help enforce their conservation efforts, it also creates a serenity unique to this part of Manhattan and the more touristy Central Park south. Brady pointed out how impressive it is that the sounds of birds almost cover up the urban din and the smell of fresh mulch and potting soil replace the usual Midtown trash scent.
The trail itself is mulched or dirt and bordered by re-purposed logs, a nice change from the asphalt we took in to get to there. It took Brady and I about thirty minutes to stroll the whole sanctuary. The paths weave in and out of each other, but don’t make a direct loop so make sure to keep track of your turns. However, it’s pretty easy to find your way and certainly isn’t the worst part of Midtown to get turned around in.
The summit, so called by one of the conservancy members working inside the sanctuary, is 79ft according to Brady’s Snapchat. Despite it’s size, this small summit has benches to relax on and a viewing platform that offers a great vantage of The Pond, an area that Brady referred to as, “one of the most photographed part of New York,” shortly before taking his own photo of it:
Visitors can also descend all the way down to the pond where a newly installed bench creates a peaceful rest spot.
All in all the Hallett Sanctuary is definitely worth a visit next time you’re in Central Park. On top of simply being a tranquil bit of nature in the city, it’s a testament to what urban parks can be. The Central Park Conservancy has worked hard to reclaim this piece of the land and walking through it one feels the value and rarity of such a space.
To find out more, including the hours the Hallett Sanctuary is open to the public, check out it’s page on the Central Park Conservancy’s site.