Is Central Park safe?
I get it. There’s so much to do in Central Park and you’ll want to spend a lot of time there. It’s important to trust that you’ll feel and be safe while enjoying one of New York City’s most beloved features.
New York City is by far one of my most favorite cities to visit, and I’m clearly not alone given that over 67 million people also vacation in New York City each year. And 42 million of those travelers visit Central Park during their stay!
So, is there safety in numbers? Yes, as long as you’re pragmatic and follow some guidelines.
This post will help prepare you for a safe and awesome Central Park visit.
Best Safety Tips For Central Park
These safety tips for Central Park are common sense, but sometimes we become relaxed on vacations and need reminders to stay alert and be careful. So here goes:
- Have your phone charged and with you, but not necessarily out in your hand at all times.
- Keep all your belongings secured and close to you.
- Stay on the paved roads, designated paths, and wide open spaces, and do not venture to the wooded areas such as the Rambles and North Woods.
- Have a plan. Even if you’re wandering through parts of the park, know where your ultimate destination is so that you are wandering in the right direction.
- Download a park map on your phone or have a Central Park paper map with you to refer to.
- Be prepared for all kinds of interactions! Central Park offers something for everyone so you’ll likely encounter all kinds of walks of life during your visit.
- Consider taking an organized walking tour of the park, a horse & buggy tour, or a pedicab tour.
Know how to access help while in Central Park. There are call boxes throughout the park at the locations below.
~ Bernard Family Playground
~ Conservatory Garden
~ East 96th Street Playground
~ Lasker Pool
~ Mariner’s Playground
~ Mineral Springs
~ East Drive at 102nd, 92nd, 90th, 84th, 79th, and 63rd Streets
~ West Drive at 110th, 102nd, 100th, 93rd, 90th, 83rd, 68th, and 60th Streets
- The Central Park Police Precinct number is (212) 570-4820. And, of course 911 always works! All medical supports are provided by the Central Park Medical Unit, readily available right in the park. This means everything from basic cuts and bruises to things more urgent and serious.
Best Safety Tips For New York City
New York City is currently considered to be one of the safest cities in the world for tourists.
There is a very friendly, and ever present, police force as well as a community of New Yorkers who love their town. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious and smart when touring around Manhattan.
Most tourists will not be visiting the areas that have higher crime rates, but the tourist attractions can also attract pickpockets.
Follow these guidelines as you would while traveling anywhere.
~ Keep your eyes up and not down at your phone. Study the map before you venture out so you can be looking up and noticing your surroundings. Most of Manhattan is on a grid and is very easy to navigate as long as you figure out what direction is north!
~ Be extra cautious on the subway. It’s crowded and funky down there sometimes, so be on alert.
~ Be careful and discreet if possible with your digital camera and your phone. You don’t want to be a target for a pickpocket.
~ Don’t be shy to ask for help with directions or general information. New Yorkers are friendly folk!
~ New York City is one of the few tourist destinations in the world where you really don’t need a car and are encouraged to walk and take public transportation. Take advantage of the relatively inexpensive public transport system, but remain vigilant in your quest for a safe trip.
~ Travel with others if possible. Sometimes, two sets of eyes and ears are better than one.
Is it safe to walk alone in Central Park?
During the day, it’s definitely safe to walk alone in Central Park.
You’ll see many people walking alone in Central Park, passing through, stopping for a rest, enjoying the sites, and generally taking advantage of one of the most beautiful public parks in the world.
The night time is a different story however.
Although the 843 acres of the park are well lit and carefully patrolled by the Central Park Precinct, it is not advised to walk alone in the park at night.
There are crimes such as muggings and assaults reported in the park, so being alone in a less populated part of New York City at night is not recommended.
Is Central Park a safe neighborhood in New York?
The area of New York City where Central Park is located is known as being some of the safest and most beautiful parts of Manhattan.
The park spans the space between the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side.
These neighborhoods are generally considered to be safe areas. They are always busy with people and activities, and are home to some of the most luxurious buildings in the city. You’ll find plenty of upscale shops and restaurants throughout these neighborhoods.
The park is flanked by the historic 5th Avenue on the East Side, and Central Park West on the west side.
The notable landmarks of The Museum of Natural History, The Met, The Guggenheim, The Plaza, and many more border the park, making it one of the best areas of New York to visit.
Is Central Park safe in the morning?
Yes, the park is safe to visit in the morning hours.
The morning, after 6AM, in Central Park is the best time to enjoy the park and all its splendor. Take a walk, go for a run, or just get some coffee and sit on a bench and relax.
It’s a safe time to visit and is filled with people going to work, jogging, walking their dogs, and generally enjoying New York’s favorite green spaces.
Is Central Park safe after dark?
No, the park is not necessarily safe after dark.
Central Park is closed to the public from 1AM until 6AM. It’s definitely not advised to visit the park during these closed hours. Not only is it unsafe, but it’s illegal!
Just because you are allowed to be in the park until 1AM, doesn’t mean you should be. Even if you’re with others, you should play it safe, and not be in the park after dark.
It’s important to prioritize personal safety and avoid being in less populated areas of the park during nighttime hours.
Please note, however, that if you are attending a summer concert or Shakespeare In The Park, you’ll be safe walking after the show.
Due to the huge popularity of those performances and all the people departing at the same time, you won’t have to worry.
Places To Avoid In New York City
While most of New York City is very safe to visit as a tourist, you should avoid certain spots because they are not going to enhance your visit necessarily and are more risky to stay in or visit.
📍Brownsville, Brooklyn is to the southeast of Manhattan, across from the East River. Brooklyn has a fabulous art museum, music venues, lots of cultural events, and many great activities, including walking the Brooklyn Bridge. Brownsville, and its surroundings, however is unsafe and known for being one of the highest crime neighborhoods in Brooklyn.
📍Hunts Point, The Bronx is to the northeast of Manhattan and is known for its very high crime rates. While The Bronx is home to the fabulous Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Gardens, there are parts of The Bronx to avoid, like Hunts Point.
📍East Midtown Manhattan and the Financial District are big hustle and bustle areas during the day and offer many fun night time spots, however, after dark, they are consistently listed as the more unsafe neighborhoods to be in in the evening.
In a nutshell… Is Central Park Safe?
Yes, Central Park is a safe destination for visitors in 2023.
With its popularity and the presence of both New Yorkers and tourists who respect and love the park, it’s a secure and fantastic part of the city.
During the day, walking alone in Central Park is safe, but it’s advised to avoid doing so at night due to the potential of crimes.
Central Park is surrounded by historic and beautiful neighborhoods and offers a such a wide range of attractions, you won’t want to miss it!
By following general safety tips, common sense, and being aware of your surroundings, you can absolutely enjoy Central Park and have a safe experience in New York City!