Central Park is a famous urban park located in the Manhattan section of New York City. In 1857, the park was initially opened with 315 hectares or 778 acres of city-owned land. It has grown to 843 acres today.
In 1858, landscape architect Calvert Vaux and writer Frederick Law Olmsted won a design competition to expand and improve the park. They entitled their vision the “Greensward Plan.” Construction commenced the same year and kept on even during the American Civil War. By 1873, the new features were completed. Within the USA, Central Park is the most visited urban park. These two talented individuals also designed Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
In 1962, the park was designated a National Historic Landmark. The park is currently under management by the Central Park Conservancy. They operate under contract with the city government. The Conservancy employs over 80% of the park’s maintenance staff, and is a non-profit organization. As well, they contribute approximately 83% of Central Park’s $37.5 million dollar annual budget.
For a variety of reasons, Central Park is one of the most famous spots to see when visiting New York. It is bordered on the south by Central Park South and bordered on the north by Central Park North. Fifth Avenue borders the east and Central Park West borders that side. Take note while navigating the city that most of the streets bordering the park change their names while adjacent to the park including: 110th Street, Eighth Avenue and 59th Street. Only Fifth Avenue along the eastern border of the park maintains its name.
Approximately 35 million visitors come to the park on an annual basis. Between 59th Street, or Central Park South and 110th Street or Central Park North, it is 4 km or 2.5 miles long. It is 0.8km or 0.5 miles wide between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue. Central Park is similar to Hyde Park in London and Englischer Garten in Munich, in terms of cultural position and size. It has served as an example for many other urban parks such as: Stanley Park in Vancouver, Golden Gate Park in San Francisco and Ueno Park in Tokyo.
The park is entirely landscaped, even though it looks like the land and the planting schematic is natural. There are numerous man-made lakes that have been meticulously crafted as well as many natural looking ponds. The park is home to 2 ice-skating rinks and one of them transforms into a swimming pool in July and August. There are bridle paths and extensive walking trails.
The Central Park Conservatory Garden, the Central Park Zoo, an outdoor amphitheater called the Delacorte Theatre that hosts summer festivals such as “Shakespeare In the Park and a wildlife sanctuary are just some of the sights to see. There is a large wooded area along with a 43 hectare or 106 acre billion-gallon reservoir. Some of the indoor attractions include the nature center at Belvedere Castle, the historic Carousel and the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre.
Seven meadows or major lawns are on the property. Some of them are utilized for team sports while others are considered to be minor grassy areas. Others are simply set aside as quiet green space. Numerous enclosed playgrounds are available for kids to enjoy.
Within the park there is 9.7 km or 6 miles of drives available to be used by skateboarders, joggers, inline skaters and cyclists. These areas particularly flourish in the evenings after 7 pm and on the weekends when automobile traffic is prohibited.