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Autumn in Central Park, New York.

In the build up to Halloween, activities for young and old began this weekend with a pumpkin cooking jamboree. But apart from the present focus on ‘spooky’, New York’s magical park is spectacular in the autumn when the season’s foliage casts a golden palette over this enormous garden. Rise early and enjoy a choice of its 843 acres before the day starts. If you enter from either Fifth Avenue or Central Park West and head towards the centre, you’ll see the park’s best features.

And with sculptures galore, 21 playgrounds, war memorials, a miniature castle, a zoo and many other features, there is plenty to see. Take note of a couple of connections with home. Standing on the edge of a high precipice called ‘The Cliff’, the Park’s oldest building, the Blockhouse is the only remaining fortification of the many built in 1814 in defence against the British.

More importantly but unknown to many, the park’s designer, American Frederick Law Olmstead, visited Birkenhead Park, Merseyside, in 1850 as part of his European Tour. He incorporated many of the features he observed into his design for New York City's Central Park and something of the English country landscape was successfully transposed across the Atlantic, and then magnified and developed.

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