A Central Park Walking Tour with author Cleo Coyle

Print Friendly and PDF

Pop Quiz: Where was the above photo taken?

A. New Hampshire

B. Vermont

C. Central Park

Cleo Coyle writes two
bestselling mystery
 series with her husband.
To learn more, click here.

Okay, so my post title gave it away, but could you have guessed otherwise? Central park is landscape magic. It makes an entire city disappear. And when the city is New York, that's saying something.

Join me and my husband, Marc, as we take a scenic walk through Central Park. This wasn't just any stroll. It was location research for our bestselling Coffeehouse Mystery Once Upon a Grind.

If you've read our book, then you may recognize some of the landmarks and settings we used from the park: Belvedere Castle, the Ramble, Oak Bridge, and more...

So here we go. I hope you enjoy this virtual trip to our nation's first major landscaped public park (videos included). To read the rest of this post, scroll down, or click here...

The red marker in the Google
interactive map below will
show you the general area
of our walk today...

This is also the location of the world-famous
Delacorte Theater, 
where "Shakespeare in the Park"
is famously performed every summer.

For our readers, this is also where Tucker and Punch
children's theater during the Fairy Tale Festival
Once Upon a Grind.

Two life-size sculptures stand at the front of this theater
as a 
tribute to two of Shakespeare's plays. The first sculpture
(pictured below) was inspired by 
The Tempest

Can you guess what play inspired
the second sculpture?

The answer is written
in their pedestal.

So what else is in Central Park? 

Over 800 acres of land, 26,000 trees,
150 acres of lakes and streams, 
250 acres of lawns, 80 acres of woodlands,
9,000 benches, 
26 ball fields, 21 playgrounds,

and a partridge in a pear tree...
(but only during the holiday season). 


Actually, the park is one of the
top bird-watching spots in the USA
with over 200 species moving through
during migration months.

One of the many posters in the park, provided
by the Central Park Conservancy.

Below is my photo of the empty Delacorte Theater
from a hawk's vantage point. "Hawk watchers" with binoculars
can be seen up 
here on occasion. 

And where exactly is "up here"?
It's where I took this photo...

...from the observation deck of another 
famous Central Park landmark,
Belvedere Castle.

Belvedere Castle was built in the late 19th Century as a
Victorian folly, 
just a shell of a mini castle with open observation
decks. By the early 20th Century, however, New Yorkers found a
purpose for it (a fitting metaphor for this non-stop town)...

The castle now serves as the city's weather station. Happily,
the equipment is automated, and the castle's open decks and
hollow interior can remain open to the public for the pleasure
of enjoying the beautiful vistas below, including 
Turtle Pond,
part of which is pictured in the photo 

A not-to-miss feature of the castle is the cockatrice 
ornament above one of its tower doors (pictured below). 

What is a cockatrice? It's a mythical dragon with the head of a rooster, the body of a snake, and the wings of a bat. With a single glance, a touch, or even its breath, a cockatrice could kill you. According to legend, however, there was one sure-fire way you could destroy it: show the creature its reflection in a mirror.

Click here to learn more
about Once Upon a Grind.

Our readers may remember Clare Cosi mentioning a killer cockatrice in Once Upon a Grind as she hikes through the Central Park woods with Matt. 

The reference isn't random. In the end, like the cockatrice, a creature of another kind is destroyed by a mirror. 

On the other side of the castle, a sharp vertical descent
brings you 
to rocky steps that lead down into the oldest
and spookiest section 
of Central Park...

"The Ramble" consists of 37 acres of hilly woodlands 
with secluded paths, arches, ponds, and bridges
like the ones pictured below...

Suitably creepy Ramble tree...

Marc walks ahead of me as we search for the perfect tangled
crime scene location. If you've read Once Upon a Grind,
then you know which scene we mean.

Two mallards float near a rowboat on the park's
18-acre lake. Oak Bridge stands in the background.

Marc and I took many photos of this beautifully restored
Oak Bridge because we stage an important
scene here in our mystery...

Below is another view of the Central Park Lake.
For the first time on our long walk, we can see we're in a city!

What are the two towers rising in the background?
Scroll down to the caption...

The two towers rising in the background are part of a famous
apartment building called the San Remo (built around 1930).
It sits along Central Park West's Historic District and,
over the years, has had a few tenants you may have
heard of: Steven Spielberg, Steve Martin, Dustin Hoffman,
Tiger Woods, Stephen Sondheim, Glenn Close, Demi Moore,
and Aaron Spelling. (And, no, we did not see any
of them on our walk. :))

The cast-iron details of the "Ladies Pavilion" makes it a notable
example of 19th century American decorative arts. It sits prettily
on the Central Park Lake, which was once used for ice skating in the
winter months. After 1950, the city moved the skaters to a rink
to allow the wildlife's former residents to return...

When we finally emerged from the park we saw this
magnificent landmark building. Do you recognize it?

The is The Dakota, the famous old residential building on
Central Park West and 72nd Street that has housed the rich and
famous for years. With apartments selling for $4 to $30 million,
this is one very exclusive address. But as crime fiction writers,
Marc and I recall it for a different reason, its infamous history.
Sadly, it's the murder scene of singer-songwriter John Lennon.

On a brighter note, we also saw this sight: bleachers on Central Park West. Why? The city was getting ready for its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, an event of joy and wonder for children around the city
and around the world.

And speaking of Thanksgiving, Marc and I
would like 
to thank YOU for reading our books.

Until we see you again...

Marc and I wish you Happy Trails!

If you'd like to keep in touch with us, 
sign up for our newsletter by clicking here,  
and you won't miss out on our
new posts and recipes. 

And Now Some Video Fun!

A fun little tour: see "Rat Rock," the Central Park Zoo,
and a montage of the park's most famous statues,
including the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.

Watch to the end because you'll
learn a valuable tip 
for not getting lost
when you're inside the park!

Eat (and read) with joy!

New York Times bestselling author
of The Coffeehouse Mysteries and
Haunted Bookshop Mysteries

Cleo (Alice) with her husband Marc

Visit Cleo's online coffeehouse here.
And follow her at these links...

Our 20th 

Coffeehouse Mystery!

Bulletproof Barista

To Buy:

"Cleo Coyle aims and hits readers right in the heart with this one. You definitely don’t want to miss out on BULLETPROOF BARISTA!" —Fresh Fiction

"Scads of red herrings, peeks behind the show-biz curtain, and bountiful appended recipes will leave fans smiling contentedly." —Kirkus Reviews

"This twentieth Coffeehouse mystery (after Honey Roasted) brings together the history of the shop, ripped-from-the-headlines plot elements, [and] the drama of on-site filming."

Paperback Edition!

Includes a mini guide
to honey varieties
and a wonderful menu
of delicious recipes...

Click here or on the image above
for Cleo Coyle's Free Illustrated
Recipe Guide to Honey Roasted

The Coffeehouse Mysteries are bestselling works
of amateur sleuth fiction set in a landmark 
Greenwich Village coffeehouse, and each of the 
20 titles includes the added bonus of recipes.  

Get a free Title Checklist of
Cleo Coyle's Books in Order
Click here 
or on the image below.

Don't Miss Our New
Haunted Bookshop


Jack & Pen 
Together Again!


~ Fresh Fiction

"DELIGHTFUL" ~ Kirkus Reviews

To Buy:



Barnes & Noble

+ Many More Buy Links


Cleo is now working on her 
next book and 

Don't miss her book news, 
bonus recipes, and fun 

prize package giveaways!