Central Park Waterfall – Too Good to be True

Did you know Central Park has waterfalls? Five of them, in fact. I discovered the main one by accident years ago. I had entered the Park from the northwest corner at 110th St. I decided to get off the paved road and follow a footpath through the North Woods.

Then I heard something. A bubbling of water. To find the source, I had to trek through dense foliage and a steep hill. At the top of the hill, I was flabbergasted to see not only a stream but also a waterfall. I mean, this was a real-spanking-waterfall. I couldn’t believe I was the only one there.

I rushed down the hill and into a clearing that gave me a full view. Sure enough, the stream was in fact a stream. It plummeted over a sharp slab of flat rock into a deep pool. From top to bottom, it’s probably about five to six feet high. Not too shabby.

One thing that always stuck with me was the “feel” of the whole thing. Very Tolkienish. Probably because I would never have thought in a million that Manhattan had streams, let alone waterfalls.

Then I wondered if this was a real stream, like the ones that bubble out of a natural spring. It looked real enough. You could see where the stream carved its own path through a small valley. Hey, if it walks and quacks like a duck, it’s gotta be, right?

After soaking it all in, I left with the promise to return. And I left convinced that the stream and the waterfall had a natural source. But I also left thinking how many other amazing things in our City I must have missed.

I did return years later. This time though, there were a bunch of artists painting the waterfall. While this didn’t bother me — in fact, just the opposite — it did take away from some of the Tolkienish aura.

Then, the other day, I discovered this: http://www.centralpark.com/guide/attractions/ waterfalls.html. The stream and the waterfall are fake! The source stems from a friggin fire-hydrant — not really, but you get the idea. Sigh. It was like that guy who found out years later his wife’s breast were fake. I mean, he still loved her, but it took some getting used to.

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