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If we listed the things we love most about this city, Central Park would be right at the top. With its iconic sculptures, sprawling meadows and endless people watching, we consider it a little slice of heaven in the middle of Manhattan.

A new collection of essays by New York's greatest writers shows we're not alone in our sentiments. In Central Park: An Anthology, we see how the park transformed from municipal disaster in the 1970s to a modern-day sanctuary for millions.

Though all the pieces share one theme, they show the very different roles the park plays in each contributor's life: For Colson Whitehead, it's the ideal spot to observe quirky characters. Susan Cheever recalls midnight runs around the Reservoir on New Year's Eve, and Francine Prose reflects on open-air performances by Nina Simone and James Brown.

But most touching is Marie Winn's essay answering Holden Caulfield's question about where the ducks go when the ponds freeze over (hint: the stream under Balcony Bridge never turns to ice).

Proceeds from the book go to the Central Park Conservancy, so you'll be doing your part to keep the Great Lawn flourishing while you read.

And we know just the place to do so.

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