Central Park is perhaps the most well-trod and familiar green space in the county. It is both a refuge from the city and Manhattans very heart; a respite from the urban grind and a hive of activity all its own. 843 carefully planned acres allow some 37 million visitors each year to come and get lost in a sense of nature. Unsurprisingly, the park also inspires a wealth of great writing, and here Andrew Blauner collects some of the finest fiction and nonfiction-- 20 pieces in all, with classics sprinkled among 13 new ones commissioned from great New York writers. Bill Buford spends a wild night in the park; Jonathan Safran Foer envisions it as a tiny, transplanted piece of a mythical Sixth Borough; and Marie Winn answers definitively Holden Caulfields question of where the ducks go when the parks ponds freeze over. There are bird sightings and fish sightings; Jackie Kennedy and James Brown sightings; and pieces by Colson Whitehead, Paul Auster, and Francine Prose. This vibrant collection presents Central Park, in all its many-faceted glory, a 51-block swath of special magic.

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