Sheep Meadow

Initially created as a parade ground, Sheep Meadow is a picturesque, pastoral meadow considered the best example of the pastoral vision that was the backbone of the Greensward plan.
However, Sheep Meadow was not always the calm, green lawn that it is today. Building it was the most expensive construction operation in the park.
Originally it was a swampy, rocky ground that required the blasting of rock outcrops and the installation of four feet of soil to become what it is today. Then, after a peak in popularity in the ’60s and ’70s plus no management and bad maintenance, lead to erosion and heavy damage. Restoring it was one of the first missions of the Central Park Conservancy in 1980. Now, well managed, well maintained, it is one of the favorite green spots of New-yorkers.
There are a couple of monuments near Sheep Meadow - of the famous Italian patriot and revolutionary – Giuseppe Mazzini, and ‘The Indian hunter’. It is the first statue in Central Park by an American artist - John Quincy Adams Ward.

A lot of large-scale events took place in Sheep Meadow since it was open. From patriotic celebrations during World War I through ‘love-ins’ and ‘be-ins’, an anti-Vietnam rally attended by 400,000 people, Barbara Streisand’s performance in front of 350 000 people to the annual AIDS Walk New York.

A curious fact is where the meadow got its name. For a time there were real, living sheep living in there. A flock of sheep was introduced to the park in 1864 by Olmsted and Vaux. This was used to enhance the romantic and rather rural vibe of the park that was a significant part of the Greensward plan.