5. Bench Plaques

Central Park Bench Plaques, photos by Rachel Fawn Alban

The park is, of course, still evolving and new design details are constantly being added. Since 1986, the Central Park Conservancy has run the Adopt-A-Bench program as a way to maintain its more than 9,000 benches. For $7,500, you can adopt a green bench and personalize the plaque. (The rustic handmade benches cost $25,000 to adopt.) In return, the conservancy will maintain the bench forever.

The benches tell stories of loss, declarations of love, and memories of loved ones. Featuring children, parents, pets, and the occasional celebrity, reading the plaques mirrors the experience of people watching in New York. Pictured are a few of our favorites.

Where to find it: Throughout the park.