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Central Park

Central Park is city-owned land that is open to the public and is located in the center of Manhattan. It covers 840 acres, which is larger than its original 778 acres when it opened in 1857. It is a National Historic Landmark (1962) and is managed by the Central Park Conservancy – a non-profit that contributes to upkeep and park staffing.

New Yorkers in the 1800’s faced rapid development of the city and decided they needed a public park, similar to fashionable open-air parks in other parts of the world (such as London). The New York legislature designated the 778-acre tract and appointed the Central Park Commission for its development.

Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux created the winning design called the Greensward Plan for the park. During construction, over 18,500 cubic yards of topsoil were transported to the site from New Jersey, and ten million cartloads of soil, rocks, and material were taken out. Over four million trees and shrubs were planted in the park. The park has gone through ups and downs in maintenance and renovations currently hosting nearly thirty-five million visitors annually.

Visitors to the park can view four bodies of water – The Reservoir, the Lake, The Pond, and the Harlem Meer. Row boats and waterside dining are available at the Loeb Boathouse on The Lake. There is bird watching in the section of the park called “The Ramble,” carriages horse that tour the park, six miles of paved trails for jogging, bicycling, and skating, as well as rock climbing and bouldering.

For children, there is the Central Park Carousel (one of the largest in the US), twenty one playgrounds in the park (the largest is 3 acres in size!), the Central Park Zoo, and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater. There are public entertainment venues such as the NY Shakespeare Festival, the NY Philharmonic, Metropolitan Opera, and major outdoor concerts.

For a full calendar of events,visit: http://www.centralparknyc.org/ .Those visiting for the first time may wish to download the Central Park App. A guide with maps, historical information, and event listings can be found at: http://www.centralparknyc.org/tours.

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