Central Park for New York is what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris – something wrapped in thick layers of history and yet still modern at the same time. Central Park is an inseparable part of the Big Apple and it’s a multi-purpose place with attractions for people of all ages and social backgrounds. Those of you who are planning to visit New York soon should definitely add Central Park to their list of top things to do in the city.
This popular urban park had 40 million visitors in 2013. When it come to territory size Central Park takes the 5th place in New York. Central Park is spread over 843 acres ( or 341 ha). This park is one of the most frequently visited places in United States and one of the most filmed world spots.
Most of you can immediately name several movie scenes that were filmed in Central Park:
- Home Alone
- Vanilla Sky
- Wall Street
- Serendipity and the list goes on
Some of these world-famous movies are deeply rooted in our childhood memory and that is why we so often relate New York City with Central Park.
Central Park’s construction was finished in 1857 and the park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962.The history of Central Part is quite rich. There are some curious facts related to the park’s creation.This article will be interesting especially for those of you who don’t know where is Central Park and have never been there before.
Curious facts about Central Park
It is situated right between Upper West Side and Upper East Side. It’s surrounded by Central Park West on the west side and by Fifth Avenue on the east.
It’s bounded by Central Park South on the south and Central Park on the North. The park was designed on a total of 778 acres (315 ha) of land which became a possession of the city.
Thanks to the man named Frederick Law Olmsted the park was completed in 1857 Frederick Olmsted is a landscape architect. He together with Calvert Vaux, who was also a famous architect and a designer, won a design competition in 1858. Their project’s goal was to improve the park’s current state and increase its territory.
Their plan for the park was named “Greensward Plan”. The construction of the park started in the same year-1858. In the winter of 1858 one area of the park was fully opened to the public for the first time. The construction’s process of the north part of the park was continued during the American Civil War in 1860. In 1873 the park was stretched to its current size.
In the beginning of 20th century Central Park experienced a period of decline and it was then kept in a dirty condition. So Robert Moses decided to start a program to clean the whole Central Park’s territory. The park experienced another decline in the end of 20th century. This event led to the creation of the Central Park Conservancy in 1980.
Central Park Conservancy is a private, non-profit organization that manages the park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. This exact organization made a renovation of many parts of the Central Park in the period between 1980s and 1990s.
Central Park was made a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1963. The Department put it on the unfinished list for UNESCO World Heritage sites in April 2017. Central Park was run for decades by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
Currently this famous site is operated by the Central Park Conservancy in a public-private partnership under a contract with the municipal government.
As a matter of fact, Central Park Conservancy is a non-profit organization that offers a contribution of 75 percent of Central Park’s annual budget which is estimated to be $65 million. The Conservancy organization takes responsibility for all the basic all year round maintenance of the Central Park.
Despite the fact that the form of the land and the planting of the park looks as if made by nature itself, it is almost fully landscaped. The park has several lakes and ponds that have been made artificially by damming natural flows and seeps.
In the park we can see a large area of woods as well as o seven major lawns that are called the “meadows”. The park has many grassy areas. Some of them are used for team sports or informal sport. There are also many playgrounds for kids. There is a total of 6 miles (9.7 km) of drives designated for joggers, bikers, skateboarders, skaters.
Who is exactly Frederick Law Olmsted?
The bio facts of the famous designer of Central Park
Frederick Olmsted was born in 1822 in Hertford, Connecticut and died at the age of 81 in Massachusetts. He was a person with many talents and with a great contribution to America’s architectural development as a whole. The native home of Olmsted still exists. It can be found at 4515 Hylan Boulevard, which is very close to the Woods of Arden Road.
He was a famous American landscape architect, public administrator, social critic and a journalist. Frederick is believed to be the founding father of American landscape architecture. He was well-known for his numerous co-design projects for famous city parks.
His senior partner in the projects was Calvert Vaux . Besides New York’s Central Park they designed also Cadwalader Park in the city of Trenton and
Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.
Central Park is the fifth-largest park in New York City, behind Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Van Cortlandt Park. But his work in Central Park in New York City with no doubt defined a standard of architectural high quality and excellence that still acts as a model for the landscape architecture in the United States up to date.
Frederick Olmsted also took part in the design planning of other famous construction projects such as the coordinated system of parkways and public parks in Buffalo, New York.
Thanks to his devoted work now we can be thankful for having many popular historical spots today:
- Niagara Reservation in Niagara Falls
- America’s oldest state park, New York
- Highland Park in Rochester, New York
- the Emerald Necklace in Boston, Massachusetts
- Thompson Park in Watertown, New York
- Belle Isle Park, in the Detroit River for Detroit
- Michigan and many other sightseeings.
Frederick also worked on the Grand Necklace of Parks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Cherokee Park and designed parks and parkway system in Louisville, Kentucky. He also created the George Washington Vanderbilt II Biltmore Estate in Asheville, Springfield’s 735-acre (297 ha) Forest Park in Massachusetts, the plans for the University of California in Berkeley, Lawrenceville School, the University of Maine, Stanford University in Palo Alto in California and also Montebello Park in St. Catharines in Ontario.
In Chicago Frederick worked on many projects such as the Midway Plaisance for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Jackson Park, the University of Chicago campus and the south region of the so called Chicago’s “emerald necklace” boulevard ring.
In Washington, D.C., Frederick completed a project for one of the first planned communities in the United States and designed a landscape surrounding the United States Capitol building.
Frederick created there the design of Washington Park.
He designed the Riverside’s historic water Tower and train Station.
He designed there the Mount Royal Park in Montreal.
Frederick was a person with many talents and interests. Besides his architectural masterpieces Frederick excelled in other spheres too. He was also an important activist in the conservation movement (also known as nature conservation).
For those of you who don’t know what nature conservation is, it’s a political, environmental, and social movement that strives to protect natural resources such as animal and plant species and also their future habitat.
Frederick was also a worker at the National Park system, the Adirondack region of upstate New York and at Niagara Falls. Another little known fact is that Frederick also had an important role in the organization and provision of medical services to the Union Army during the period of the American Civil War.
The landscape architecture style of Frederick Olmsted characterizes with quality and genius. Therefore it’s no wonder that it was noticed by many of his contemporaries in this period of time. Frederick’s contemporaries gave him often the most prestigious architectural design commissions.
He was described by Daniel Burnham as an architectural “painter”. Burnham’s description of Frederick was “He paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest-covered hills; with mountain sides and ocean views.…”
Frederick Olsted’s early years
Olmsted was born in Hartford, Connecticut, on April 26, 1822. His father was John Olmsted. He was a successful merchant and one of his passions was his huge interest in traveling, people and nature. Frederick Law together with his younger brother John Hull shared their father’s passion for natural spots.
Frederick Olsted’s mother – Charlotte Law Hull Olmsted, died before he turned the age of four. Then in 1827 his father remarried to Mary Ann Bull. John Olmsted’s new wife also shared her husband’s sincere love of nature.
Olmsted experienced a terrible incident in his youth. He was poisoned with sumac which damaged his eye sight. This happened in the moment when he was planning to go to study in Yale College. Consequently, his plans for getting a college degree were aborted.
Afterwards Fredrick worked as an apprentice, seaman, merchant, and journalist. Thanks to the help of his father Frederick acquired a 125-acre farm on the south shore of Staten Island in New York in January 1848. The original name of this farm originally was Akerly Homestead, but later Olmsted decided to give it the name Tosomock Farm. The farm’s next owner was Erastus Wiman who named it “The Woods of Arden”.
How we can have fun in Central Park?
If you are curious about what you can do in this world-famous park then you will be interested in these Central Park activities. Here are the top things everyone can do in Central Park:
For those of you who like sports Central Park Bike Rentals is an amazing opportunity to enjoy Central Park’s incredible nature. There is nothing like getting your daily dose of physical activity while enjoying scenic green nature at the same time and breathing fresh air.
But you are doing this in the centre of the planet’s busiest cities which is fantastic. In the middle of New York city we have an amazing green jewel at our finger tips which is a great opportunity for everyday sport and relaxation.
Carriage tours with horses
Central Park provides all romantic couples with the great opportunity to go on a carriage tour through the park and explore its picturesque beauty. Going through Central Park on a carriage is a really romantic experience you and your loved one shouldn’t miss while in New York.
Pedicab tours through Central Park are for those of you just want to lean back and relax while enjoying the breathtaking nature of Central Park. A tour with the pedicab is an awesome leisurely way to explore Central Park with less effort than the other means of transport. Your driver will show you all popular landmarks and attractions in the park worth visiting.
If you love making photos and like natural spots, then don’t miss the organized photo tours in Central Park. Central park is a real heaven when it comes to a variety of natural sceneries which offer great opportunities for expressing one’s best photographing abilities.
For those of you who are not afraid to sweat and get exercise Central Park provides great opportunities to be active in the nature in every season. From running and HIIT workouts to yoga – there are sport tours for everyone!