This soothing photo was taken by LIFE photographer Leonard Mccombe in April 1957—the caption reads: "A girl reading in Central Park as seen from the photographer's window." But can the scene be recreated in modern day New York?
Currently their rules state, "A person in any park shall be guilty of disorderly behavior who... climbs upon any wall, fence, shelter, tree, shrub, fountain or other vegetation, or any structure or statue not specifically intended for climbing purposes." Seems pretty straightforward, however... in November of last year the NY Times reported on two men who had been sleeping on hammocks high up in the trees of Central Park, and they noted that while "park rules do not explicitly forbid climbing any of its 24,000 trees, they do prohibit any behavior that damages a tree." Indeed, in 1999, one father who let his three daughters climb a tree in Central Park was fined $1,000, because branches on the tree were broken.
We've reached out to the Parks Department to find out if it's truly illegal to climb trees in the city's parks, and will update when we hear back—the person we spoke with this morning didn't know, and had to look into it. But as of two years ago, they were actually giving tree climbing lessons.
UPDATE: A Parks Department rep tells us that tree climbing is prohibited, and they are "not sure when the rule went into effect," but the fine for climbing a tree is "$50 to $200." And "the lessons are given as part of the MTNYC Training Program for green job training and citizen tree pruner training which teach participants how to safely climb a tree in order to prune it and prevent damage to it."