America’s first major landscaped public park, located in the center of Manhattan, Central Park comprises 843 acres of sweeping meadows, bodies of water, naturalistic caves, grottos, dense plantings and architectural features. It includes a formal Mall, a promenade lined with grand elms, and Bethesda Terrace, a two-tiered esplanade featuring a sculptural fountain and elaborate carvings.
Central Park also is a cultural resource offering spaces for visual arts and music, boating, ice skating, baseball, tennis, horse-drawn carriages, and other recreation.
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Key Features of Central Park
After the New York State Legislature set aside the park’s land, Frederick Law Olmsted, a Connecticut-born journalist and agriculturalist, and Calvert Vaux, a British-born architect, created the park’s design. The park fits into a rectangular space in New York City’s grid-like layout. It runs west to east between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue and south to north from West 59th Street to West 110th Street.
The park’s 6-mile tree-lined perimeter acts as a buffer between the greenspace and the city, as well as an urban promenade. The park also contains four below-grade roadways that transverse it.
Visitors can find several points of interest, such as the restaurant Tavern on the Green, a carousel, Belvedere Castle, Delacorte Theater and the Naumburg Bandshell. Artwork in the park includes the Maine Monument, the obelisk and a statue of Alice in Wonderland.
In addition, the park’s areas have different names and features, such as the Great Lawn, Sheep Meadow, Strawberry Fields, Cherry Hill, The Ramble, Summit Rock, Cedar Hill, the Conservatory Garden, the North Woods, the Ravine, the North Meadow and the Reservoir.
History of Central Park
1853: The New York State Legislature sets aside more than 750 acres of land central to Manhattan Island by law to create the nation’s first major landscaped public park.
1858: Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux created the park’s design. Vaux and assistant architect Jacob Wrey Mould also create a series of ornamental bridges throughout the park.
1934 to 1960: Park Commissioner Robert Moses receives federal funding to restore many eroded landscapes and crumbling structures after the Great Depression.
1974: Citizens George Soros and Richard Gilder underwrite a management study that proposes two initiatives: managerial authority for park operations and a board of guardians that involves citizens in the park’s planning and policy.
1980: The park’s two most prominent private advocacy groups form the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that raises 75 percent of the park’s annual budget and is responsible for the work to keep the park beautiful.
1987 to 2008: The Conservancy leads successful capital campaigns toward rebuilding the park, including its Great Lawn.
2016: The Conservancy launches Forever Green, a 10-year campaign to raise $300 million to enable long-term planning for the park, woodlands, historically and architecturally significant structures, playgrounds, and other areas.
Location & Tourism
Central Park is open year-round from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m.
The New York Philharmonic performs concerts in the park, and world-famous musicians have performed free shows on the Great Lawn.
The Central Park Zoo, tucked in the park off Fifth Avenue around East 63rd Street, has a snow leopard, sea lions, a grizzly bear, penguins, and red pandas. It also has a tropic rainforest with a troop of black-and-white ruffed lemurs, an emerald tree boa and poison dart frogs. Admission to the zoo is $18 for adults and $13 for children.
Visitors to Central Park can also rent model boats to steer along the Conservatory Water pond (near the Alice in Wonderland statue). The park’s lake provides row boats and gondolas for rent (weather permitting) from April through October from the Loeb Boathouse.
Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink offer ice skating in the park starting in mid-November.
BikeRent NYC operates two locations on a seasonal basis for park visitors to rent bicycles.
Interesting Facts About Central Park
- Free concerts on the Great Lawn have included Elton John, Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Garth Brooks and the Dave Matthews Band.
- Catch-and-release fishing is popular at the Harlem Meer.
- When conditions allow, visitors with their own ice skates can skate for free from dawn to dusk on the model boat pond.
- The Conservatory Garden has hosted weddings.
Directions to Belluck & Fox from Central Park
Belluck & Fox’s New York mesothelioma law office is located in Midtown at 546 Fifth Ave., 5th Floor, New York NY 10036. From the park’s southeastern point at Fifth Avenue and West 59th Street, drive south on Fifth Avenue. In good weather, our office is about a 15-minute walk along this route. The M1, M3 and M4 buses also travel south along Fifth Avenue from this area of the park.
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