Discovering Secrets of Central Park

October 26, 2023

At Nightingale, students often have the opportunity to leave their textbooks behind to explore the historical treasures of New York City, and in the Secrets of Central Park physical education class, Upper School students do just that, every class, and even learn directly from one another. In the walking class, each student selects a historical landmark or spot in the park to research. On their presentation day, students guide their peers to the historical landmark, sculpture, or statue they have selected, and present about its inception and establishment to their classmates.

During a recent class, Mia H. ’25 and Katie F. ’26 took their classmates to the Alice in Wonderland sculpture across from the conservatory waters on 74th Street. According to the Central Park website, the sculpture depicts “Alice and her kitten, Dinah, sitting atop a giant mushroom, surrounded by her Wonderland friends: the Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter, Dormouse, and the White Rabbit.”

“In this class we explore different areas and landmarks of Central Park that we might not see very often, or walk by without knowing the story behind them,” Katie said. “I had always gone there as a kid, and it brought back a lot of fond memories that made me excited to research and present on the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.”

“Personally, I picked this statue because it’s the only place in Central Park that I had frequented when I was little, and researching allowed me to broaden my knowledge on its history to appreciate it fully,” Mia reflected. “This project allowed me to connect my independence as an adolescent to childhood memories of the statue.”