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Central Park

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Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan
Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. The park initially opened in 1857, on 843 acres (3.4 km²) of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, social critic, public administrator, and landscape designer. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, although many scholars have bestowed that title upon Andrew Jackson Downing...

 and Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux , was an architect and landscape designer. He is best remembered as the co-designer , of New York's Central Park....

 won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan. Construction began the same year and was completed in 1873.

Designated a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 in 1963, the park is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the city government. The Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that contributes 85% of Central Park's $37.4 million dollar annual budget, and employs 80% of the park's maintenance staff.

Central Park today



Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, site, structure, object, or district, that is officially recognized by the United States government for its historical significance...

 since 1963, was designed by landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, social critic, public administrator, and landscape designer. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, although many scholars have bestowed that title upon Andrew Jackson Downing...

 and the English architect Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux , was an architect and landscape designer. He is best remembered as the co-designer , of New York's Central Park....

 in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

's Prospect Park
Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Prospect Park is a 585-acre public park in the New York City borough of Brooklyn located between Park Slope, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, Kensington, Windsor Terrace and Flatbush Avenue, Grand Army Plaza and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden...

.

Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street
110th Street (Manhattan)
110th Street is a street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It is commonly known as the boundary between Harlem and Central Park, along which it is known as Central Park North. In the west, it is also known as Cathedral Parkway....

, on the south by West 59th Street
59th Street (Manhattan)
59th Street in the New York City borough of Manhattan runs east-west, from York Avenue to the West Side Highway, with a discontinuity between Ninth Avenue/Columbus Avenue and Eighth Avenue/Central Park West for the Time Warner Center. Although it is bi-directional for most of its length, the...

, on the west by Eighth Avenue
Eighth Avenue (Manhattan)
Eighth Avenue is a north-south avenue on the West Side of Manhattan in New York City, carrying northbound traffic. Eighth Avenue begins in the West Village neighborhood at Abingdon Square and runs north for 44 blocks through Chelsea, the Garment District, Hell's Kitchen's east end, Midtown and the...

. Along the park's borders, these streets are known as Central Park North
Central Park North
Central Park North is a street in the borough of Manhattan, New York City; it is a section of West 110th Street. As the name implies, it lies at the northern end of Central Park. It is bounded by Central Park West on the west and Fifth Avenue on the east....

, Central Park South
Central Park South
Central Park South is the portion of 59th Street that forms the southern border of Central Park in the borough of Manhattan in New York City. It runs from Columbus Circle at Eighth Avenue on the west to Grand Army Plaza at Fifth Avenue on the east...

, and Central Park West respectively. Only Fifth Avenue
Fifth Avenue (Manhattan)
Fifth Avenue is a major thoroughfare in the center of the borough of Manhattan in New York City, New York, United States. The section of Fifth Avenue that crosses Midtown Manhattan, especially that between 49th Street and 60th Street, is lined with prestigious shops and is consistently ranked among...

 along the park's eastern border retains its name.

Visitors


The park, which receives approximately thirty-five million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park
Urban park
An urban park, is also known as a municipal park or a public park, public open space or municipal gardens , is a park in cities and other incorporated places to offer recreation and green space to residents of, and visitors to, the municipality...

 in the United States. It was opened on 770 acres (3.1 km²) of city-owned land and was expanded to 843 acre. It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. It is similar in size to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park
Golden Gate Park, located in San Francisco, California, is a large urban park consisting of of public grounds. Configured as a rectangle, it is similar in shape but 20% larger than Central Park in New York, to which it is often compared. It is over three miles long east to west, and about half a...

, Vancouver
Vancouver
Vancouver is a coastal seaport city on the mainland of British Columbia, Canada. It is the hub of Greater Vancouver, which, with over 2.3 million residents, is the third most populous metropolitan area in the country,...

's Stanley Park
Stanley Park
Stanley Park is a 404.9 hectare urban park bordering downtown Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. It was opened in 1888 by David Oppenheimer in the name of Lord Stanley of Preston, the Governor-General of Canada....

, and Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

's Englischer Garten.

Maintenance


The park is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organization that manages the park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
The City of New York Department of Parks & Recreation is the department of government of the City of New York responsible for maintaining the city's parks system, preserving and maintaining the ecological diversity of the city's natural areas, and furnishing recreational opportunities for city's...

, in which the president of the Conservancy is ex officio Administrator of Central Park.

Today, the conservancy employs four out of five maintenance and operations staff in the park. It effectively oversees the work of both the private and public employees under the authority of the Central Park administrator, (publicly appointed), who reports to the parks commissioner, conservancy's president. As of 2007, the conservancy had invested approximately $450 million in the restoration and management of the park; the organization presently contributes approximately 85% of Central Park’s annual operating budget of over $37 million.

The system was functioning so well that in 2006 the conservancy created the Historic Harlem Parks initiative, providing horticultural and maintenance support and mentoring in Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Marcus Garvey Park
Marcus Garvey Park
Marcus Garvey Park, or Mount Morris Park as it is referred to by the people in the neighborhood, is located in Harlem in the New York City borough of Manhattan. The park interrupts the flow of Fifth Avenue, which is routed around the park via Mount Morris Park West. The park is bounded by 120th...

.

Landscaping and facilities


While planting and land form in much of the park appear natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. The park contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds that have been created artificially, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks (one of which is a swimming pool
Swimming pool
A swimming pool, swimming bath, wading pool, or simply a pool, is a container filled with water intended for swimming or water-based recreation. There are many standard sizes; the largest is the Olympic-size swimming pool...

 in July and August), the Central Park Zoo
Central Park Zoo
The Central Park Zoo is a small zoo located in Central Park in New York City. It is part of an integrated system of four zoos and the New York Aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society , and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums .The zoo began in the 1860s as a...

, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary
The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary, Central Park
The Pond and Hallett Nature Sanctuary occupy the low-lying southeast corner of New York City's Central Park, opposite the Plaza Hotel and just feet from Fifth Avenue...

, a large area of natural woods, a 106 acres (42.9 ha) billion-gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater, the Delacorte Theater
Delacorte Theater
The Delacorte Theater, established in 1962, is an open-air theater located in Manhattan's Central Park and has a seating capacity of 1,800. The Delacorte is owned by the City of New York and operated by The Public Theater. It is an open-air amphitheater, with the Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle...

, which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in the Park is a concept used across the world, as a form of free public presentation of William Shakespeare's works. Such performances exist in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America....

" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle
Belvedere Castle is a building in Central Park in New York, New York, that contains exhibit rooms and an observation deck.-Early history:Built as a Victorian folly in 1869, the castle caps Vista Rock, the park's second-highest natural elevation Constructed of Manhattan schist quarried in the park...

 with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre was imported to the U.S. in 1876 as Sweden’s exhibit for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The Swedish architecture and craftsmanship of the structure, suggestive of a model schoolhouse, caught the eye of Frederick Law Olmsted, who brought it to...

, and the historic Carousel. In addition there are seven major lawns, the "meadows", and many minor grassy areas; some of them are used for informal or team sports and some set aside as quiet areas; there are a number of enclosed playground
Playground
A playground or play area is a place with a specific design for children be able to play there. It may be indoors but is typically outdoors...

s for children.

The six miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, especially when automobile traffic is prohibited, on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 pm.

The real estate value of Central Park was estimated by the property appraisal firm, Miller Samuel, to be $528,783,552,000 in December 2005.

Crime


As crime has declined in the park and in the rest of New York City, many former negative perceptions have waned. The park has its own New York City Police Department
New York City Police Department
The New York City Police Department , established in 1845, is currently the largest municipal police force in the United States, with primary responsibilities in law enforcement and investigation within the five boroughs of New York City...

 precinct (Central Park Precinct), which employs both regular police and auxiliary officers. In 2005, safety measures held the number of crimes in the park to fewer than one hundred per year (down from approximately 1,000 in the early 1980s). New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol
New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol
The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation maintains a specialized unit of full time and seasonal uniformed peace officers who enforce department rules and regulations, as well as New York State laws within the jurisdiction of New York City parks. Established in 1981, NYC Parks...

 also patrols Central Park.

1857–1900




Central Park was not a part of the Commissioners' Plan of 1811
Commissioners' Plan of 1811
The Commissioners' Plan of 1811 was the original design plan for the streets of Manhattan, which put in place the grid plan that has defined Manhattan to this day....

; however, between 1821 and 1855, New York City nearly quadrupled in population. As the city expanded, people were drawn to the few existing open spaces, mainly cemeteries, to get away from the noise and chaotic life in the city.

New York City's need for a great public park was voiced by the poet and editor of the Evening Post (now the New York Post
New York Post
The New York Post is the 13th-oldest newspaper published in the United States and is generally acknowledged as the oldest to have been published continuously as a daily, although – as is the case with most other papers – its publication has been periodically interrupted by labor actions...

), William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant
William Cullen Bryant was an American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post.-Youth and education:...

, and by the first American landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing
Andrew Jackson Downing
Andrew Jackson Downing was an American landscape designer, horticulturalist, and writer, a prominent advocate of the Gothic Revival style in the United States, and editor of The Horticulturist magazine...

, who began to publicize the city's need for a public park in 1844. A stylish place for open-air driving, similar to the Bois de Boulogne
Bois de Boulogne
The Bois de Boulogne is a park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine...

 in Paris or London's Hyde Park
Hyde Park, London
Hyde Park is one of the largest parks in central London, United Kingdom, and one of the Royal Parks of London, famous for its Speakers' Corner.The park is divided in two by the Serpentine...

, was felt to be needed by many influential New Yorkers, and, after an abortive attempt in 1850-51 to designate Jones's Wood
Jones's Wood
Jones's Wood was a block of farmland on the island of Manhattan overlooking the East River that has left some vestigial mark on the present-day Upper East Side of New York City. The farm of , known by its 19th-century owners as the "Louvre Farm", extended from the Old Boston Post Road to the river...

, in 1853 the New York legislature settled upon a 700 acres (283.3 ha) area from 59th to 106th Streets for the creation of the park, at a cost of more than US$
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

5 million for the land alone.

The state appointed a Central Park Commission to oversee the development of the park, and in 1857 the commission held a landscape design contest. Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted
Frederick Law Olmsted was an American journalist, social critic, public administrator, and landscape designer. He is popularly considered to be the father of American landscape architecture, although many scholars have bestowed that title upon Andrew Jackson Downing...

 and Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux
Calvert Vaux , was an architect and landscape designer. He is best remembered as the co-designer , of New York's Central Park....

 developed what came to be known as the Greensward Plan, which was selected as the winning design.

According to Olmsted, the park was "of great importance as the first real Park made in this century—a democratic development of the highest significance…," a view probably inspired by his stay and various trips in Europe during 1850. He visited several parks during these trips and was particularly impressed by Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park
Birkenhead Park is a public park in the centre of Birkenhead, on the Wirral Peninsula, England. It was designed by Joseph Paxton and opened on 5 April 1847...

 and Derby Arboretum
Derby Arboretum
Derby Arboretum is a public arboretum and park in the city of Derby in England. It was the first publicly owned, landscaped, urban, recreational park in England. It is located in the Rose Hill area, about a mile south of Derby city centre. After many years of neglect, the Arboretum has recently...

 in England.

Several influences came together in the design. Landscaped cemeteries, such as Mount Auburn
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Mount Auburn Cemetery was founded in 1831 as "America's first garden cemetery", or the first "rural cemetery", with classical monuments set in a rolling landscaped terrain...

 (Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Cambridge is a city in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States, in the Greater Boston area. It was named in honor of the University of Cambridge in England, an important center of the Puritan theology embraced by the town's founders. Cambridge is home to two of the world's most prominent...

) and Green-Wood
Green-Wood Cemetery
Green-Wood Cemetery was founded in 1838 as a rural cemetery in Brooklyn, Kings County , New York. It was granted National Historic Landmark status in 2006 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.-History:...

 (Brooklyn
Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

, New York) had set examples of idyllic, naturalistic landscapes. The most influential innovations in the Central Park design were the "separate circulation" systems for pedestrians, horseback riders, and pleasure vehicles. The "crosstown" commercial traffic was entirely concealed in sunken roadways, (today called "transverses"), screened with densely-planted shrub belts so as to maintain a rustic ambience.

The Greensward plan called for some 36 bridges, all designed by Vaux, ranging from rugged spans of Manhattan schist
Manhattan schist
The Manhattan schist is a formation of mica schist rock that underlies much of the island of Manhattan in New York City. It is well suited for the foundations of tall buildings, and the two large concentrations of skyscrapers on the island occur in locations where the formation is close to the...

 or granite
Granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

, to lacy neo-gothic cast iron; no two are alike. The ensemble of the formal line of the Mall
Central Park Mall
The Central Park Mall leading to the Bethesda Terrace provides the only purely formal feature in the naturalistic original plan of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux for Central Park, New York City. The Mall, designated the "Promenade" in Olmsted and Vaux's "Greensward" plan of 1857, was called...

's doubled allées of elms culminating at Bethesda Terrace, whose centerpiece is the Bethesda Fountain
Bethesda Fountain
Bethesda Terrace overlooks The Lake in New York City's Central Park. It is on two levels, united by two grand staircases and a lesser one that passes under Terrace Drive to provide passage southward to the Elkan Naumburg bandshell and The Mall, of which this is the architectural culmination, the...

, with a composed view beyond of lake and woodland, was at the heart of the larger design.

Execution of the Greensward Plan was the responsibility of a number of individuals, including Jacob Wrey Mould
Jacob Wrey Mould
Jacob Wrey Mould was an architect, illustrator, linguist and musician, noted for his contributions to the design and construction of New York City's Central Park...

 (architect), Ignaz Anton Pilat (master gardener), George Waring
George E. Waring, Jr.
George E. Waring, Jr. was an American sanitary engineer and civic reformer. He was an early American designer and advocate of sewer systems that keep domestic sewage separate from storm runoff....

 (engineer), and Andrew Haswell Green
Andrew Haswell Green
Andrew Haswell Green was a New York lawyer, city planner, civic leader and agitator for reform. Called by some historians a hundred years later "the 19th century Robert Moses," he held several offices and played important roles in many projects, including Riverside Drive, Morningside Park, Fort...

 (politician), in addition to Olmsted and Vaux.

Before the construction of the park could start, the area had to be cleared of its inhabitants, most of whom were quite poor and either free African Americans
Free people of color
A free person of color in the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, is a person of full or partial African descent who was not enslaved...

 or residents of English or Irish origin. Most of them lived in small villages, such as Seneca Village
Seneca Village
Seneca Village was a small village on the island of Manhattan, New York, founded by free blacks. Seneca Village existed from 1825 through 1857, when it was torn down due to the construction of Central Park....

, Harsenville, or the Piggery District; or else in the school and convent at Mount St. Vincent's Academy
College of Mount Saint Vincent
For the university in Halifax, Nova Scotia, see Mount Saint Vincent University The College of Mount Saint Vincent is a Catholic liberal arts college located in the northeast corner of the Riverdale section of The Bronx, New York, adjacent to the Yonkers border. It is the northernmost location in...

. Around 1,600 residents occupying the area at the time, were evicted under the rule of eminent domain
Eminent domain
Eminent domain , compulsory purchase , resumption/compulsory acquisition , or expropriation is an action of the state to seize a citizen's private property, expropriate property, or seize a citizen's rights in property with due monetary compensation, but without the owner's consent...

 during 1857. Seneca Village and parts of the other communities were razed to make room for the park.
During the construction of the park, Olmsted fought constant battles with the park commissioners, many of whom were appointees of the city's Democratic machine. In 1860, he was forced out for the first of many times as Central Park's superintendent, and Andrew Haswell Green
Andrew Haswell Green
Andrew Haswell Green was a New York lawyer, city planner, civic leader and agitator for reform. Called by some historians a hundred years later "the 19th century Robert Moses," he held several offices and played important roles in many projects, including Riverside Drive, Morningside Park, Fort...

, the former president of New York City's board of education took over as the chairman of the commission. Despite the fact that he had relatively little experience, he still managed to accelerate the construction, as well as to finalize the negotiations for the purchase of an additional 65 acres (263,045.9 m²) at the north end of the park, between 106th and 110th Streets, which would be used as the "rugged" part of the park, its swampy northeast corner dredged, and reconstructed as the Harlem Meer
Harlem Meer, Central Park
Harlem Meer occupies the northeast corner of New York City's Central Park, in a section of park that was added to the original site, which had originally ended at 106th Street...

.

Between 1860 and 1873, most of the major hurdles to construction were overcome, and the park was substantially completed. Construction combined the modern with the ageless: up-to-date steam-powered equipment and custom-designed wheeled tree moving machines augmented massive numbers of unskilled laborers wielding shovels. The work was extensively documented with technical drawings and photographs. During this period, more than 18,500 cubic yards (14,000 m³) of topsoil had been transported in from New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, because the original soil was not fertile or substantial enough to sustain the various trees, shrubs, and plants called for by the Greensward Plan. When the park was officially completed in 1873, more than ten million cartloads of material had been transported out of the park, including soil and rocks. More than four million trees, shrubs and plants representing approximately 1,500 species were transplanted to the park.

More gunpowder was used to clear the area than was used at the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.

Sheep grazed on the Sheep Meadow from the 1860s until 1934, when they were moved upstate as it was feared they would be used for food by impoverished Depression-era New Yorkers.

1900–1960



Following completion, the park quickly slipped into decline. One of the main reasons for this was the lack of interest of the Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall
Tammany Hall, also known as the Society of St. Tammany, the Sons of St. Tammany, or the Columbian Order, was a New York political organization founded in 1786 and incorporated on May 12, 1789 as the Tammany Society...

 political machine
Political machine
A political machine is a political organization in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters and businesses , who receive rewards for their efforts...

, which was the largest political force in New York at the time.

Around the turn of the 20th century, the park faced several new challenges. Cars were becoming commonplace, bringing with them their burden of pollution, and people's attitudes were beginning to change. No longer were parks to be used only for walks and picnics in an idyllic environment, but now also for sports, and similar recreation. Following the dissolution of the Central Park Commission in 1870 and Andrew Green's departure from the project, and the death of Vaux in 1895, the maintenance effort gradually declined, and there were few, if any, attempts to replace dead trees, bushes and plants, or worn-out lawn. For several decades, authorities did little or nothing to prevent vandalism and the littering of the park.

All of this changed in 1934, when Republican Fiorello La Guardia was elected mayor of New York City and unified the five park-related departments then in existence. Robert Moses
Robert Moses
Robert Moses was the "master builder" of mid-20th century New York City, Long Island, Rockland County, and Westchester County, New York. As the shaper of a modern city, he is sometimes compared to Baron Haussmann of Second Empire Paris, and is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of...

 was given the task of cleaning up the park. Moses, about to become one of the mightiest men in New York City, took over what was essentially, a relic, a leftover from a bygone era.

According to historian Robert Caro
Robert Caro
Robert Allan Caro is an American journalist and author known for his celebrated biographies of United States political figures Robert Moses and Lyndon B. Johnson...

 in his 1974 book The Power Broker
The Power Broker
The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York is a Pulitzer Prize-winning 1974 biography of Robert Moses, "New York City's Master Builder", by Robert Caro...

:
Lawns, unseeded, were expanses of bare earth, decorated with scraggly patches of grass and weeds, that became dust holes in dry weather and mud holes in wet…. The once beautiful Mall looked like a scene of a wild party the morning after. Benches lay on their backs, their legs jabbing at the sky...


In a single year, Moses managed to clean up Central Park and other parks in New York City. Lawns and flowers were replanted, dead trees and bushes were replaced, walls were sandblasted, and bridges repaired. Major redesigning and construction also was carried out: for instance, the Croton Lower Reservoir was filled in so the Great Lawn
Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park
The Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park, are inseparable features of New York City's Central Park.-History:The lawn and pond occupy the almost flat site of the rectangular, thirty-five-acre Lower Reservoir constructed in 1842, which was an unalterable fixture of the location of Central Park as...

 could be created. The Greensward Plan's purpose of creating an idyllic landscape was combined with Moses' vision of a park to be used for recreational purposes—19 playgrounds, 12 ball fields, and handball courts were constructed. Moses also managed to secure funds from the New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 program, as well as donations from the public.

1960–1980



The 1960s marked the beginning of an “Events Era” in Central Park that reflected the widespread cultural and political trends of the period. The Public Theater
Public Theater
The Public Theater is a New York City arts organization founded as The Shakespeare Workshop in 1954 by Joseph Papp, with the intention of showcasing the works of up-and-coming playwrights and performers. It is headquartered at 425 Lafayette Street in the former Astor Library in the East Village...

's annual Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in the Park
Shakespeare in the Park is a concept used across the world, as a form of free public presentation of William Shakespeare's works. Such performances exist in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America....

 festival was settled in the Delacorte Theater
Delacorte Theater
The Delacorte Theater, established in 1962, is an open-air theater located in Manhattan's Central Park and has a seating capacity of 1,800. The Delacorte is owned by the City of New York and operated by The Public Theater. It is an open-air amphitheater, with the Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle...

 (1961), and summer performances were instituted on the Sheep Meadow, and then on the Great Lawn by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera
Metropolitan Opera
The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company, located in New York City. Originally founded in 1880, the company gave its first performance on October 22, 1883. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager...

. Increasingly through the 1970s, the park became a venue for events of unprecedented scale, including political rallies and demonstrations, festivals, and massive concerts.

New York City was experiencing economic and social upheaval. Residents were fleeing the city and moving to the suburbs. Morale was low, and crime was high. The Parks Department, suffering from budget cuts and a lack of skilled management that rendered its workforce virtually ineffective, responded by opening the park to any and all activities that would bring people into it—regardless of their impact and without adequate management, oversight, or maintenance follow-up. Some of these events became important milestones in the social history of the park and the cultural history of the city.

By the mid-1970s, New York’s fiscal and social malaise had contributed to severe managerial neglect. "Years of poor management and inadequate maintenance had turned a masterpiece of landscape architecture into a virtual dustbowl by day and a danger zone by night," said the conservancy president. Time had hastened the deterioration of its infrastructure and architecture, and ushered in an era of vandalism, territorial use (as when a pick-up game of softball or soccer commandeered open space to the exclusion of others), and illicit activities.

Several citizen groups had emerged, intent upon reclaiming the park by fund raising and organizing volunteer initiatives. One of these groups, the Central Park Community Fund, commissioned a study of the park’s management. The study's conclusion was bi-linear;
  • It called for the establishment of a single position within the parks department, responsible for overseeing both the planning and management of Central Park and
  • for a board of guardians to provide citizen oversight.


In 1979 Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis established the Office of Central Park Administrator, appointing to the position the executive director of another citizen organization, the Central Park Task Force. The Central Park Conservancy was founded the following year, to support the office and initiatives of the administrator and to provide consistent leadership through a self-perpetuating, citizen-based board that also would include as ex-officio trustees, the parks commissioner, Central Park Administrator, and mayoral appointees.

1980–2000



Under the leadership of the Central Park Conservancy, the park's reclamation began with modest, but highly significant first steps, addressing needs that could not be met within the existing structure and resources of the parks department. Interns were hired, and a small restoration staff to reconstruct and repair unique rustic features, undertaking horticultural projects, and removing graffiti under the broken windows premise
Fixing Broken Windows
The broken windows theory is a criminological theory of the norm setting and signaling effect of urban disorder and vandalism on additional crime and anti-social behavior...

. Currently, "Graffiti doesn't last 24 hours in the park," according to Conservancy president Douglas Blonsky.

By the early 1980s the Conservancy was engaged in design efforts and long-term restoration planning, using both its own staff and external consultants. It provided the impetus and leadership for several early restoration projects funded by the city, preparing a comprehensive plan for rebuilding the park. On completion of the planning stage in 1985, the conservancy launched its first "capital" campaign, assuming increasing responsibility for funding the park's restoration, and full responsibility for designing, bidding, and supervising all capital projects in the park.

The restoration was accompanied by a crucial restructuring of management, whereby the park was subdivided into zones, to each of which a supervisor was designated, responsible for maintaining restored areas. Citywide budget cuts in the early 1990s, however, resulted in attrition of the park's routine maintenance staff, and the conservancy began hiring staff to replace these workers. Management of the restored landscapes by the conservancy’s "zone gardeners" proved so successful that core maintenance and operations staff were reorganized in 1996. The zone-based system of management was implemented throughout the park, which was divided into forty-nine zones. Consequently, every zone of the park has a specific individual accountable for its day-to-day maintenance. Zone gardeners supervise volunteers assigned to them, (who commit to a consistent work schedule) and are supported by specialized crews in areas of maintenance requiring specific expertise or equipment, or more effectively conducted on a park-wide basis.

Activities


  • Birding: A wooded section of the park called "The Ramble
    The Ramble and Lake, Central Park
    The Ramble and Lake in Central Park together form an inseparable central feature of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's "Greensward" plan to provide a Central Park for New York City...

    " is popular among birders. Many species of woodland birds, especially warblers, may be seen in The Ramble in Spring and Fall.
  • Boating: Rowboats and kayaks are rented on an hourly basis at the Loeb Boathouse, which also houses a restaurant overlooking the Lake. As early as 1922, model power boating was popular on park waters.
  • Carriage horses: the carriage
    Carriage
    A carriage is a wheeled vehicle for people, usually horse-drawn; litters and sedan chairs are excluded, since they are wheelless vehicles. The carriage is especially designed for private passenger use and for comfort or elegance, though some are also used to transport goods. It may be light,...

     horse industry, revived in New York City in 1935, has been featured in various films; the first female carriage driver, Maggie Cogan
    Maggie Cogan
    Maggie Cogan is a resident of New York City who became a minor celebrity in the early 1960s when she was the first female horse and carriage driver in Central Park, working for the Plaza Hotel...

    , appeared in a newsreel
    Newsreel
    A newsreel was a form of short documentary film prevalent in the first half of the 20th century, regularly released in a public presentation place and containing filmed news stories and items of topical interest. It was a source of news, current affairs and entertainment for millions of moviegoers...

     in 1967. The ethics of this tradition and the effects on horse health and well being have been questioned by various animal rights activists.
  • Pedicabs: Pedicabs operate mostly in the southern part of the park, the same part as horse carriages.
  • Sports: Park Drive, just over 6 miles (9.7 km) long, is a haven for runners, joggers, bicyclists, and inline skaters. Most weekends, races take place in the park, many of which are organized by the New York Road Runners
    New York Road Runners
    New York Road Runners , founded in 1958 with 47 members, has grown into the foremost running organization, with a membership of 40,000. NYRR conducts more than 100 events each year, including races, classes, clinics, and lectures...

    . The New York City Marathon
    New York City Marathon
    The New York City Marathon is a major annual marathon that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 45,103 finishers in 2010...

     finishes in Central Park outside Tavern on the Green
    Tavern on the Green
    Tavern on the Green was a privately owned American cuisine restaurant located in Central Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in New York City. It remained in operation from 1934 to 2009 under various owners...

    . Many other professional races are run in the park, including the recent, (2008), USA Men's 8k Championships. Baseball field
    Baseball field
    A baseball field, also called a ball field or a baseball diamond, is the field upon which the game of baseball is played. The terms "baseball field" and "ball field" are also often used as synonyms for ballpark.-Specifications:...

    s are numerous, and there are also courts for volleyball
    Volleyball
    Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

    , tennis
    Tennis
    Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

    , and lawn bowling.
    • Rock Climbing: Central Park's glaciated rock outcroppings attract climbers, especially boulderers
      Bouldering
      Bouldering is a style of rock climbing undertaken without a rope and normally limited to very short climbs over a crash pad so that a fall will not result in serious injury. It is typically practiced on large natural boulders or artificial boulders in gyms and outdoor urban areas...

      ; Manhattan's bedrock
      Bedrock
      In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

      , a glaciated schist
      Schist
      The schists constitute a group of medium-grade metamorphic rocks, chiefly notable for the preponderance of lamellar minerals such as micas, chlorite, talc, hornblende, graphite, and others. Quartz often occurs in drawn-out grains to such an extent that a particular form called quartz schist is...

      , protrudes from the ground frequently and considerably in some parts of Central Park. The two most renowned spots for boulderers are Rat Rock
      Rat Rock
      Rat Rock is a rock formation of a schist boulder protruding from the Central Park bedrock in Manhattan. It is named after the rats that used to swarm there at night but it is also known as Umpire Rock. It is near the southwest corner of the park, north of the Heckscher Ballfields on the lines of...

       and Cat Rock; others include Dog Rock, Duck Rock, Rock N' Roll Rock, and Beaver Rock, near the south end of the park.
    • Ice Skating: Central Park has two ice skating rinks, Wollman Rink
      Wollman Rink
      Wollman Skating Rink is a public ice rink in the southern part of Central Park, Manhattan, New York City. The rink was opened in 1949 with funds donated by Kate Wollman who donated $600,000 for the rink to commemorate her entire family from Leavenworth, Kansas)...

       and Lasker Rink, which converts to an outdoor swimming pool in summer.


  • Central Park Carousel: the current carousel, installed in 1951, is one of the largest merry-go-rounds in the United States. The fifty-eight hand-carved horses and two chariots were made by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein in 1908. The carousel originally was installed in Coney Island
    Coney Island
    Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn, New York, United States. The site was formerly an outer barrier island, but became partially connected to the mainland by landfill....

     in Brooklyn.

  • Playgrounds: Central Park has twenty-one playgrounds for children located throughout the park, the largest, at 3 acres (12,140.6 m²), is Heckscher Playground named for August Heckscher
    August Heckscher
    -Biography:Born in Hamburg, Germany, Heckscher emigrated to the United States in 1867. He initially worked in his cousin Richard Heckscher's coal mining operation as a laborer, studying English at night. Several years later he formed a partnership with his cousin under the name of Richard Heckscher...

    .

  • Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
    Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre
    The Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre was imported to the U.S. in 1876 as Sweden’s exhibit for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. The Swedish architecture and craftsmanship of the structure, suggestive of a model schoolhouse, caught the eye of Frederick Law Olmsted, who brought it to...

    : located in the Swedish Cottage. The building was originally a model schoolhouse built in Sweden. Made of native pine and cedar, it was disassembled and rebuilt in the U.S. as Sweden's exhibit for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Frederick Law Olmsted moved the cottage to its present site in 1877.

  • Central Park Zoo
    Central Park Zoo
    The Central Park Zoo is a small zoo located in Central Park in New York City. It is part of an integrated system of four zoos and the New York Aquarium managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society , and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums .The zoo began in the 1860s as a...

    : The Central Park Zoo is one of four zoos, and one aquarium, managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society
    Wildlife Conservation Society
    The Wildlife Conservation Society based at the Bronx Zoo was founded in 1895 as the New York Zoological Society and currently manages some of wild places around the world, with over 500 field conservation projects in 60 countries, and 200 scientists on staff...

     (WCS), and is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums
    Association of Zoos and Aquariums
    The Association of Zoos and Aquariums was founded in 1924 and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and public aquariums in the areas of conservation, education, science, and recreation.The AZA headquarters is located in Silver...

     (AZA). The zoo is home to an indoor rainforest
    Rainforest
    Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

    , a leafcutter ant
    Leafcutter ant
    Leafcutter ants, a non-generic name, are any of 47 species of leaf-chewing ants belonging to the two genera Atta and Acromyrmex.These species of tropical, fungus-growing ants are all endemic to South, Central America, Mexico and parts of the southern United States.The Acromyrmex and Atta ants have...

     colony, a chilled penguin house, and a Polar Bear
    Polar Bear
    The polar bear is a bear native largely within the Arctic Circle encompassing the Arctic Ocean, its surrounding seas and surrounding land masses. It is the world's largest land carnivore and also the largest bear, together with the omnivorous Kodiak Bear, which is approximately the same size...

     pool.


  • Entertainment
    • Each summer, the Public Theater
      Public Theater
      The Public Theater is a New York City arts organization founded as The Shakespeare Workshop in 1954 by Joseph Papp, with the intention of showcasing the works of up-and-coming playwrights and performers. It is headquartered at 425 Lafayette Street in the former Astor Library in the East Village...

       presents free open-air theatre productions, often starring well-known stage and screen actors. The Delacorte Theater
      Delacorte Theater
      The Delacorte Theater, established in 1962, is an open-air theater located in Manhattan's Central Park and has a seating capacity of 1,800. The Delacorte is owned by the City of New York and operated by The Public Theater. It is an open-air amphitheater, with the Turtle Pond and Belvedere Castle...

       is the summer performing venue of the New York Shakespeare Festival
      New York Shakespeare Festival
      New York Shakespeare Festival is the previous name of the New York City theatrical producing organization now known as the Public Theater. The Festival produced shows at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, as part of its free Shakespeare in the Park series, at the Public Theatre near Astor Place...

      . Most, although not all, of the plays presented are by William Shakespeare
      William Shakespeare
      William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

      , and the performances are generally regarded as being of high quality since its founding by Joseph Papp
      Joseph Papp
      Joseph Papp was an American theatrical producer and director. Papp established The Public Theater in what had been the Astor Library Building in downtown New York . "The Public," as it is known, has many small theatres within it...

       in 1962.
    • The New York Philharmonic
      New York Philharmonic
      The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

       gives an open-air concert every summer on the Great Lawn, and the Metropolitan Opera
      Metropolitan Opera
      The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company, located in New York City. Originally founded in 1880, the company gave its first performance on October 22, 1883. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager...

       presents two operas. Many concerts have been given in the park including Barbra Streisand
      Barbra Streisand
      Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

      , 1967; The Supremes
      The Supremes
      The Supremes, an American female singing group, were the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s.Originally founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959, The Supremes' repertoire included doo-wop, pop, soul, Broadway show tunes, psychedelic soul, and disco...

      , 1970; Carole King
      Carole King
      Carole King is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. King and her former husband Gerry Goffin wrote more than two dozen chart hits for numerous artists during the 1960s, many of which have become standards. As a singer, King had an album, Tapestry, top the U.S...

      , 1973; Bob Marley & The Wailers
      Bob Marley & The Wailers
      Bob Marley & The Wailers were a Jamaican reggae, ska and rocksteady band formed by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in 1963. Additional members were Junior Braithwaite, Beverley Kelso, Cherry Smith and Aston and Carlton Barrett...

      , 1975; Elton John
      Elton John
      Sir Elton Hercules John, CBE, Hon DMus is an English rock singer-songwriter, composer, pianist and occasional actor...

      , 1980; the Simon and Garfunkel reunion, 1981; Diana Ross
      Diana Ross
      Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, record producer, and actress. Ross was lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that included successful ventures into film and Broadway...

      , 1983; Garth Brooks
      Garth Brooks
      Troyal Garth Brooks , best known as Garth Brooks, is an American country music artist who helped make country music a worldwide phenomenon. His eponymous first album was released in 1989 and peaked at number 2 in the US country album chart while climbing to number 13 on the Billboard 200 album chart...

      , 1997; the Dave Matthews Band, 2003; Bon Jovi
      Bon Jovi
      Bon Jovi is an American rock band from Sayreville, New Jersey. Formed in 1983, Bon Jovi consists of lead singer and namesake Jon Bon Jovi , guitarist Richie Sambora, keyboardist David Bryan, drummer Tico Torres, as well as current bassist Hugh McDonald...

      , 2008; and Andrea Bocelli
      Andrea Bocelli
      Andrea Bocelli, is an Italian tenor, multi-instrumentalist and classical crossover artist. Born with poor eyesight, he became blind at the age of twelve following a soccer accident....

      , 2011. Since 1992, local singer-songwriter
      Singer-songwriter
      Singer-songwriters are musicians who write, compose and sing their own musical material including lyrics and melodies. As opposed to contemporary popular music singers who write their own songs, the term singer-songwriter describes a distinct form of artistry, closely associated with the...

       David Ippolito
      David Ippolito
      David Ippolito is an American singer/songwriter/playwright who lives in New York City. He has self-released eight albums and is best known for his weekly summer performances in Central Park, which are attended by thousands of people...

       has performed almost every summer weekend to large crowds of passers-by and regulars and has become a New York icon, often simply referred to as "That guitar man from Central Park." In the summer of 1985, Bruce Springsteen
      Bruce Springsteen
      Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen , nicknamed "The Boss," is an American singer-songwriter who records and tours with the E Street Band...

       planned to hold a free outdoor concert on the Great Lawn; however, the idea was scrapped when it was purported that any free show held by Springsteen would bring an estimated 1.3 million people, crippling the park and the nearby neighborhoods.
    • Each summer, City Parks Foundation
      City Parks Foundation
      City Parks Foundation is the only independent, nonprofit organization to offer programs in parks throughout the five boroughs of New York City...

       offers Central Park Summerstage
      Summerstage
      SummerStage is an annual, free performing arts summer festival founded in 1986 which takes place at Rumsey Playfield in New York City's Central Park and, since 2010, in parks throughout the five boroughs of New York. In 1994, SummerStage was transferred to the City Parks Foundation, where it has...

      , a series of free performances including music, dance, spoken word, and film presentations. SummerStage celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary in 2010. Throughout its history Summerstage has welcomed emerging artists and world renowned artists, including Celia Cruz
      Celia Cruz
      Celia Cruz was a Cuban-American salsa singer, and was one of the most successful Salsa performers of the 20th century, having earned twenty-three gold albums...

      , David Byrne
      David Byrne (musician)
      David Byrne is a musician and artist, best known as a founding member and principal songwriter of the American new wave band Talking Heads, which was active between 1975 and 1991. Since then, Byrne has released his own solo recordings and worked with various media including film, photography,...

      , Curtis Mayfield
      Curtis Mayfield
      Curtis Lee Mayfield was an American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer.He is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly...

      , Ladysmith Black Mambazo
      Ladysmith Black Mambazo
      Ladysmith Black Mambazo is a male choral group from South Africa that sings in the vocal styles of isicathamiya and mbube. They rose to worldwide prominence as a result of singing with Paul Simon on his album, Graceland and have won multiple awards, including three Grammy Awards...

      , George Clinton
      George Clinton (funk musician)
      George Clinton is an American singer, songwriter, bandleader, and music producer and the principal architect of P-Funk. He was the mastermind of the bands Parliament and Funkadelic during the 1970s and early 1980s, and launched a solo career in 1981. He has been cited as one of the foremost...

       and the P-Funk
      P-Funk
      P-Funk is a shorthand term for the repertoire and performers associated with George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic collective and the distinctive style of funk music they performed...

       All Stars, and Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer winner Toni Morrison
      Toni Morrison
      Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved...

      , Femi Kuti
      Femi Kuti
      Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti popularly known as Femi Kuti, is a Nigerian musician and the eldest son of afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti....

      , Seun Kuti
      Seun Kuti
      Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti , commonly known as Seun Kuti, is a Nigerian musician, and the youngest son of legendary afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Seun leads his father's former band Egypt 80....

      , Pulitzer winner Junot Diaz
      Junot Díaz
      Junot Díaz is a Dominican-American writer and creative writing professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology . Central to Díaz's work is the immigrant experience...

      , Vampire Weekend
      Vampire Weekend
      Vampire Weekend is an American indie rock band from New York City that formed in 2006 and signed to XL Recordings. The Band has four members: Ezra Koenig, Rostam Batmanglij, Chris Tomson, and Chris Baio. The band released its first album Vampire Weekend in 2008, which produced the singles "Mansard...

      , Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company, and many more.
    • With the revival of the city and the park in the new century, Central Park has given birth to arts groups dedicated to performing in the park, notably Central Park Brass
      Central Park Brass
      Central Park Brass is a performing Quintet formed in 2002 to play an annual series of brass chamber music concerts in New York City’s Central Park....

      , which performs an annual concert series and the New York Classical Theatre
      New York Classical Theatre
      New York Classical Theatre, founded in 2000, performs plays every season throughout New York City’s Central Park , Battery Park and historic Castle Clinton , the World Financial Center and Governors Island and Fort Jay...

      , which produces an annual series of plays.

Central Park was home to the famed New York City restaurant Tavern on the Green
Tavern on the Green
Tavern on the Green was a privately owned American cuisine restaurant located in Central Park on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, in New York City. It remained in operation from 1934 to 2009 under various owners...

 which was located on the park's grounds at Central Park West
Central Park West
Central Park West is an avenue that runs north-south in the New York City borough of Manhattan, in the United States....

 and West 67th Street. Tavern on the Green had its last seating on December 31, 2009 before closing its doors.

Central Park was home to the largest concert ever on record. Country Superstar Garth Brooks performed a free concert in August 1997. About 980,000 attended the event, according to the FDNY.

Art



  • Sculpture: A total of twenty-nine sculptures by sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens
    Augustus Saint-Gaudens
    Augustus Saint-Gaudens was the Irish-born American sculptor of the Beaux-Arts generation who most embodied the ideals of the "American Renaissance"...

    , John Quincy Adams Ward
    John Quincy Adams Ward
    John Quincy Adams Ward was an American sculptor, who is most familiar for his over-lifesize standing statue of George Washington on the steps of Federal Hall on Wall Street.-Early years:...

    , and Emma Stebbins
    Emma Stebbins
    Emma Stebbins was among the first notable American woman sculptors.- Career :Born and raised in a wealthy New York family, Stebbins was encouraged by her family in her pursuit of art from an early age. In 1857, sponsored by her brother Col. Henry G...

    , have been erected over the years, most have been donated by individuals or organizations. Much of the first statuary placed was of authors and poets, in an area now known as Literary Walk. Some of the sculptures are:
    • "Angel of the Waters" at Bethesda Terrace by Emma Stebbins
      Emma Stebbins
      Emma Stebbins was among the first notable American woman sculptors.- Career :Born and raised in a wealthy New York family, Stebbins was encouraged by her family in her pursuit of art from an early age. In 1857, sponsored by her brother Col. Henry G...

       (1873), was the first large public sculpture commission for an American woman
    • Balto
      Balto
      Balto was a Siberian Husky sled dog who led his team on the final leg of the 1925 serum run to Nome, in which diphtheria antitoxin was transported from Anchorage, Alaska, to Nenana, Alaska, by train and then to Nome by dog sled to combat an outbreak of the disease. The run is commemorated by the...

      : a 1925 statue of the sled dog who became famous during the 1925 serum run to Nome
      1925 serum run to Nome
      During the 1925 serum run to Nome, also known as the "Great Race of Mercy," 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs relayed diphtheria antitoxin by dog sled across the U.S. territory of Alaska in a record-breaking five and a half days, saving the small city of Nome and the surrounding communities from...

    • King Jagiello bronze monument on the east end of Turtle Pond
      Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park
      The Great Lawn and Turtle Pond, Central Park, are inseparable features of New York City's Central Park.-History:The lawn and pond occupy the almost flat site of the rectangular, thirty-five-acre Lower Reservoir constructed in 1842, which was an unalterable fixture of the location of Central Park as...

    • Alice in Wonderland
      Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
      Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

    • Duke Ellington
      Duke Ellington
      Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and big band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions...

      : created by sculptor Robert Graham
      Robert Graham (sculptor)
      Robert Graham was a sculptor based in the state of California in the United States. His monumental bronzes commemorate the human figure and are featured in public places across America.-Biography:...

       was dedicated in 1997 near Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, in the Duke Ellington Circle

  • Cleopatra's Needle
    Cleopatra's Needle
    Cleopatra's Needle is the popular name for each of three Ancient Egyptian obelisks re-erected in London, Paris, and New York City during the nineteenth century. The London and New York ones are a pair, while the Paris one comes from a different original site where its twin remains...

    ; is a red granite
    Granite
    Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

     obelisk
    Obelisk
    An obelisk is a tall, four-sided, narrow tapering monument which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top, and is said to resemble a petrified ray of the sun-disk. A pair of obelisks usually stood in front of a pylon...

    . The "Cleopatra's Needle" in Central Park is one of three; there also is one in Paris and one in London, which is one of a pair with the New York obelisk. Each obelisk is approximately 68–69 feet tall and weigh about 180 tons. They originally were erected at the Temple of Ra, in Heliopolis
    Heliopolis (ancient)
    Heliopolis was one of the oldest cities of ancient Egypt, the capital of the 13th Lower Egyptian nome that was located five miles east of the Nile to the north of the apex of the Nile Delta...

    , in Ancient Egypt around 1450 B.C. by pharaoh Thutmose III
    Thutmose III
    Thutmose III was the sixth Pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty. During the first twenty-two years of Thutmose's reign he was co-regent with his stepmother, Hatshepsut, who was named the pharaoh...

    . The hieroglyphs
    Hieroglyphs
    Hieroglyph or hieroglyphics may refer to:*Anatolian hieroglyphs*Chinese character*Cretan hieroglyphs*Cursive hieroglyphs*Dongba script*Egyptian hieroglyphs*Hieroglyphic Luwian*Mayan hieroglyphs...

     were inscribed about two hundred years later by pharaoh Rameses II to glorify his military victories. The obelisks were all moved during the reign of Roman emperor Augustus Caesar when Ancient Egypt was under the control of Rome. They were brought to Alexandria
    Alexandria
    Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

     and erected as tribute to Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

    , in front of the Caesarium, a temple originally built by Cleopatra VII of Egypt in honor of Mark Antony
    Mark Antony
    Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

    , thus the name "Cleopatra's Needle. There are two versions of how the Central Park Cleopatra's Needle made its way to Central Park: either it was a gift from the Khedive of Egypt, Isma'il Pasha
    Isma'il Pasha
    Isma'il Pasha , known as Ismail the Magnificent , was the Khedive of Egypt and Sudan from 1863 to 1879, when he was removed at the behest of the United Kingdom...

    , or it was stolen through the machinations of William H. Vanderbilt who paid the tab to have the obelisk shipped to New York and erected. The obelisk arrived in New York in July 1880; it took thirty-two horses hitched in sixteen pairs to pull the obelisk to the park. It was erected in an official ceremony on January 22, 1881.

  • Strawberry Fields: On October 9, 1985, on what would have been John Lennon
    John Lennon
    John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

    's 45th birthday, New York City dedicated 2.5 acres to his memory. Countries from all around the world contributed trees and Italy donated the iconic Imagine mosiac. It has since become the sight of impromptu memorial gatherings for other notables and, in the days following the September 11, 2001 attacks
    September 11, 2001 attacks
    The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

    , candlelight vigils

  • The Gates
    The Gates
    The Gates was a site-specific work of art by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. The artists installed 7,503 vinyl "gates" along 23 miles of pathways in Central Park in New York City. From each gate hung a panel of deep saffron-colored nylon fabric...

    : For sixteen days in 2005 (February 12–27), Central Park was the setting for Christo and Jeanne-Claude
    Christo and Jeanne-Claude
    Christo and Jeanne-Claude were a married couple who created environmental works of art...

    's installation The Gates. Although the project was the subject of very mixed reactions (and it took many years for Christo and Jeanne-Claude to get the necessary approvals), it was nevertheless a major, if temporary, draw for the park.

Geology



There are four different types of bedrock
Bedrock
In stratigraphy, bedrock is the native consolidated rock underlying the surface of a terrestrial planet, usually the Earth. Above the bedrock is usually an area of broken and weathered unconsolidated rock in the basal subsoil...

 in Manhattan, two are exposed in various outcroppings in Central Park, Manhattan schist
Manhattan schist
The Manhattan schist is a formation of mica schist rock that underlies much of the island of Manhattan in New York City. It is well suited for the foundations of tall buildings, and the two large concentrations of skyscrapers on the island occur in locations where the formation is close to the...

 and Hartland schist (both are metamorphosed sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock
Sedimentary rock are types of rock that are formed by the deposition of material at the Earth's surface and within bodies of water. Sedimentation is the collective name for processes that cause mineral and/or organic particles to settle and accumulate or minerals to precipitate from a solution....

); Fordham gneiss
Gneiss
Gneiss is a common and widely distributed type of rock formed by high-grade regional metamorphic processes from pre-existing formations that were originally either igneous or sedimentary rocks.-Etymology:...

, an older deeper layer which does not surface in the park and Inwood marble
Marble
Marble is a metamorphic rock composed of recrystallized carbonate minerals, most commonly calcite or dolomite.Geologists use the term "marble" to refer to metamorphosed limestone; however stonemasons use the term more broadly to encompass unmetamorphosed limestone.Marble is commonly used for...

 (metamorphosed limestone
Limestone
Limestone is a sedimentary rock composed largely of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different crystal forms of calcium carbonate . Many limestones are composed from skeletal fragments of marine organisms such as coral or foraminifera....

) which overlays the gneiss are the others.

Fordham gneiss, which consists of metamorphosed igneous rock
Igneous rock
Igneous rock is one of the three main rock types, the others being sedimentary and metamorphic rock. Igneous rock is formed through the cooling and solidification of magma or lava...

s, was formed a billion years ago, during what is known as the Grenville orogeny
Grenville orogeny
The Grenville Orogeny was a long-lived Mesoproterozoic mountain-building event associated with the assembly of the supercontinent Rodinia. Its record is a prominent orogenic belt which spans a significant portion of the North American continent, from Labrador to Mexico, as well as to Scotland...

 that occurred during the creation of an ancient super-continent. It is the oldest rock in the Canadian Shield
Canadian Shield
The Canadian Shield, also called the Laurentian Plateau, or Bouclier Canadien , is a vast geological shield covered by a thin layer of soil that forms the nucleus of the North American or Laurentia craton. It is an area mostly composed of igneous rock which relates to its long volcanic history...

, the most ancient part of the North American tectonic plate.

Manhattan schist and Hartland schist were formed in the Iapetus Ocean
Iapetus Ocean
The Iapetus Ocean was an ocean that existed in the Neoproterozoic and Paleozoic eras of the geologic timescale . The Iapetus Ocean was situated in the southern hemisphere, between the paleocontinents of Laurentia, Baltica and Avalonia...

 during the Taconic orogeny
Taconic orogeny
The Taconic orogeny was a mountain building period that ended 440 million years ago and affected most of modern-day New England. A great mountain chain formed from eastern Canada down through what is now the Piedmont of the East coast of the United States...

 in the Paleozoic era, about 450 million years ago. During this period the tectonic plates began to move toward each other, which resulted in the creation of the supercontinent, Pangaea
Pangaea
Pangaea, Pangæa, or Pangea is hypothesized as a supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic eras about 250 million years ago, before the component continents were separated into their current configuration....

.

Cameron's Line
Cameron's Line
Cameron's Line is a Ordovician suture fault in the northeast United States which formed as part of the continental collision known as the Taconic orogeny around 450 mya. Named after Eugene N. Cameron, who first described it in the 1950s, it ties together the North American continental craton, the...

 is a fault zone that traverses Central Park on an east-west axis.

Various glaciers have covered the area of Central Park in the past, with the most recent being the Wisconsin glacier
Wisconsinan glaciation
The Wisconsin Glacial Episode was the most recent major advance of the North American Laurentide ice sheet. Globally, this advance is known as the last glacial period. The Wisconsin glaciation extended from approximately 110,000 to 10,000 years ago, between the Eemian interglacial and the current...

 which receded about 12,000 years ago. Evidence of past glaciers are visible throughout the park in the form of glacial erratics (large boulders dropped by the receding glacier) and north-south glacial striations visible on stone outcroppings.

Flora



Central Park, home to over 25,000 trees, has a stand of 1,700 American Elm
American Elm
Ulmus americana, generally known as the American Elm or, less commonly, as the White Elm or Water Elm, is a species native to eastern North America, occurring from Nova Scotia west to Alberta and Montana, and south to Florida and central Texas. The American elm is an extremely hardy tree that can...

s, one of the largest remaining stands of in the northeastern U.S., protected by their isolation from Dutch Elm Disease
Dutch elm disease
Dutch elm disease is a disease caused by a member of the sac fungi category, affecting elm trees which is spread by the elm bark beetle. Although believed to be originally native to Asia, the disease has been accidentally introduced into America and Europe, where it has devastated native...

 which devastated the tree throughout its native range.

A partial listing of the tree species found in Central Park, both natives and exotics:

Fauna



  • Birds:
The first official list of birds observed in Central Park was drawn up by Augustus G. Paine, Jr.
Augustus G. Paine, Jr.
Augustus Gibson Paine, Jr. was an American paper manufacturer and bank official.- Biography :Born in New York City, he was the son of Augustus G. Paine, Sr. and Charlotte M. Bedell Paine . He was educated privately in the United States and Europe...

. Paine was an avid hobby ornithologist and, together with his friend Lewis B. Woodruff, drew up a list of birds counting over 100 species. This was regarded as the first official list and was published in Forest and Stream
Forest and Stream
Forest and Stream was a magazine featuring hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities. Founded in 1873, it was the ninth oldest magazine in the United States....

 on June 10, 1886. An article in The New Yorker
The New Yorker
The New Yorker is an American magazine of reportage, commentary, criticism, essays, fiction, satire, cartoons and poetry published by Condé Nast...

 on 26 August 1974 calls attention to this early list. Over the decades the list has been updated and changed.

The park is frequented by various migratory species of birds during their Spring and Fall migration on the Atlantic Flyway
Atlantic Flyway
The Atlantic Flyway is a bird migration route that generally follows the Atlantic Coast of North America and the Appalachian Mountains. The main endpoints of the flyway include the Canadian Maritimes and the region surrounding the Gulf of Mexico; the migration route tends to narrow considerably in...

. Over a quarter of all the bird species found in the United States have been seen in Central Park. One of these species is the Red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
The Red-tailed Hawk is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the "chickenhawk," though it rarely preys on standard sized chickens. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West...

, which re-established a presence in the park when a male hawk known as Pale Male
Pale Male
Pale Male is a well known New York City Red-tailed Hawk who has made his home since the early 1990s near Central Park. Birdwatcher and author Marie Winn gave him his name because of the unusually light coloring of his head...

 for his light coloration, nested on a building on Fifth Avenue, across the street from the park. He became a local media celebrity and a prolific breeder.

Central Park was the site of the misguided unleashing of European starlings
European Starling
The Common Starling , also known as the European Starling or just Starling, is a passerine bird in the family Sturnidae.This species of starling is native to most of temperate Europe and western Asia...

 in North America, a native of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

 which has become an invasive species
Invasive species
"Invasive species", or invasive exotics, is a nomenclature term and categorization phrase used for flora and fauna, and for specific restoration-preservation processes in native habitats, with several definitions....

. In April, 1890, eighty birds were released by Eugene Schieffelin
Eugene Schieffelin
Eugene Schieffelin belonged to the and the New York Zoological Society. He was responsible for introducing the starling to North America.-Starling release:...

, and the following March another eighty; these one hundred and sixty birds are the progenitors of the flocks which now span the United States and parts of Canada.
  • Mammals
    • Raccoon
      Raccoon
      Procyon is a genus of nocturnal mammals, comprising three species commonly known as raccoons, in the family Procyonidae. The most familiar species, the common raccoon , is often known simply as "the" raccoon, as the two other raccoon species in the genus are native only to the tropics and are...

       (Procyon lotor): nocturnal tree dwellers that come down to ground level to feed at night, have become extremely common in Central Park in recent years, prompting the Parks Department to post rabies warnings around certain areas.
    • Eastern gray squirrel
      Eastern Gray Squirrel
      The eastern gray squirrel is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus native to the eastern and midwestern United States, and to the southerly portions of the eastern provinces of Canada...

      , or grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), is a tree squirrel in the genus Sciurus native to the eastern and midwestern United States.
    • Eastern Chipmunk
      Eastern Chipmunk
      The eastern chipmunk is a small squirrel-like rodent found in eastern North America, the sole living member of the chipmunk genus and subgenus Tamias....

       (Tamias striatus): although not commonly sighted, there are chipmunks in Central Park.
    • Virginia Opossum
      Virginia Opossum
      The Virginia opossum , commonly known as the North American opossum or tlacuache in Mexico, is the only marsupial found in North America north of Mexico. A solitary and nocturnal animal about the size of a domestic cat, and thus the largest opossum, it is a successful opportunist...

       (Didelphis virginiana): a nocturnal marsupial
      Marsupial
      Marsupials are an infraclass of mammals, characterized by giving birth to relatively undeveloped young. Close to 70% of the 334 extant species occur in Australia, New Guinea, and nearby islands, with the remaining 100 found in the Americas, primarily in South America, but with thirteen in Central...

       that rests in trees during the day and searches for food on the ground at night.
  • Arthropods: In 2002 a new genus and species of centipede
    Centipede
    Centipedes are arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda. They are elongated metameric animals with one pair of legs per body segment. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs from under 20 to over 300. Centipedes have an odd number of pairs of...

     (Nannarrup hoffmani
    Nannarrup hoffmani
    Nannarrup hoffmani is a species of centipede that was discovered in New York City's Central Park in 2002 . It is 10 mm long, and has 84 legs. Researchers think that the species originated in East Asia and was carried to the United States in a shipment of imported plants . The species...

    ) was discovered in Central Park. At about four-tenths of an inch (10 mm) long, it is one of the smallest centipedes in the world.

Miscellaneous



Permission to hold issue-centered rallies in Central Park has been met with increasingly stiff resistance from the city. In 2004, the organization United for Peace and Justice
United for Peace and Justice
United for Peace and Justice is a coalition of more than 1,300 international and U.S.-based organizations opposed to "our government's policy of permanent warfare and empire-building."...

 wanted to hold a rally on the Great Lawn during the Republican National Convention. The city denied application for a permit, stating that such a mass gathering would be harmful to the grass and that such damage would make it harder to collect private donations to maintain the park. Courts upheld the refusal.

Since the 1960s, there has been a grassroots campaign to restore the park's loop drives to their original car-free
Car-free
Car-free can refer to several things:*Pedestrian zones*Car-free movement...

 state. Over the years, the number of car-free hours has increased, although a full closure currently is resisted by Mayor Bloomberg. The New York City Department of Transportation
New York City Department of Transportation
The New York City Department of Transportation is responsible for the management of much of New York City's transportation infrastructure...

 is now reportedly studying the issue.

The Central Park Medical Unit
Central Park Medical Unit
-About CPMU:The Central Park Medical Unit is an all-volunteer ambulance service that provides completely free emergency medical service to patrons of Central Park and the surrounding streets, in Manhattan, New York City, United States...

 is an all-volunteer ambulance
Ambulance
An ambulance is a vehicle for transportation of sick or injured people to, from or between places of treatment for an illness or injury, and in some instances will also provide out of hospital medical care to the patient...

 service that provides free emergency medical
Medical emergency
A medical emergency is an injury or illness that is acute and poses an immediate risk to a person's life or long term health. These emergencies may require assistance from another person, who should ideally be suitably qualified to do so, although some of these emergencies can be dealt with by the...

 service to patrons of Central Park and the surrounding streets. It operates a rapid-response bicycle
Bicycle
A bicycle, also known as a bike, pushbike or cycle, is a human-powered, pedal-driven, single-track vehicle, having two wheels attached to a frame, one behind the other. A person who rides a bicycle is called a cyclist, or bicyclist....

 patrol, particularly during major events such as the New York City Marathon
New York City Marathon
The New York City Marathon is a major annual marathon that courses through the five boroughs of New York City. It is one of the largest marathons in the world, with 45,103 finishers in 2010...

, the 1998 Goodwill Games
1998 Goodwill Games
The 1998 Goodwill Games was the fourth edition of the international sports competition, created by Ted Turner in reaction to the political troubles surrounding the Olympic Games of the 1980s. The competition was held in New York, United States from July 19 to August 2, 1998.-Medal table:-References:*...

, and concerts in the park.

Central Park constitutes its own United States census tract
Census tract
A census tract, census area, or census district is a geographic region defined for the purpose of taking a census. Usually these coincide with the limits of cities, towns or other administrative areas and several tracts commonly exist within a county...

, number 143. According to Census 2000
United States Census, 2000
The Twenty-second United States Census, known as Census 2000 and conducted by the Census Bureau, determined the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2000, to be 281,421,906, an increase of 13.2% over the 248,709,873 persons enumerated during the 1990 Census...

, the park's population is eighteen people, twelve male and six female, with a median age of 38.5 years, and a household size of 2.33, over 3 households.
Central Park is the most filmed location in the world. Over 305 films have been shot within the park. Memorable films include Hannah and Her Sisters
Hannah and Her Sisters
Hannah and Her Sisters is a 1986 American comedy-drama film which tells the intertwined stories of an extended family over two years that begin and end with a family Thanksgiving dinner...

, When Harry Met Sally, Remember Me
Remember Me (2010 film)
Remember Me is a 2010 American romantic coming of age drama film directed by Allen Coulter, and screenplay by Will Fetters. It stars Robert Pattinson, Emilie de Ravin, Chris Cooper, Lena Olin, and Pierce Brosnan.-Plot:...

, Home Alone 2
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York
Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is a 1992 American Christmas comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. It is the second film in the Home Alone series and the direct sequel to Home Alone. The film stars Macaulay Culkin in the lead role as Kevin McCallister, while...

, Kramer vs Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer
Kramer vs. Kramer is a 1979 American drama film adapted by Robert Benton from the novel by Avery Corman, and directed by Benton. The film tells the story of a married couple's divorce and its impact on everyone involved, including the couple's young son...

, Enchanted, Mr. Deeds
Mr. Deeds
Mr. Deeds is a 2002 American comedy film, directed by Steven Brill and starring Adam Sandler and Winona Ryder. The movie, which is loosely a remake of the 1936 film Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, also stars Peter Gallagher, John Turturro, Allen Covert and Steve Buscemi...

, and Serendipity
Serendipity (film)
Serendipity is a 2001 romantic comedy, starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. It was written by Marc Klein and directed by Peter Chelsom...

.

Central Park was the recipient of the Lily Bartle Park of the Month award in June 2010

External links


Official websites

Additional information