Listening to Jazz in Central Park, New York City

I took the featured image for this post during one of my trips to the Big Apple: New York City. In the last few weeks, New York keeps popping up in my life. Several people have, independent of each other, invited me to visit for dinner or coffee to celebrate the launch of my upcoming Happiness book. Maybe the writing is on the wall, and I’m due for another trip to one of the cities I love most. Jazz in Central Park is inspired on a street musician I met while I was exploring Central Park. While not so safe after dark, during the day it’s a perfect place to hide from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, if you so desire. Though the park appears natural, it’s entirely landscaped with artificial lakes, a zoo, playgrounds, walking trails, and ice skating rinks in winter.

Music and Central Park go hand in hand. You’ll find countless buskers, admitted some are better than others, and some are more photogenic than others. Legendary folk singers Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel played a reunion concert at Central Park, and subsequently released a recording of it that went on to be one of their best-selling albums. In recent years, the Park has hosted a variety of music festivals, including the extremely popular Dave Matthews Band. It was featured in the James Bond film Live and Let Die, as well as Madagascar. Perhaps the most culturally significant pop culture aspect of Central Park is Strawberry Fields. Jazz lovers can enjoy big names at Radio City Music Hall or Madison Square Gardens or attend more intimate concerts in the numerous smaller jazz venues where so many big names started off. Surprisingly, you don’t even spending one penny: just go for a long walk in Central Park and you’re sure to bump into a jazz musician or two. Apart from the live music, live theatre, history, architecture, sport venues, restaurants and shopping that the city is famous for, New York City has soul. It has a buzz. There is nowhere else on earth like New York City. As Sammy Davis Junior once said, “When you leave New York, you ain’t goin’ nowhere.”

This story was published first on Living by Experience. View it here.