New York’s Central Park is a testament to the power and beauty of nature. Downing Park was created by the same designers, which tells you everything you need to know about it.
Downing Park is a sanctuary, the beating heart at the center of Newburgh. The park is a collection of lush hills, wide valleys, and sprawling open fields.
The sounds of streams rushing through colorful vegetation can be heard all around you, with the occasional cheery quacking of the duck ponds joining the chorus of chirping and tweeting.
Paths run, twist, and turn through the trees and trails, so whether it’s adventure or peace you’re after, Downing Park has it on offer.
By design, the park is passive and promotes a contemplative environment. It’s an inner escape away from the hustle and bustle of the city. When the voices and the cars become too loud, this is a place that you can rest.
Downing Park originally opened in 1987. Back then, it served much of the same purpose that it does now. It was a spot full of paths that people could stroll along, beauty to admire, and vistas to appreciate.
It was a popular date spot, as well as a spot for family picnics. There was nothing quite like seeing your kids playing around in the grass on a warm sunny day.
Once the warmth left and winter set in, the Park took on a different and far more playful nature. It became a meeting spot for ice skating along the ponds and sledding down the frosty hills.
It was such a popular spot at this time of year that many artists have captured the joyous activities in various paintings.
Downing Park was named after Andrew Jackson Downing. Downing was an eminent horticulturist and a major advocator for the public park movement. He pushed forward the notion of Central Park, making this immortalization a fitting tribute.
The story of how the park came to be is a touching one. It was designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. The city of Newburgh approached these two, who were former students of Downing, about the creation of the park nearly 30 years after the death of their mentor.
The duo agreed to the commission and offered to give the city the park design so long as it was named after Downing.
This story is one that is fitting with the overall feel and essence that Downing Park encapsulates.
It’s a place of love, tranquility, peace, and reflection. It’s a place to contemplate on the past, yearn for the future, as well as somewhere that you can stop thinking and just admire the beauty of the here and now.
The winding paths contrast this air of peace with trails that bring you through the old trees and around stone structures still standing even after the 100+ years that Downing Park has been around.
It’s a park that captures the very nature of life in all of its complexities. If you’re in Newburgh, it would be remiss of you not to visit it.
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