Going rambling

Walking in Central Park with actress Lois Robbins,
who treasures the most wild and hidden places

A rustic bridge over the Loch and Lois Robbins
A rustic bridge over the Loch and Lois Robbins

Actress, contemporary art collector and self-described “park brat” Lois Robbins has a lot to say about Central Park. “I know the park like I know my apartment,” she says. “I could tell you every nook and cranny.”   

For the past four decades, Robbins — who has appeared in such television series as “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order” and “Sex and the City,” as well as having feature film roles in Meg Ryan’s “Ithaca” and the 2016 crime drama “Blowtorch” — has lived alongside and power walked through the urban oasis. LLNYC caught up with her to chat about what the park means to New Yorkers like her.

“My first home on the park was in the Beresford, but my parents have lived on Park Avenue for years and years and years,” Robbins says, adding that she currently has a home on Park Avenue and 79th Street but will soon move to 220 Central Park South, the new Robert A.M. Stern super tower. “Thirteen years ago, after my father passed away from lung cancer, I decided  that I was going to train to run the New York City Marathon. That’s when I started using the park six times a week.”

Robbins isn’t running marathons these days, but she has kept up her commitment to spending time in the park.

“I’m not sure if most New Yorkers appreciate
how lucky we are to have this park.
Without it, you’d be living in a cement field.”
—Lois Robbins

“I go into the park at 79th and walk past the Met. I take the bridle path up all the way around to the west side. Or, I’ll find my way into the Ramble,” Robbins says. One of her favorite sections is the Loch, a small stream that meanders through the Ravine.

“There are all of these beautiful waterfalls and gorges you can walk through. It’s just stunning, really stunning. It’s secret. I don’t think a lot of people know about it. It’s such a great place to sit and have a coffee.”

But she says that it’s really the west side of the park where she spends the most time.

“The thing that is so incredible about the park is that as the seasons change, the park changes. For instance, the pond at 100th and Central Park West has a lot of algae, and there are these benches there made out of what looks like twigs. For many years, that spot has been a place I go to sit and meditate. Sometimes I’ll get there and I think, ‘Shoot! Someone is sitting on my bench. That’s my bench! What are you doing on my bench?’”

Robbins also reveled in a more Seinfeldian secret of Central Park: where to find the cleanest bathroom. “The Delacorte Theater has the cleanest bathrooms in Manhattan,” she says, laughing. “When you are in nature and nature calls…” 

From the west side of the park, Robbins jogs south, all the way down to the site of her new building. Every day, she stops to take a picture as it climbs higher into the skyline.

But as magnificent as the buildings surrounding the park are, Robbins says she tries to stay focused on nature.

“Having nature like this is so important. I’m not sure if most New Yorkers appreciate how lucky we are to have this park. Without it, you’d be living in a cement field,” she says. “I’m a nature girl. I need to be in nature.”