Wunderground® Travel Planner: Central Park, NY

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Central Park, NY
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January 1 - January 1
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4 days / 67%
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Weather Observed Recorded Days (of 6 total)
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2 days (33%)
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Of 6 days between 1996 and 2018, Sunny was the most frequent condition. Additionally, 0 days were recorded with precipitation.

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6 days / 83%
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Central Park, NY
When is it good weather for the activity: Birdwatching in Central Park, NY?
Birdwatching Locations
1 Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle

New York, NY

Standing regally atop Vista Rock, the second-highest natural point in the park, makes Belvedere Castle the highest man-made vista from which you can see the stage of Delacorte Theater as well as picnickers and softball players on the Great Lawn. The castle was built in 1872 of the same gray Manhattan schist that thrusts out of the soil in dramatic outcrops throughout the park (you can examine some of this schist, polished and striated by Ice Age glaciers, from the lip of the rock). A typically 19th-century mishmash of styles—Gothic with Romanesque, Chinese, Moorish, and Egyptian motifs—the castle was deliberately kept small so that when it was viewed from across the lake, the lake would seem bigger. (The Ramble, to the south, now obscures the lake's castle view.) Since 1919 it has been a U.S. Weather Bureau station; look for twirling meteorological instruments atop the tower. Inside, the Henry Luce Nature Observatory has nature exhibits, children's workshops, and educational programs. Free discovery kits containing binoculars, bird guides, maps, and sketching materials are available (before 4 pm) in exchange for two pieces of identification. Admission: Free. Hours: Tues.-Sun. 10-5. Subway: B, C to 81st St.

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2 Columbus Circle
Columbus Circle

New York, NY

This busy traffic circle at Central Park's southwest corner anchors the Upper West Side and makes a good starting place for exploring the neighborhood if you're coming from south of 59th Street. The central 700-ton granite monument (capped by a marble statue of Christopher Columbus) serves as a popular meeting place.

To the west looms the Time Warner Center



), its 80-story twin glass towers designed by skyscraper architect David M. Childs. The concave front of its lower floors envelops Columbus Circle's curve, and the upper towers mirror the angle of Broadway and the lines of the city's street grid. Its first three floors and basement house stores that include Whole Foods (good for a quick bite), Sephora, Williams-Sonoma, Borders, and Coach. The third and fourth floors have restaurants, including Masa, an outrageously priced and acclaimed sushi restaurant (a meal for two starts at $900); plus A Voce; and Thomas Keller's famed (and also costly) Per Se as well as his takeout-friendly Bouchon Bakery. Above are luxury condos, offices, and the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, whose restaurant and beautiful lobby bar (on the 35th floor) make a bird's-eye perch for surveying the city below. The performing arts center

Jazz at Lincoln Center



) is also in the complex.

Just north of Columbus Circle, the Trump International Hotel and Tower

fills the wedge of land between Central Park West and Broadway; it's home to the self-named Jean Georges restaurant, where the celebrity chef works his culinary magic. On the circle's south side, at 2 Columbus Circle, is the former Huntington Hartford building, built in 1964 from the owner's A&P fortune. In 2008 it reopened as the new home of the

Museum of Arts and Design

after extensive renovation that clad its exterior in lots of zigzags and narrow slits of glass. Subway: A, B, C, D, 1 to 59 St./Columbus Circle.

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3 Empire State Building
Empire State Building
350 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10118

Bittersweet though it is, this landmark is once again the city's tallest building. Its pencil-slim silhouette, recognizable virtually worldwide, is an Art Deco monument to progress, a symbol for New York City, and a star in some great romantic scenes, on- and off-screen. Its cinematic résumé—the building has appeared in more than 200 movies—means that it remains a fixture of popular imagination, and many visitors come to relive favorite movie scenes. You might just find yourself at the top of the building with Sleepless in Seattle

look-alikes or even the building's own

King Kong


Built in 1931 at the peak of the skyscraper craze, this 103-story limestone giant opened after a mere 13 months of construction. The framework rose at an astonishing rate of 4½ stories per week, making the Empire State Building the fastest-rising skyscraper ever built. Unfortunately, your rise to the observation deck might not be quite so record breaking.

There are three lines to get to the top of the Empire State Building; a line for tickets, a line for security, and a line for the elevators. Save time and skip a line by purchasing your tickets in advance online (esbnyc.com). You can't skip the security line, but you can skip to the front of both this line and the line for elevators by purchasing an Express Pass for an extra $45—if time is tight, it guarantees you'll get to the observation deck in twenty minutes. If you don't want to pony up for express service, do yourself a favor and skip that last elevator line at the 80th floor by taking the stairs.

If this is your first visit, keep yourself entertained during your ascent by renting a headset with an audio tour from Tony, a fictional but "authentic" native New Yorker, available in eight languages.

The 86th-floor observatory (1,050 feet high) has both a glass-enclosed area (heated in winter and cooled in summer) and an outdoor deck spanning the building's circumference. Don't be shy about going outside into the wind (even in winter) or you'll miss half the experience. Also, don't be deterred by crowds; there's an unspoken etiquette when it comes to sharing the views and backdrop, and there's plenty of city to go around. Bring quarters for the high-powered binoculars—on clear days you can see up to 80 mi—or bring binoculars of your own so you can get a good look at some of the city's rooftop gardens. If it rains, the deck will be less crowded and you can view the city between the clouds or watch the rain travel sideways around the building from the shelter of the enclosed walkway. The views of the city from the 86th-floor deck are spectacular, but the views from 16 stories up on the 102nd-floor observatory are even more so—and yet, fewer visitors make it this far. Instead of rushing back to elevator lines, ask yourself when you'll be back again and then head up to the enclosed 102nd floor. It will cost you an extra $15 (at the 86th-floor kiosk), but you will be rewarded with peaceful, bird's-eye views of the entire city. Also, there are fewer visitors angling for photo ops, so you can linger a while and really soak in the city and experience.

Even if you skip the view from up top, be sure to step into the lobby and take in the ceiling, beautifully restored in 2009. The gilded gears and sweeping Art Deco lines, long hidden under a drop ceiling and decades of paint, are a romantic tribute to the machine age and part of the original vision for the building.

Although some parents blanch when they discover both how much it costs and how it lurches, the second-floor NY SKYRIDE

, New York's only aerial virtual tour simulator, is a favorite of the 7- and 8-year-old set, and it's cheaper than an actual aerial tour of New York. Narrated by actor Kevin Bacon, the ride takes the viewer on a virtual tour of New York, swinging by the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty, Central Park, Times Square, Yankee Stadium, and other top attractions along the way. There's also a brief but poignant trip back in time to visit the World Trade Center's Twin Towers—a sight sure to drive you straight into the arms of the first I Heart NY T-shirt vendor you see when you leave the building. It's a fun, and fast, way to get a sense of the city's highlights, though teenagers may find the technology a little dated, and baseball buffs may gripe that the footage has not been updated to reflect the new Yankee Stadium. When you purchase a Skyride-Empire State Building combo ticket, you will visit the Skyride first and then join the line for the observation deck at the elevators, skipping up to half the wait. Tel. 212/279-9777 or 888/759-7433. www.nyskyride.com. Admission: $41; $52 combo Skyride and observatory (discounts are available on their Web site). Hours: Daily 8 am-10 pm. www.esbnyc.com. Admission: $20. Hours: Daily 8 am-2 am; last elevator up leaves at 1:15 am. Subway: B, D, F, N, Q, R, M to 34th St./Herald Sq.; 6 to 33rd St.

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4 Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
12th Ave. at W. 46th St.
New York, NY 10036

The centerpiece of the newly renovated Intrepid

Sea, Air & Space Museum complex is the 900-foot


aircraft carrier, making it Manhattan's only floating museum. The carrier's most trying moment of service, the day it was attacked in World War II by kamikaze pilots, is recounted in a multimedia presentation. Aircraft on deck include an A-12 Blackbird spy plane, a Concorde, helicopters, and 30 other aircraft. Docked alongside, and also part of the museum, is the


a strategic-missile submarine. The interactive Exploreum contains 18 hands-on exhibits. You can experience a flight simulator, transmit messages in Morse code, and see what it was like to live aboard the massive carrier. www.intrepidmuseum.org. Admission: $20; free for children under 3. Hours: Apr.-Oct., weekdays 10-5, weekends 10-6; Nov.-Mar., Tues.-Sun. 10-5; last admission 1 hr before closing. Subway: A, C, E to 42nd St.; M42 bus to pier.

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5 Naturalists' Walk
Naturalists' Walk

New York, NY

Starting at the West 79th Street entrance to the park, this landscaped nature walk (through which you can wend your way toward the Swedish Cottage,


Shakespeare Garden,


Belvedere Castle

) has spectacular rock outcrops; a stream that attracts birdlife; a woodland area with various native trees; stepping-stone trails; and, thankfully, benches. Subway: B, C to 81st St.

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6 Prospect Park
Prospect Park

Brooklyn, NY

Brooklyn residents are fiercely passionate about Prospect Park. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park was completed in the late 1880s. Olmsted once said that he was prouder of it than of any of his other works—including Manhattan's Central Park.

A good way to experience the park is to walk along its 3.5-mi circular drive and make detours off it as you wish. The drive is closed to cars at all times except weekday rush hours. Families with children should head straight for the eastern side, where most kids' attractions are clustered.

The park's north entrance is at Grand Army Plaza

, where the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch honors Civil War veterans. (Look familiar? It's patterned after the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.) Three heroic sculptural groupings adorn the arch: atop, a dynamic four-horse chariot; to either side, the victorious Union Army and Navy of the Civil War. The inner arch has bas-reliefs of presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant, sculpted by Thomas Eakins and William O'Donovan, respectively. To the northwest of the arch, Neptune and a passel of debauched Tritons leer over the edges of the

Bailey Fountain

. On Saturdays year-round a greenmarket at the plaza sells produce, flowers and plants, cheese, and baked goods to throngs of locals. Other days, you can find a few vendors selling snacks here and at the 9th Street entrance.

If you walk down the park's west drive from Grand Army Plaza, you'll first encounter Litchfield Villa

(Tel. 718/965-8951. Admission: Free. Hours: Weekdays 9-5), an Italianate hilltop mansion built in 1857 for a prominent railroad magnate. It has housed the park's headquarters since 1883; visitors are welcome to step inside and view the domed octagonal rotunda.

The Prospect Park Band Shell

(Tel. 718/855-7882 Celebrate Brooklyn Festival. www.bricartsmedia.org) is the home of the annual Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, which from early June through mid-August sponsors free films and concerts that have included Afro-Caribbean jazz, flamenco dance troupes from Spain, David Byrne, and the Brooklyn Philharmonic.

The most prominent of several neoclassical structures in the park, the Tennis House

(Admission: Free. Hours: Tennis House only, weekdays 9-5, weekends 10-5; BCUE gallery, during exhibitions) is a 1910 limestone-and-yellow-brick building, with triple-bay Palladian arches on both its north and south facades.

A smaller cousin to Wollman Rink in Central Park, popular Wollman Memorial Rink

offers skating in winter and pedal-boat rentals from spring through fall. Tel. 718/282-7789. Admission: $5, skate rental $6.50; pedal boats $16.33 per hr. Hours: Rink: Thanksgiving-mid-Mar., hrs vary, call for specifics. Pedal boats: May and June, Thurs.-Sun. noon-5; July-Labor Day, Thurs.-Sun. noon-6; Sept.-mid-Oct., weekends noon-5.

Styled after Sansovino's 16th-century Library at St. Mark's in Venice, the Prospect Park Audubon Center and Visitor Center at the Boathouse

, built in 1904, sits opposite the Lullwater Bridge, creating an idyllic spot for watching pedal boats and wildlife, or just taking a break at the café. Here, learn about nature through interactive exhibits, park tours, and educational programs especially for kids. On a nice day, take a ride on the electric boat to tour the Lullwater and Prospect Lake. You can also sign up for a bird-watching tour to see some of the 200 species spotted here. Prospect Park. Tel. 718/287-3400. www.prospectpark.org/audubon. Admission: Audubon Center free; electric-boat tours $8. Hours: Audubon Center: Apr.-Sept., Thurs.-Sun. noon-5; Oct.-Mar., weekends noon-4; closed in Jan.; call for program and tour times. Electric-boat tours: May-Aug., Thurs.-Sun. noon-4:30; Sept.-mid-Oct., weekends noon-3:30, every 30 mins.

Lefferts Historic House

(Tel. 718/789-2822. Admission: Free. Hours: Apr. and May, Sat. and Sun. noon-5; June and Sept., Thurs.-Sun. noon-5; July and Aug., Thurs.-Sun. noon-6; Oct., Thurs.-Sun. noon-4; Nov. and Dec., and Feb. and Mar., Sat. and Sun. noon-4) is a Dutch Colonial farmhouse built in 1783 and moved to Prospect Park in 1918. Rooms of the historic house-museum are furnished with antiques and reproductions from the 1820s, when the house was last redecorated. The museum hosts all kinds of activities for kids; call for information.

Climb aboard a giraffe or sit inside a dragon-pulled chariot at the immaculately restored Prospect Park Carousel

, handcrafted in 1912 by master carver Charles Carmel. Tel. 718/282-7789. Admission: $2 per ride. Hours: Apr.-June, Sept., and Oct., Thurs.-Sun. noon-5; July-Labor Day, Thurs.-Sun. noon-6.

Small and friendly, Prospect Park Zoo

is perfect for those children who may be overwhelmed by the city's larger animal sanctuaries. Of the 400 inhabitants and 125 species, kids seem to be especially fond of the sea lions and the red pandas. An outdoor discovery trail has a simulated prairie-dog burrow, a duck pond, and kangaroos and wallabies in habitat. Be aware that there are no cafés, only vending machines. 450 Flatbush Ave., Prospect Heights, 11225. Tel. 718/399-7339. www.prospectparkzoo.com. Admission: $8. Hours: Apr.-Oct., weekdays 10-5, weekends 10-5:30; Nov.-Mar., daily 10-4:30; last ticket 30 mins before closing. Subway: 2, 3 to Eastern Pkwy.; B, Q to Prospect Park.

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7 Queens Botanical Garden
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main St.
Flushing, NY 11355

Adjacent to Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, these 39 acres include rose and herb gardens, an arboretum, and plantings especially designed to attract bees and birds. An environmentally friendly visitor center uses solar energy and recycles rainwater. www.queensbotanical.org. Admission: Free. Hours: Apr.-Oct., Tues.-Sun. 8-6; Nov.-Mar., Tues.-Sun. 8-4:30. Subway: 7 to Main St.-Flushing.

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8 The Ramble
The Ramble

New York, NY

Designed to resemble upstate New York's Adirondack Mountain region, the Ramble is a heavily wooded, 37-acre area laced with twisting, climbing paths. This is prime bird-watching territory since it's a rest stop along a major migratory route and shelters many of the more than 270 species of birds that have been sighted in the park. The Central Park Conservancy leads walking tours here. Because the Ramble is so dense and isolated, however, it's not a good place to wander alone or at night.

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9 Top of the Rock
Top of the Rock

New York, NY 10020

Rockefeller Center's multifloor observation deck, first opened in 1933 and closed in the early 1980s, reopened in 2005 to be embraced by visitors and locals alike. Arriving just before sunset affords a view of the city that morphs before your eyes into a dazzling wash of colors, with a bird's-eye view of the tops of the Empire State Building, the Citicorp Building, and the Chrysler Building, and sweeping views northward to Central Park and south to the Statue of Liberty. Transparent elevators lift you to the 67th-floor interior viewing area, and then an escalator leads to the outdoor deck on the 69th floor for sightseeing through nonreflective glass safety panels. Then, take another elevator or stairs to the 70th floor for a 360-degree outdoor panorama of New York City on a deck that is only 20 feet wide and nearly 200 feet long. Reserved-time ticketing eliminates long lines. Indoor exhibits include films of Rockefeller Center's history and a model of the building. Especially interesting is a Plexiglas screen on the floor with footage showing Rock Center construction workers dangling on beams high above the streets; the brave can even "walk" across a beam to get a sense of what it might have been like to erect this skyscraper. The local consensus is that the views from the Top of the Rock are better than those from the Empire State Building, in part because the Empire State is part of the skyline here. www.topoftherocknyc.com. Admission: $21 adult; children under 6 not admitted. Hours: Daily 8-midnight; last elevator at 11 pm. Subway: B, D, F, M to 47th-50th Sts./Rockefeller Center.

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10 Beczak Environmental Education Center
Beczak Environmental Education Center
35 Alexander St
Yonkers, NY 10701

Set along the Hudson River with views of the Palisades, Beczak is a hidden gem. Here, you'll find a sandy beach, and a tidal marsh where kids can use a spotting scope to view birds like osprey. The center offers a host of educational programs, but kids will have the most fun wading into the water and catching fish with a 30-foot net. www.beczak.org.

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11 Audubon Center
Audubon Center
613 Riversville Rd.
Greenwich, CT

Established in 1942 as the National Audubon Society's first nature-education facility, this center in northern Greenwich is a prime hawk-watching site. It's directly on the East Coast flyway and more than a dozen species have been spotted migrating during the Fall Hawkwatch Festival. Other annual events are the Spring into Audubon Festival and the summer and Christmas bird counts. Not only is the center filled with "real-life" interactive exhibits, galleries, and classrooms, but also observation decks that offer sweeping views of wildlife activity, a wildlife observation room with solar-powered video technology, and a 144-person capacity lecture hall. Outside, the sanctuary includes protected wildlife habitats and 7 mi of hiking trails on 285 acres of woodland, wetland, and meadow. www.greenwich.center.audubon.org. Admission: $3. Hours: Daily 9-5.

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12 Sesame Place
Sesame Place
100 Sesame Rd.
Langhorne, PA 19047

Next to the Oxford Valley Mall, this water and theme park based on the popular children's show, Sesame Street,

is mostly for kids 2 to 10 and their families. Here children crawl, climb, and jump; float, slide, and splash; and meet, greet, and perhaps hug the ageless Big Bird and his friends. Though there are plenty of dry-land activities, the highlights of the park—especially on a hot summer day—are the water rides, including the popular Rambling River and Sky Splash, and the new interactive Count's Splash Castle. As befits a park for preteens, the three "thrill" rides in Elmo's World and the roller coaster—Vapor Trail—are modest by theme-park standards, but they've got more than enough excitement for young riders. Other kid favorites are the daily parades and shows and Sesame Neighborhood, a replica of the beloved TV street. www.sesameplace.com. Admission: $50.95. Hours: Late May-early Sept., daily; early May and early Sept.-late Oct., weekends; hrs vary.

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© 2018 by Fodor's Travel, a division of Random House, Inc.
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January 2019
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Current Conditions
66 °F
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Weather History & Almanac
June 21, 2018 Max Temp Min Temp
Normal 39 °F 28 °F
Record 62 °F (1966) -4 °F (1918)
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Check out Jess and Kari's pictures from the Bay Area Travel Expo this past weekend. Also, an all new episode of Wunder Travel will air on the Weather Underground Broadcast Network at 5:30 p.m. ET, 2:30 p.m. PT this Thursday!
Daily Observations
2018 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2018/1/1 19 13 7 3 -4 -6 63 50 37 30.39 30.35 30.31 10 10 10 15 8 25 0.00  
2017 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2017/1/1 46 44 41 28 22 16 50 41 31 30.44 30.17 29.89 10 10 10 12 5 23 0.00  
2016 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2016/1/1 42 38 34 26 23 16 59 52 44 30.06 30.03 29.97 10 10 10 17 8 26 0.00  
2015 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2015/1/1 39 33 27 17 10 6 46 37 27 30.18 30.07 29.98 10 10 10 17 7 31 0.00  
2014 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2014/1/1 33 29 24 19 13 5 59 49 38 30.40 30.34 30.26 10 10 10 14 6 23 0.00  
2013 Temp. (°F) Dew Point (°F) Humidity (%) Sea Level Press. (in) Visibility (mi) Wind (mph) Precip. (in) Events
Jan high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg low high avg high sum  
2013/1/1 40 33 26 27 22 9 64 54 44 30.01 29.90 29.84 10 10 10 15 7 26 0.00  
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