Tne park

Piedmont Park - Wikipedia

Piedmont Park is an urban park in Atlanta, Georgia, located about 1 mile (1.6 km) northeast of Downtown, between the Midtown and Virginia Highland neighborhoods. Originally the land was owned by Dr. Benjamin Walker, who used it as his out-of-town gentleman's farm and residence. He sold the land in 1887 to the Gentlemen's Driving Club (later renamed the Piedmont Driving Club), who wanted to establish an exclusive club and racing ground for horse enthusiasts. The Driving Club entered an agreement with the Piedmont Exposition Company, headed by prominent Atlantan Charles A. Collier, to use the land for fairs and expositions and later gave the park its name.

The park was originally designed by Joseph Forsyth Johnson to host the first of two major expositions held in the park in the late 19th century. The Piedmont Exposition opened in October 1887 to great fanfare. The event was a success and set the stage for the Cotton States and International Exposition which was held in the park seven years later in 1895. Both exhibitions showcased the prosperity of the region that had occurred during and after the Reconstruction period. In the early 20th century, a redesign plan called the Olmsted plan, was begun by the sons of New York Central Park architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. The effort led to the addition of scenic paths in the park and the joining of the park with the Ansley park system.

Over the years, the park has also served as an athletic center for the city. Atlanta's first professional baseball team, the Atlanta Crackers, played in the park from 1902 to 1904. Several important intercollegiate rivalries were also forged in the park including the University of Georgia vs. Georgia Tech baseball rivalry and Georgia versus Auburn football which has been called the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry".

Throughout the 20th century, many improvements have been made in the park, including the addition of covered picnic areas, tennis facilities, the Lake Clara Meer dock and visitors center, and two playgrounds. In 2008, a ground-breaking ceremony was held for a 53-acre (210,000 m2) extension to the park. On April 12, 2011, Mayor Kasim Reed cut the ribbon to open the first phase of a major expansion into the northern third of the park. Additional areas at the far north of the park (near Ansley Mall) are to be developed next.


The Atlanta skyline from Piedmont Park


Bridge over Lake Clara Meer

Atlanta was a rapidly growing city in the years before Piedmont Park. From 1860 to 1890, the population jumped from 9,554 to 65,533 residents.[2] Those years saw the opening of many education institutions such as Morehouse College (1867), Clark College (1869), Spelman College (1881), Morris Brown College (1882), Georgia School of Technology (now known as the Georgia Institute of Technology) (1885), and Agnes Scott College (1890).[2]John B. Gordon, a distinguished Confederate general, was Governor of Georgia.[2]

The area soon to be known as Piedmont Park was owned by Benjamin Walker, who purchased the 189 acres (0.76 km2) in the 1830s from a man who had won the land in the land lottery.[3] Walker farmed the land until, in 1887, he sold the land to the Gentlemen's Driving Club, known today as the Piedmont Driving Club, who planned "to form exclusive club and racing ground for horse enthusiasts". The driving club entered into an agreement with the Piedmont Exposition Company to use the grounds around the track as exposition space.[3]Charles A. Collier, a prominent Atlanta businessman and former lawyer, was president of the company. Soon after, a main building, grandstands, and club house were built for the track.[3]

The 1887 Piedmont Exposition[edit]

The first exposition ever held in Piedmont Park, the Piedmont Exposition of 1887, opened on October 10.[4] The main building constructed for the Exposition was 570 feet (170 m) long, 126 feet (38 m) wide, and two stories high.[5] The first day opened with 20,000 visitors.[6]Samuel J. Randall opened the Exposition with a speech on the success of the resurrected post-civil war south.[4] When his speech concluded, General Pierce M. B. Young and his men fired cannons to signal the opening of the events.[4]

2006 Dogwood Festival with Midtown Atlanta skyline in background

Exhibitors showed off a variety of items including works of art, local raw materials like manganese marble, and wood work.[4] Many prominent figures of the day were in attendance to see the displays. Governor David B. Hill of New York spoke at the event as well as President Grover Cleveland who attended with his wife, Frances Folsom.[7][8] Over 50,000 people were in attendance for Cleveland's speech.[6] When the exposition was over, civic leaders said that it had successfully expanded Atlanta's reputation as a place to visit and to conduct business.[6]

The Exposition was also a chance for Atlanta to prove that it was ready to host a world's fair. The Executive Committee of the Fair was invited to attend the event under the bidding of Charles Reynolds, Secretary of the Piedmont Exposition Company.[9]

The "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry"[edit]

Five years later, Piedmont Park was the location of the second football game and the beginning of the "Deep South's Oldest Rivalry" between Auburn University (then named Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama) and the University of Georgia. The game was arranged by former Johns Hopkins classmates, Dr. Charles Herty of Georgia and Dr. George Petrie of Auburn.[11] Auburn won the game 10–0. It was rumored afterward that Georgia's mascot, a goat (it wasn't until 1921 that Georgia officially became the Bulldogs), was the main course at a barbecue held by Georgia fans after the game.[11]

Cotton States and International Exposition (1895)[edit]

Lithograph of Piedmont Park plans for the 1895 Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta, GA c.1894

In 1894, the Piedmont Exposition Company offered to sell the land to the city of Atlanta for $165,000.00, but Mayor John B. Goodwin refused.[12] Thus, The park remained in private hands and outside the city limits for another ten years.

The Cotton States and International Exposition which opened for 100 days beginning on September 18, 1895 and ending December 31, 1895, attracted visitors from the U.S. and 13 countries.[13] Over $2,000,000 was spent on the transformation of Piedmont Park.[14] The government allocated $250,000 for the construction of a government building and many states and countries such as Argentina also had their own buildings.[15] Also constructed for the fair were the Tropical gardens, now known as the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Lake Clara Meer which was originally a pond but was expanded to 11.5 acres (47,000 m2) for the event.[16] Today, the stone balustrades scattered around the park are the only part of the enormous main building.[16] The park remains largely as Joseph Forsyth Johnson designed it for the exposition although some changes were made during the Olmsted planning phase.[17] However, most of the buildings that were constructed for the exposition were made of local Georgia granite and the buildings were dismantled after the event so that the granite could be sold to absolve the debt that the city incurred to hold the fair.

Booker T. Washington delivered his famous Atlanta Exposition Speech at the Expo, which is "widely regarded as one of the most significant speeches in American history."[18] In his speech, Washington pushed for progress but not integration, a point that angered many other black leaders such as W. E. B. Du Bois.[15]

Atlanta school children pose with the Liberty Bell at the Expo

Attractions included Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, the Liberty Bell, and the first public demonstration of C. Francis Jenkins and Thomas Armat's motion picture projection device which they called the Phantoscope.[19][20]John Philip Sousa's "King Cotton" march was created for the expo and was performed at the ceremony, and was conducted by the composer himself.[19]

After the Exposition, the park continued to be extremely popular and was a magnet for growth in the area. State fairs and holiday celebrations were held at the park. Street car lines to the park increased. It was a generally prosperous time.[12]

The beginnings of Atlanta baseball[edit]

In March 1898, the baseball fields were finally completed. On April 16, 1898, the first baseball game between Georgia and Georgia Tech, then known as the Georgia School of Technology, was played.[21] From 1902 until 1904, the Atlanta Crackers, the city's original professional baseball team played ball on the fields of Piedmont Park before moving to a stadium on Ponce de Leon Avenue.[16]

The Olmsted plan[edit]

Piedmont Park in the fall

The year 1904 for was a watershed time for the park. The preceding year, the prominent Atlantan George Washington Collier died. Collier had owned 202 acres (0.82 km2) of land to the west and north of the park that was sold for $300,000 to developers. The city bought the park for $98,000 in 1904, incorporating Piedmont Park into Atlanta's city limits. Mayor Evan Howell agreed to purchase the park, but only if it included those developed areas adjacent to the park which would add approximately $35,000 to $40,000 in tax revenues annually.[12]

The main developer of Collier's land was Edwin Ansley, who created the Ansley Park subdivision under the guidelines set by the Olmsteds. The result was curvy streets surrounding "mini-parks" comprising a total of 25 acres (100,000 m2). In 1912, these parks were deeded to the city.[12]

In 1909, the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted, landscape architect for Central Park in New York, Carey and Frederick, Jr. were asked to design the park's master plan while they were at work on Grant Park. The city agreed to pay $1,800 for the plan, but Olmsted was concerned that Atlanta might not have enough money for the necessary improvements.[22]

In 1910, the brothers submitted a plan for the park that was to include a 5-mile (8.0 km) scenic path and driveways that would link Piedmont Park to the streets of Ansley Park. Joining the parks was a success and thereafter, the parks were known as Twin Parks.[22] Although never fully implemented, the Olmsted plan had a great effect on the development in the surrounding area.

20th-century growth and development[edit]

Piedmont Park in the winter

The park's first bathhouse was opened in 1911. Swimming in the lake was allowed until 1973, when the city opened a pool in the park.[23]

On January 29, 1913, Calvin Shelverton applied for a building permit to construct the Piedmont Park Apartments. The apartments were designed by Leila Ross Wilburn and were decidedly middle-class unlike some of the other developments in the area. The apartments remained middle-class up until about 1960, and residents included such prominent Atlantans as accounting company president T. C. Dunlap and lawyer J. B. Stewart. In 1913, seven clay courts were built where the 1895 Cotton States and International Exposition's Manufacturers and Liberal Arts Building once was. Eight more courts were added in 1914 to accommodate the overwhelming demand.[12]

Notable additions and buildings include the bandstand, built in 1915;[24] a picnic shelter constructed by the WPA in 1936;[24] the Noguchi "Playscapes", completed in 1976 under the aegis of the High Museum and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts[25] and designed by world-renowned artist and sculptor Isamu Noguchi, noteworthy as the only public work by Noguchi in the U.S.[26] In 2002, the dog park was opened.[27]

The Noguchi "Playscapes" underwent restoration in 2005 under Eddie Granderson, public arts manager of the City of Atlanta. Jablonski Berkowitz Conservation Inc. was selected to do the restoration and assessments began in September of that year. The company was charged with bringing the playground up to safety codes and restoring the original paint.[26]

2008 drought[edit]

Piedmont Park during the 2008 drought

In January 2008, city officials announced that the Peachtree Road Race, Atlanta Pride Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, and the Dogwood Festival would not be held in the park due to extreme drought.[28] Some festivals which don't make use of green space were still allowed in the park. The Atlanta Arts Festival ran from September 12–14, 2008, and utilized only paved areas.[29] Other festivals were temporarily moved to alternate venues, such as Centennial Olympic Park. The drought in Atlanta ended by late 2009. In 2010, several events returned to Piedmont Park, including the Dogwood Festival, the Jazz Festival, and Screen on the Green.[30]

2011 expansion[edit]

Looking south, new bridge over Clear Creek in the new section of the park, with the new dog park in the background "Greensward", looking north at northern plaza with interactive fountain in the background

Approximately 50 acres (20 ha) in the northwest portion of the 187-acre (76 ha) park had remained woodlands into the 21st century. In 2007, a park expansion plan called for a new parking deck as well as "open green space, bicycle and walking trails, formal and community gardens, an interactive water feature, children's playgrounds, a skate park, athletic fields, and woodlands".[31] The project was expected to cost $72 million.[32]

On April 23, 2008, a ground-breaking ceremony was held at the Bathhouse for the 53-acre (21 ha) expansion of the Park. The pool and bathhouse are part of a huge Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) renovation that cost around $7.8 million and was completed in early summer 2009.[23][33] The renovation features accessibility, a warming kitchen, WiFi, a pool with beach entry, bubblers, current channel, vortex, fountains, separate splash pad, lap lanes, landscaped deck environment, and concessions. A new area featuring a Bocce ball court and green space with an arbor opened in May 2010.

On April 12, 2011, Mayor Kasim Reed cut the ribbon to open the first phase of a major expansion into the northern third of the park. Areas opened include two oval-shaped plazas ("The Greensward" and "The Promenade", which contains the interactive Legacy Fountain), the Lower Meadow, the Six Springs Wetlands, and a vastly expanded dog park.

2013 expansion[edit]

Piedmont Commons, northernmost section of the park, under development in October 2012. Panoramic shot with Piedmont Avenue at left. Left middle, bridge to future Monroe Drive ped. entrance. Right, bridge to future Dutch Valley Place ped. entrance.

Construction began in early 2013 on areas at the far north of the park, including The Northwoods, Piedmont Commons, and Piedmont Gardens. New park entrances are to be added at the eastern end of Westminster Dr. (off Piedmont Ave.), the northern end of Dutch Valley Pl., and at 1514 Monroe just south of Piedmont Ave., on the site of Agnes & Muriel's restaurant. Map[34] There are already dirt trails that follow Clear Creek and the BeltLine Eastside Trail northwards connecting the 2011 and 2013 expansion areas and providing pedestrian access to the Ansley Mall area north of the park, and to the BeltLine trails going further north.

Piedmont Park Conservancy[edit]

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that is in charge of park improvements and 90 percent of the Park's daily maintenance care and security. The Conservancy was founded in 1989 to revitalize the rapidly deteriorating park. Since then, it has raised and invested $23 million in private funds making the park, once again, the most visited green space in Atlanta.[35]

Activities and facilities[edit]

Outdoor activities[edit]

The meadow in Piedmont Park A walking path in Piedmont Park Part of the park with the Midtown Skyline behind

The park hosts several miles of paved paths suitable for walking, running, biking, and inline skating. Skate Escape across from the park at the 12th Street entrance rents both bikes and skates.[36] On weekend afternoons, skateboarders and inline skaters often share the open, paved area inside the 12th Street entrance.[37]

Piedmont Park has picnic shelters located just to the East of the north soccer field. There are also various picnic tables and benches throughout the park. Many visitors choose to picnic on the expansive lawns as well. The first grill in Piedmont Park was erected for the 1895 Cotton States Exposition where the administrative offices now sit. There are 22 grills throughout the park. No portable grills are allowed.[38]

The Noguchi "Playscape" is located near the 12th Street Gate. The geometrically shaped, modernist playground includes a soaring swing set, slide, sand pit, climbing dome and more made of bright and exciting colors.[25] Also in the park is a new playground known as Mayor's Grove. It was designed as a Boundless Playgrounds and features a high level of accessibility and interactive play.[25]


Piedmont Park is a popular place for organized sports. The Sharon E. Lester Tennis Center at Piedmont Park is a fully staffed, public facility with 12 lighted hard courts, offering leagues, lessons, and supplies.[39]

The Active Oval has two softball fields, two soccer fields, and two beach volleyball courts, all ringed by a dirt running path. Kickball leagues also use the softball fields.

The park's swimming center, once closed for renovations, re-opened in summer of 2009.[33]

Fishing and the lake[edit]

The lake is located in the south east part of the park. Fishing is permitted in the lake, which is stocked with large mouth bass, crappie, bream, and catfish. A 2002 renovation of the lake added a new bridge connecting the two bodies of water and three fishing piers located around the lake.[40]

Clara Meer Dock is located at the west corner of the lake. Just above the Dock sits the historic Visitor Center building. Clara Meer Dock forms an amphitheater-like space nestled into the western end of the lake. Clara Meer Dock is often used for wedding ceremonies. Rental of the dock also includes the Visitor's Center. The Visitor's Center features a barrel ceiling with a painted mural called "A Day at the Park" by Ralph Gilbert.[41] The center seats 40 persons inside and over 200 more on the adjoining lawn and dock. The Dock seats up to 120 for ceremony, or up to 100 for table dining or possible dance floor area.[41]

Mayor's Grove is the newer of the two playgrounds in Piedmont Park. It was designed as a Boundless playground and features a high level of accessibility and interactive play.[25]


With the exception of some festival weekends and special events, dogs are permitted in Piedmont Park, on leashes 6 feet (1.8 m) or shorter for safety reasons. Owners must clean up after their dogs, and the park has a half-dozen plastic bag dispensing stations to facilitate this. Several of the park's water fountains also have a ground-level basin for dogs to use.

Just north of the Park Road entrance bridge are two fenced-in Dog Parks where friendly dogs (and their owners) can cavort with each other off-leash. Brand new, vastly expanded parks for small and large dogs were opened in Apr 2011.

The Leash-free Alliance of Piedmont Park (LAPP) is a volunteer group that works with the Conservancy on dog park improvements, fundraising efforts, and clean up projects.[27]

Special events[edit]

Piedmont Park is a central focal point of Atlanta's Midtown community. The park is home to various annual celebrations and events, including Atlanta Pride Festival, the Atlanta Jazz Festival, the Atlanta Dogwood Festival, Music Midtown, and Festival Peachtree Latino. A summer series of classic films, Screen on the Green, is also aired in the park for local residents.

On the weekend and holidays, the park comes alive with music, intramural sports, and fun festivities. In 2004, Georgia Shakespeare Festival added an annual series of free performances entitled "Shake on the Lake" with Lake Clara Meer as a backdrop.[42] A centennial celebration was held for the park in June 2004. In 2007, the Allman Brothers Band and Dave Matthews Band played a concert with proceeds benefiting the planned expansion to the park. Dave Matthews Band's performance was later released as a live DVD as well as their eighth live album, Live at Piedmont Park. Sir Paul McCartney performed in Piedmont Park to benefit the conservancy on August 15, 2009. The Eagles performed at the park on October 16, 2010, also as a benefit for the conservancy. In 2011, Music Midtown returned from its five-year hiatus, hosting headliners Coldplay and The Black Keys in Piedmont Park.

Park schedule[edit]

The park is open from 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM every day.[43]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1910). "Atlanta". The Encyclopædia Britannica: a dictionary of arts, sciences, literature and general information. 2. New York: University Press. p. 853. 
  3. ^ a b c Martin, Sara Hines (2001). Walking Atlanta. Globe Pequot Press. ISBN 0-7627-1015-2. 
  4. ^ a b c d "MR. RANDALL IN ATLANTA: At the Opening of the Piedmont Exhibition" (PDF). New York Times Online. The New York Times. 1887-10-11. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  5. ^ "1887 Piedmont Exposition Main Building". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. 1887-10-15. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  6. ^ a b c Newman, Harvey K (2006-08-24). "Cotton Expositions in Atlanta". The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  7. ^ "TO BID FOR VOTES IN GEORGIA" (PDF). The New York Times Online. The New York Times. 1889-10-13. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  8. ^ "Grover Cleveland". The White House. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  9. ^ "WORLD'S FAIR SCHEMES: Proposed Financial Aid from the City" (PDF). New York Times Online. The New York Times. 1889-10-08. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  10. ^ a b Stegeman, John F (1997). The Ghosts of Herty Field: Early Days on a Southern Gridiron. Atlanta: University of Georgia Press. xii. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "PIEDMONT PARK APARTMENTS". City of Atlanta Online. Archived from the original on 2008-04-17. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  12. ^ "Atlanta:Piedmont Park". Atlanta:A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2008-05-03. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  13. ^ "FOR ATLANTA'S BIG SHOW" (PDF). New York Times Online. The New York Times. 1895-08-01. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  14. ^ a b "Session 3: Address to the Country". The Progress of a People: A Special Presentation of the Daniel A. P. Murray Pamphlet Collection. Library of Congress. 1998-10-19. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  15. ^ a b c "Park History". Piedmont Park Conservancy. Archived from the original on 2007-05-04. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  16. ^ "History of Piedmont Park". Middle Bass on the Web, Inc. Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  17. ^ "Atlanta Compromise Speech". New Georgia Encyclopedia. Georgia Humanities Council and the University of Georgia Press. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  18. ^ a b "Atlanta History". Archived from the original on 2007-06-16. Retrieved 2007-06-08. 
  19. ^ "History of Edison Motion Pictures:The Shift to Projectors and the Vitascope (1895–1896)]". Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, Library of Congress. 1998-01-12. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  20. ^ "THE TECHS ARE BADLY BEATEN". The Atlanta Constitution. The Atlanta Constitution. 1898-04-17. p. 9. 
  21. ^ a b White, Dana F; Victor A. Kramer (1979). Olmsted South, Old South Critic, New South Planner. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 233. ISBN 0-313-20724-0. 
  22. ^ a b "Swimming". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  23. ^ a b "Picnic Facilities". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Playgrounds". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  25. ^ a b Kornblit, Bobbi (2005). "IN Case You Were Wondering: Noguchi's Playscapes". Atlanta Intown Newspaper. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  26. ^ a b "Piedmont Dog Park". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  27. ^ Weaver, Steve (2008-01-14). "Piedmont Park Drought Changes Major Events". Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. Archived from the original on May 13, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  28. ^ "Artist Guidelines and Application". The Atlanta Arts Festival. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-11. 
  29. ^ Morris, Mike (2010-04-09). "‘Screen on the Green' movie series to return to Piedmont Park". Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  30. ^ "Northern Expansion". Piedmont Park Conservancy. Archived from the original on 2007-04-15. Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  31. ^ Pendered, David. "Piedmont Park set for expansion". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved 2007-05-30. [dead link]
  32. ^ a b "PIEDMONT PARK HISTORIC BATHHOUSE RENOVATION FACT SHEET" (PDF). Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. [dead link]
  33. ^ "Piedmont Park Expansion Construction Resumes", Hunt Archbold, Patch, February 12, 2013
  34. ^ "Piedmont Park Conservancy". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  35. ^ "Skate Escape Bike and Skate Rental". Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  36. ^ "Atlanta Peachtree Road Rollers Group Skates". Archived from the original on 2007-06-29. Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  37. ^ "Grilling". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  38. ^ "Piedmont Tennis Center Official Site". Retrieved 2007-07-18. 
  39. ^ "Fishing". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  40. ^ a b "Dock and Visitors Center". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-01-01. Retrieved 2008-06-05. 
  41. ^ "Piedmont Park". Retrieved 2007-05-30. 
  42. ^ "Piedmont Park Map". Piedmont Park Conservancy. 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-02. 

External links[edit]

Thorpe Park - Wikipedia

Thorpe Park Resort is a theme park resort located between the towns of Chertsey and Staines-upon-Thames in Surrey, England. It is operated and owned by Merlin Entertainments. After demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s, the site became a gravel pit. Thorpe Park Resort was built in the 1970s on the gravel pit which was partially flooded, creating a water-based theme for the park. This essentially allows guests to view the park as an island, which is where the park's current "island like no other" slogan originates from. It was officially opened to the public by the late Lord Louis Mountbatten in 1979. It has since grown into one of the major theme parks in the UK and now also features a hotel.

Major attractions include a large water ride Tidal Wave, a number of rollercoasters including Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, Stealth, Saw – The Ride, The Swarm, and dark ride Derren Brown's Ghost Train. Other smaller attractions include a water area called Amity Beach, a walkthrough attraction based on I’m a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, an indoor rollercoaster known as X and an Angry Birds themed land.


Thorpe Park Lake in July 1979, the year the park opened to the public

The demolition of the Thorpe Park Estate in the 1930s saw the site transform into a gravel pit, originally owned by Ready Mixed Concrete Limited. In the late 1970s they decided to flood part of the site and create an educational theme park. The park opened as a small attraction, building slowly up to RMCs first large installation of "X:\No Way Out" in 1996. In 1998, The Tussauds Group bought the park (they also owned the nearby Chessington World of Adventures). From the outset the park started opening key attractions such as Tidal Wave in 2000, Colossus in 2002, Nemesis Inferno in 2003 and Stealth in 2006.[citation needed]

In 2007, Merlin Entertainments (a subsidiary of Blackstone Investment Group) bought the Tussauds Group;[1] the attraction target market was moved towards a teenage audience with large investment in the form of rides such as Saw: The Ride and The Swarm. This was to prevent it competing with Legoland Windsor Resort, and Chessington World of Adventures Resort, both within close proximity of Thorpe Park Resort; Legoland was to cater for children and Chessington World of Adventures Resort was to have a variety of attractions.

Rides and attractions[edit]


Flat rides[edit]

Water rides[edit]

Other attractions[edit]

Name Picture Type Opened Area Manufacturer Additional Information
Derren Brown's Ghost Train: Rise of the Demon Dark Ride 2016 Thorpe Junction Various, including Intamin, Simworx and Figment Productions Multi-sensory technologically advanced dark ride with heavy input by Derren Brown. Re-imagined and branded for the 2017 season.
Angry Birds 4D Experience 4D Cinema 2014 Angry Birds Land Simworx 4D Cinema showing the Angry Birds 4D movie. Replaced Pirates 4-D.
Amity Beach Beach Area with Pool and Waterslides 1979 Amity Ready Mixed Concrete Originally called 'Fantasy Reef".
I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Maze Themed Maze 2015 The Jungle ITV Studios & Merlin Entertainments Studios Maze based on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. Partnership between Merlin Entertainments and ITV Studios.

Theme Park areas[edit]

Thorpe Park is split into seven themed areas: Port & Basecamp, Amity, The Jungle, Old Town, Lost City, Swarm Island and Angry Birds Land.

Amity, previously 'Amity Cove' and also 'Amity Beach', is themed as a 1950s fishing village that has been left devastated by a tidal wave. The attractions in this area are: Tidal Wave, Stealth, Flying Fish, Storm in a Teacup, Depth Charge, Wet Wet Wet, Amity Beach and Storm Surge.

Old Town, previously 'Canada Creek' and 'SAW Island', opened in 1989 and 2009 respectively. It is themed around the Canadian Rockies. The main attraction of the area, is Saw - The Ride a Gerstlauer Eurofighter with three inversions. It is the only coaster in the world themed around a horror film. This area also has the UK's tallest log flume, called Loggers Leap and the small train ride named the Rocky Express. Old Town is also home to two defunct rides, Canada Creek Railway and Slammer.

The Jungle, previously 'Calypso Quay', is an area in the park themed around a tropical caribbean jungle, with a volcano as its centrepiece. Four rides reside within this area: Nemesis Inferno, Mr Monkey's Banana Ride, Rumba Rapids and the I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here Maze.

Lost City opened in 2001 and is themed around an ancient Aztec land. Main attractions include: Colossus, Quantum, Rush, X, Samurai, Vortex, Zodiac.

Swarm Island was the new area for 2012, the land was reclaimed from the water that surrounds the island. It paints a picture of an apocalyptic end to the world with the roller coaster The Swarm.

Angry Birds Land opened on 24 May 2014, and is themed around the Angry Birds video game franchise. The area was previously part of 'Calypso Quay' (now the Jungle), and 'Amity Cove' (now Amity). Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, Detonator: Bombs Away and King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems.

Thorpe Junction opened on 24 March 2016 and is themed to a disused train depot. The building houses Derren Brown's Ghost Train and The Ghost Train Shop.

  • Amity

  • Old Town

  • The Jungle

  • Lost City

  • Swarm Island


Amity, previously Amity Cove and Amity Beach, is themed as an American 1950s fishing village that has recently been hit by a tidal wave. With the attraction Tidal Wave as the key attraction. The Area, when opened in 2000 contained only Tidal Wave, KFC and a games stand. It was extended in 2006 with the arrival of the Stealth rollercoaster located behind Tidal Wave, adding with the pre-existing Storm in a Tea Cup ride to Amity's lineup. In 2007 the Flying Fish roller coaster was moved into Amity, increasing the attraction list. In 2011 Storm Surge opened on the old Octopus Garden site. Storm in a Teacup is located near Stealth. Following the addition of Angry Birds Land in 2014, the area is now split in two, with guests having to go through Angry Birds Land in order to reach the Amity Speedway themed area, which is home to Stealth and Storm in a Teacup. Near the Flying Fish there is Depth Charge, Wet Wet Wet, and the Amity Beach area.

The Jungle[edit]

The Jungle is a Caribbean jungle themed area formerly known as Calypso Quay with four rides. The key attraction is Nemesis Inferno, a B&M inverted coaster themed around a volcano. Mr Monkey's Banana Ride is also in the area, near to the I'm a Celebrity Get Me out of Here Maze attraction. The Rumba Rapids water rapids ride is the oldest attraction in the park. Part of the area was originally known as Ranger County, but after the removal of the Carousel and a show arena in late 2014 to make way for Derren Brown's Ghost Train, the Ranger County area is no more.

Thorpe Junction[edit]

Thorpe Junction is the name of the building that houses Derren Brown's Ghost Train and The Ghost Train Shop. This is a sub-area of The Jungle and can be found at the centre of the island.

Angry Birds Land[edit]

Angry Birds Land opened on 24 May 2014 and is based on the Angry Birds video games. The area was previously part of Calypso Quay and Amity Cove. Attractions include: Angry Birds 4D, King Pig's Wild Hog Dodgems, and Detonator: Bombs Away (previously known as Detonator). As of 2016, Angry Birds Land is a sub-area of The Jungle.

Lost City[edit]

The Lost City theme is that of ruins of a recently unearthed Atlantean civilisation with the Colossus roller coaster as the main attraction opening in 2002. The area opened in 2001 with the Vortex and Zodiac rides as the only attractions. In 2003 Quantum, a magic carpet ride opened. Two more attractions have since joined the rides line up with Samurai opening after being moved from the also Merlin owned Chessington World of Adventures in 2004 and Rush an S&S Screamin' Swing opening in 2005. In 2013 the X roller coaster was renamed and moved to the area.

Old Town[edit]

Old Town opened in 1989 as Canada Creek and is themed around the Canadian Rockies. It has five attractions, a Burger King and the Wild Wings Noodle Bar. The main ride in the area is Saw - The Ride a Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter with a 100-degree drop and 3 inversions. It is based on the Saw franchise and the coaster's station and indoor area is themed as a sawmill. The area also houses the Rocky Express, a small Mack Seastorm ride, Timber Tug Boat and Lumber Jump, a Zamperla rockin' tug and jumpin' star, both relocated to the resort from the Weymouth SeaLife Adventure Park and Marine Sanctuary. The area also houses the now defunct Slammer, an S&S Sky Swat. Lastly, the Loggers Leap log flume is currently closed until further notice while essential remedial work and decisions around the ride's future are made. It has been closed since 2015.

Swarm Island[edit]

Swarm Island only contains one attraction, The Swarm, a rollercoaster themed around multiple crash sites depicting scenes of apocalyptic devastation. The theme is that there has been an alien invasion and the alien creatures known as 'The Swarm' are interacting with the guests and the areas landscape.

Records the park holds[edit]

  • Loggers Leap is the tallest log flume in the UK, although it lost that record for several years to The American Adventure's Nightmare Niagara, then regained the record when that ride closed.
  • Nemesis Inferno has the longest pre lift section of any inverted B&M coaster in the world, and is the first inverted coaster to feature interlocking corkscrews
  • The Swarm, is the only winged coaster located in the United Kingdom. Also, between 2013 and 2016 it was the only backward winged coaster in the world (back 2 rows).
  • SAW – The Ride is the only rollercoaster themed around a horror movie. It also holds the record for the rollercoaster with the steepest free-fall drop in the world, at 100 degrees, and sixth steepest drop overall in the world after Steel Hawg at Indiana Beach in the USA, Mumbo Jumbo at Flamingo Land in the UK, Timber Drop at Fraispertuis City in France, Green Lantern Coaster (with an angle of 120.5°) at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia and Takabisha (with an angle of 121°) at Fuji-Q Highland in Japan. The drops on the proceeding S&S Worldwide manufactured roller coasters and Takabisha are controlled by braking fins, whereas the drop on Saw is not, hence it holds the title of steepest free-fall drop. It's also Gerstlauer's 2nd steepest rollercoaster, preceding Takabisha, the current world record holder for the steepest drop.

As of 2014, Thorpe Park Resort operates three yearly events. Ministry of Sound club nights in the Port Atlantis Dome occur one Saturday night a month from April to September. These club nights feature well known music DJs playing a variety of themed nights. Summer Nights is when the park reopens after a normal day on Friday and Saturday Nights in July and August from 7pm-10pm for some late-night rides consisting of The Swarm, SAW - The Ride, Stealth, Colossus, Nemesis Inferno, X and others.

Fright Nights[edit]

Fright Nights,[2] formerly "Fright Nites" is Thorpe Park's halloween event and also its largest. It's an annual event that has been running at Thorpe Park since 2002, celebrating Halloween with the park staying open until late at night, as well as operating a range of temporary halloween attractions. Roaming actors in costume or with make up can also be found around the park.[3]

In 2013, Fright Nights was relaunched with a horror movie theme, courtesy of a three-year contract with Lionsgate. All of the pre-existing Fright Nights attractions were removed with the exception of The Asylum to make way for new horror-film themed attractions.

In 2017 Fright Nights was reinvented with a Walking Dead theme. The addition of two walking dead attractions were added to coincide with the season 8 premier of the show. Then mazes which survived the overhaul was; Saw:Alive, The Big top and Platform 15 with Containment returning as an upcharge attraction.

Season(s)active 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
3 Freakshow 3D
6 Carnival of the Bizarre
9 The Asylum
6 Hellgate
6 Se7en
5 The Curse
8 SAW Alive
1 Dead End
2 Experiment 10
1 The Passing
3 My Bloody Valentine
4 Cabin in the Woods
4 Blair Witch
1 Studio 13
3 Containment
3 The Big Top
2 Platform 15
1 The Walking Dead: Living Nightmare
1 The Walking Dead: Sanctum

     – Previous Fright Night attraction.      – Current Fright Night attraction.

Thorpe Shark Hotel[edit]

The Thorpe Shark hotel is themed around a metal shark, made from scrap metal, that appears to be rising out of the lake. The hotel is linked to the Dome. It is also the entry point into the park. It opened in 2014 and replaced The Crash Pad, which was a temporary hotel that operated throughout 2013.[4]


In 2010, the park outlined a 5-year development plan. The development plan highlighted a potential developmental area for a new roller coaster, with a target opening year of 2015, but has since been delayed to at least 2019.

In October 2014, the park submitted plans for an indoor attraction, codenamed 'Project Whitechapel', or 'WC16', due to open in March 2016. Featuring a pre-show area and a post-ride shop, the ride is being constructed on the site of the old arena as well as Chief Ranger's Carousel. On 26 October it was confirmed that illusionist Derren Brown has partnered with Thorpe Park to create a world's first immersive, psychological experience.[5] recently Thorpe Park released a teaser website '' which shows project updates and new teasers for the new attraction. On 18 January 2016, it was officially announced the name for the attraction will be "Derren Brown's Ghost Train", and will open on 6 May 2016. This was later delayed and eventually opened on 8 July 2016.

On 27 March 2015, Thorpe Park Resort opened the world's first "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!" maze, set in the building which was home to Studio 13 during Fright Nights 2014. The attraction is home to three of the popular television programs Bushtucker Trails, including The Chambers Of Horror and Celebrity Cyclone. The attraction was announced on 11 February 2015 on social media websites, following a series of hints posted by Thorpe Park on their Twitter and Facebook pages. The maze has been fitted with the latest technology and special effects, including multisensory 'leg ticklers' and a vibrating bridge walk way.[6]

Thorpe Park has had plans for several years to build a hotel, health spa and conference centre. The complex was originally planned to open in 2016; however, due to the Thorpe Shark hotel opening in 2014, the complex will not open for several years, if at all, as the Thorpe Shark Hotel is planned to stay at the park for ten years.



Main gallery: Thorpe Park Resort at WikiCommons

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Bute Park - Wikipedia

Bute Park (Welsh: Parc Bute) is a major park in the city of Cardiff, capital of Wales. It comprises 130 acres (53 ha) of landscaped gardens and parkland that once formed the grounds of Cardiff Castle. The park is named after the 3rd Marquess of Bute, whose family owned the castle.

History and description[edit]

The Castle Green was landscaped in the late eighteenth century by Capability Brown, but the park itself was laid out from 1873 on by Andrew Pettigrew, Head Gardener to the 3rd Marquess.[1] The 5th Marquess of Bute presented the park to the Council in 1947 and the park is still owned and managed by Cardiff Council.

Along the east bank of the River Taff and adjoining Cardiff Castle, the park offers a combination of arboretum, flower gardens and recreation grounds. Most of the park is laid to grassland but there is an abundance of woodland and tree-lined avenues. Sophia Gardens and Pontcanna Fields are on the opposite side of the river, reached by two footbridges. Sophia Gardens is home to the Glamorgan County Cricket Ground, where test matches are played, and to the Sport Wales National Centre.[2][3]

Within the park there are sculptures such as wood carvings formed from retained tree stumps (in 2012 a series of additional carvings were commissioned as part of the Restoration Project) which encourage natural play. An ironwork sundial, originally placed in the park in 1990 after a Festival of Iron event, was removed in 2006 and replaced by a small round formal garden to honour Stuttgart (Cardiff's German twin-town.) This feature was designed by the Parks Service in Stuttgart and planted by horticultural apprentices from both cities as part of a programme of exchange visits between the two parks departments.

The dock feeder canal runs along the eastern edge of the park. Its origins go back to medieval times when it was a millstream, constructed to feed the Lord's Mill, situated below the western walls of Cardiff Castle. This line is clearly seen on the Bute Estate Maps of 1824.[4] In 1833, the line of the mill stream was incorporated as a water source for the development of the Cardiff Docks by the 2nd Marquess of Bute and was reformed as the dock feeder when the docks were constructed 1836-1841.[5] The dock feeder is still the main water supply to Cardiff Docks.

The annual RHS Show Cardiff has been held in Bute Park since 2005.

Since 1981, the park has hosted what is now Sparks in the Park, an annual Guy Fawkes Night firework display, the profits from which are distributed to charity. This event is organised every year by Cardiff's local branch of Round Table. In 2010, Cooper's Field hosted a concert by Florence and the Machine.

Bute Park Restoration Project[edit]

From 2007 Cardiff Council undertook a £5.6 million restoration project, which was part-funded by a £3.1 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. The project provided new facilities and restored historic features in the park, including:

  • Summerhouse Kiosk providing refreshments and toilets, built in 2010 to a design that echos William Burges's summerhouse in the park.
  • Animal Wall, designed by William Burges (1827–1881), a stone wall topped by sculpted animal heads, cleaned and conserved in 2010.[3]
  • Blackfriars Friary: Work undertaken to conserve and interpret the medieval Friary remains, using Victorian brickwork walls to mark the building's plan. [3]
  • West Lodge: The restoration and extension of this historic building and gateway provides a visitor information/orientation point, now used as the Pettigrew Tea Rooms.[6]
  • Mill Leat: Reintroduction of water to the old castle moat that runs alongside the original 12th-century mill stream will restore views and enhance the character of the park to the west of Cardiff Castle.
  • Bute Park Arboretum: Improved signage and interpretation will allow increased awareness and understanding of the park's nationally significant tree collection.
  • Education Centre: This new facility is discreetly located within Bute Park Nursery, and playing on the concept of a "secret garden", will be the hub of the park's public education programme. The Council's horticultural staff train here, and it provides additional refreshment and toilet facilities.

The park is maintained by a dedicated team of Park Rangers and gardeners based on site, who are supported by volunteers.

Bridges and entrances to Bute Park[edit]

  • Blackweir Bridge - the northern end of the park

  • Cardiff Bridge - the southern end of the park

  • Entrance in Castle Street (The Grade II* listed West Lodge Gate to the right)

  • Entrance in North Road by Cardiff Castle (left)

  • The Grade II listed Park Lodge close to the northern entrance

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bute Park.

Coordinates: 51°29′20″N 3°11′20″W / 51.489°N 3.189°W / 51.489; -3.189

The Park — обзор

Поездка до парка развлечений должна ассоциироваться только с весельем и детской радостью.

Это интересный парадокс. Большинство людей считает клоунов забавными, с радостью принимает их цирковые кривляния, но для других они просто жутко страшные. Да в парки развлечений они выглядят радостно и безопасно, но после захода солнца… уже не так весело. Не нужно много фантазии, чтобы прийти к выводу, что пребывание в этом месте, помимо указанных дневных часов, может быть действительно страшно. Пустые карусели, освещенные гирляндой из цветных лампочек, цирковая музыкой, но… ни одного пассажира… Дьявольское колесо, треск и зловещий скрип при каждом обороте. Дом страха? Заброшенные гадальные комнаты являются классическим местом, вызывающим чувство ужаса. Создатели The Park решили сделать из всего этого некую штуку.

Игру мы начинаем на стоянке перед парком развлечений Atlantic Island Park. Да на самом деле, главная героиня была уже на шаг от того, чтобы отправиться отсюда домой. Но ее плюшевому другу Каллума так очень понравилась экскурсия, что он решил остаться в центре парка.

Следуя за Каллумом, мы погружаемся в страшные и безумные места, которое скрывает свои тайны и секреты. Мы ищем также своего сына, но на самом деле, это только повод для того, чтобы узнать трагическую и жуткую историю этого места, а также прошлое главной героини — Лорейн. Хотя поиски сына, в этот пустынный час в парк развлечений обещает стать похожим на сценарий фильма ужасов класса B сущности, сюжет повествует о гораздо более серьезных проблемах, сидящих глубоко в человеческом подсознании. Следовательно, значительная часть истории — психологический ужас. С самого начала The Park, заставляет ощутить на себе мурашки.

Немного странно то, что во время поисков Lorraine посещает отдельные достопримечательности, особенно те, которые просто пустые, видно, что Каллума там просто нет. Так зачем тратить время? Действительно ли имеет смысл использование включенных в середине ночи развлечений в парке аттракционов? Это типичное поведение для героев фильма ужасов. Они делают упор на то, что не когда ни пришло бы в голову, ни одному нормальному человеку в такой ситуации. Впрочем, вся игра действительно очень хорошая. Игра не длинная, и вы спокойно закончите ее через два часа, но благодаря тому, что мы не смотрим все время на одни и те же приемы, подаваемые в различных конфигурациях, впечатления остаются только положительные.

При всем этом, большое значение имеет визуальная часть The Park, которая большую часть времени — стоит на высоком уровне. Заброшенный парк развлечений в середине ночи выглядит пугающе, но имеет в себе что-то красивое — луна освещает все своим светом, тьму прорезают огоньки отдельных достопримечательностей.

Разработчики не сделали анимации, связанной с посадкой в какой либо атракцион — экран просто на секунду темнеет, а через некоторое время мы уже в нем. Немного жаль. Также разработчики не вспомнили о возможности чтения текста из найденных писем или документов, в среднем шрифте и большим разрешении. Иногда расшифровка шрифта, стилизованного на ручное писание было для меня проблемой. Я вспоминал тогда о Life is Strange, в которой соответствующая опция присутствовала. В игре мы увидим также несколько заставок, генерируемых движком. Это, безусловно, самый слабый элемент визуализации. Хорошо, что их не много.

Лично я, после почти двух часов проведенных с The Park остался доволен. FunCom приготовила хороший психологический фильм ужасов, который, с одной стороны, пугает атмосферой и событиями на экране, с другой, касается важной проблемы и дает пищу для размышлений. Отличный финал, один из самых сильных моментов игры. Или The Park может быть длиннее? Честно говоря, я не знаю. После двух часов я был удовлетворен, в продление пребывания в не очень большом парке развлечений не было смысла, тем более, что элементы типичного геймплея здесь немного. Конечно, если бы с самого начала разработчики спроектировали The Park как популярный в последнее время квест, не на два, а на четыре или даже шесть часов, я был бы рад. Но и в нынешнем виде игра не слишком короткая.

Central Park - Wikipedia

Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City. It comprises 843 acres (341 ha) between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, roughly bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park West (Eighth Avenue) on the west, Central Park South (59th Street) on the south, and Central Park North (110th Street) on the north. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with 40 million visitors in 2013, and one of the most filmed locations in the world.

The park was established in 1857 on 778 acres (315 ha) of land acquired by the city. In 1858, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect/landscape designer Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they titled the "Greensward Plan". Construction began the same year, and the park's first area was opened to the public in the winter of 1858. Construction north of the park continued during the American Civil War in the 1860s, and the park was expanded to its current size in 1873. After a periods of decline in the early 20th century, Robert Moses started a program to clean up Central Park. Another decline in the late 20th century spurred the creation of the Central Park Conservancy in 1980, which refurbished many parts of the park during the 1980s and 1990s.

Central Park was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1962, which in April 2017 placed it on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage sites.[5] The park, managed for decades by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the municipal government in a public-private partnership. The Conservancy is a non-profit organization that contributes 75 percent of Central Park's $65 million annual budget and is responsible for all basic care of the 843-acre park.


Map of Central Park. Clicking on a feature in the picture causes the browser to load the appropriate article.

Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962, was designed by landscape architect and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn's Prospect Park.[6][7][8] Central Park is one of the most famous sightseeing spots in New York. It is bordered on the north by Central Park North, on the south by Central Park South, on the west by Central Park West, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Only Fifth Avenue along the park's eastern border retains its name; the other streets bordering the park (110th Street, 59th Street, and Eighth Avenue, respectively) change names while they are adjacent to the park. The park, with a perimeter of 6.1 miles (9.8 km),[9] was opened on 770 acres (3.1 km2) of land and was expanded to 843 acres (3.41 km2; 1.317 sq mi).[1][10] It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 mile (0.8 km) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. Central Park constitutes its own United States census tract, number 143. According to Census 2000, the park's population is eighteen people, twelve male and six female, with a median age of 38.5 years, and a household size of 2.33, over 3 households.[11] However Central Park officials have rejected the claim of anyone permanently living there.[12] The real estate value of Central Park was estimated by property appraisal firm Miller Samuel to be about $528.8 billion in December 2005.[13]

Central Park's size and cultural position, similar to London's Hyde Park and Munich's Englischer Garten, has served as a model for many urban parks, including San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Tokyo's Ueno Park, and Vancouver's Stanley Park. The park, which receives approximately 35 million visitors annually,[14] is the most visited urban park in the United States.[15] It is also one of the most filmed locations in the world.[16][17]

The park is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, not-for-profit organization that manages the park under a contract with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation,[18] in which the president of the Conservancy is ex officio Administrator of Central Park. Today, the conservancy employs 80% of maintenance and operations staff in the park. It effectively oversees the work of both the private and public employees under the authority of the Central Park administrator (publicly appointed), who reports to the parks commissioner, conservancy's president. As of 2007[update], the conservancy had invested approximately $450 million in the restoration and management of the park; the organization presently contributes approximately 85% of Central Park's annual operating budget of over $37 million.[18] The system was functioning so well that in 2006 the conservancy created the Historic Harlem Parks initiative, providing horticultural and maintenance support and mentoring in Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Marcus Garvey Park.[19]

The park has its own New York City Police Department precinct, the Central Park Precinct, which employs both regular police and auxiliary officers. In 2005, safety measures held the number of crimes in the park to fewer than one hundred per year (down from approximately 1,000 annually in the early 1980s). The New York City Parks Enforcement Patrol also patrols Central Park. There is an all-volunteer ambulance service, the Central Park Medical Unit, that provides free emergency medical service to patrons of Central Park and the surrounding streets. It operates a rapid-response bicycle patrol, particularly during major events such as the New York City Marathon, the 1998 Goodwill Games, and concerts in the park.

While planting and land form in much of the park appear natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. The park contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds that have been created artificially by damming natural seeps and flows. There is a large area of woods in addition to seven major lawns, the "meadows",[20] and many minor grassy areas; some of them are used for informal or team sports and some set aside as quiet areas; there are a number of enclosed playgrounds for children. The 6 miles (9.7 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, cyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, especially when automobile traffic is prohibited, on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 pm.



View in Central Park NY 1861 Mt. St. Vincent One of 36 bridges in the park

Between 1821 and 1855, New York City nearly quadrupled in population. As the city expanded northward up Manhattan Island, people were drawn to the few existing open spaces, mainly cemeteries, to get away from the noise and chaotic life in the city. Since Central Park was not part of the original Commissioners' Plan of 1811, John Randel, Jr., surveyed the grounds. The only remaining surveying bolt from his survey is embedded in a rock located north of the present Dairy and the 65th Street Transverse, and south of Center Drive. The bolt marks the location where West 65th Street would have intersected Sixth Avenue.[21]

New York City's need for a great public park was resounded by the famed poet and editor of the Evening Post (now the New York Post), William Cullen Bryant, as well as by the first American landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, who predicted and began to publicize the city's need for a public park in 1844. A stylish place for open-air driving, similar to Paris' Bois de Boulogne or London's Hyde Park, was felt to be needed by many influential New Yorkers, and, after an abortive attempt in 1850–1851 to designate Jones's Wood, in 1853 the New York legislature settled upon a 700-acre (280 ha) area from 59th to 106th Streets for the creation of the park, at a cost of more than US$5 million for the land.[22][23][24]

The state appointed a Central Park Commission to oversee the development of the park, and in 1857 the commission held a landscape design contest. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux developed what came to be known as the "Greensward Plan", which was selected as the winning design. According to Olmsted, the park was "of great importance as the first real Park made in this country – a democratic development of the highest significance...", a view probably inspired by his various trips to Europe during 1850[25] (he had visited several parks during these trips and was particularly impressed by Birkenhead Park and Derby Arboretum in England).[26][27] The Greensward Plan called for some 36 bridges, all designed by Vaux, ranging from rugged spans of Manhattan schist or granite, to lacy Neo-Gothic cast iron; no two are alike. The ensemble of the formal line of the Mall's doubled allées of elms culminating at Bethesda Terrace, whose centerpiece is the Bethesda Fountain, with a composed view beyond of lake and woodland, was at the heart of the larger design. Execution of the Greensward Plan was the responsibility of a number of individuals, including Jacob Wrey Mould (architect), Ignaz Anton Pilat (master gardener), George E. Waring, Jr. (engineer), and Andrew Haswell Green (politician), in addition to Olmsted and Vaux.[22][23][24]

Several influences came together in the design. Landscaped cemeteries, such as Mount Auburn (Cambridge, Massachusetts) and Green-Wood (Brooklyn, New York) had set examples of idyllic, naturalistic landscapes. The most influential innovations in the Central Park design were the "separate circulation" systems for pedestrians, horseback riders, and pleasure vehicles. The "crosstown" commercial traffic was entirely concealed in sunken roadways (today called "transverses"), screened with densely planted shrub belts so as to maintain a rustic ambiance.


A map of Central Park from 1875

In 1850, the land was occupied by free blacks and Irish immigrants who had purchased land, where they raised livestock, built churches and cemeteries, and had lived as a community for close to 50 years.[28] Before the construction of the park could start, the area had to be cleared of its inhabitants. Rossi states that part of the impetus to schemes such as Central Park and others was to remove what they incorrectly deemed as shanty towns and their denizens.[29] However, most lived in small villages, such as Harsenville,[30] the Piggery District,[31] or Seneca Village; or in the school and convent at Mount St. Vincent's Academy. Approximately 1,600 residents were evicted under the rule of eminent domain during 1857. Seneca Village and parts of the other communities were razed to make room for the park.[32] In addition, when the commission finally submitted its report for public examination on October 4, 1855, taxpayers learned that they would be paying $5 million just for the park land, more than three times what they had been told the completed park as a whole would cost. At the same time, the offsetting revenue from property taxes of adjacent land came to $1.7 million, or one-third of the purchase price, and was considerably less than earlier estimates.[33]

During the park's construction, Olmsted battled with the park commissioners, many of them also politicians. In 1860, he was forced out for the first of many times as Central Park's superintendent, and Andrew Haswell Green, the former president of New York City's Board of Education took over as the commission's chairman.[34] Despite his having relatively little experience, Green managed to accelerate the construction. Green also finalized the negotiations to purchase an additional 65 acres (260,000 m2) at the north end of the park, between 106th and 110th Streets, which would be used as the "rugged" part of the park, its swampy northeast corner dredged, and reconstructed as the Harlem Meer.[35][36]

Between 1860 and 1873, most of the major hurdles to construction were overcome, and the park was substantially completed. Construction combined the modern with the ageless: up-to-date steam-powered equipment and custom-designed wheeled tree-moving machines augmented massive numbers of unskilled laborers wielding shovels. The work was extensively documented with technical drawings and photographs. During this period, more than 18,500 cubic yards (14,100 m3) of topsoil had been transported from New Jersey, because the original soil was neither fertile nor sufficiently substantial to sustain the various trees, shrubs, and plants called for by the Greensward Plan. When the park was officially completed in 1873, more than 10 million cartloads of material had been transported out of the park, including soil and rocks, and more than four million trees, shrubs, and plants representing approximately 1,500 species were transplanted to the park. More gunpowder was used to clear the area than was used at the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.[37]

A proposal to have ornate, European-style entrances to the park was opposed by Olmsted and Vaux, who intended for the park's unadorned entrances to signal "that all were welcome, regardless of rank or wealth."[38] The park's commissioners assigned a name to each of the original 18 gates in 1862. The names were chosen to represent the broad diversity of New York City's trades; for example, "Mariner's Gate" for the entrance at 85th Street and Central Park West.[38] The majority of entrances did not receive an inscription, however, until a park restoration effort in 1999.[38]

Sheep grazed on the Sheep Meadow from the 1860s until 1934, when they were moved to Prospect Park in Brooklyn and soon thereafter moved to a farm near Otisville, New York, in the Catskill Mountains.[39] It was feared they would be used for food by impoverished Depression-era New Yorkers.[40]

First decline and renovation[edit]

Following completion, the park quickly slipped into decline. One of the main reasons for this was the lack of interest from the Tammany Hall political machine, which was the largest political force in New York at the time. Around the turn of the 20th century, the park faced several new challenges. Cars were becoming commonplace, bringing with them their burden of pollution, and people's attitudes were beginning to change. No longer were parks to be used only for walks and picnics in an idyllic environment but also for sports and similar recreation. Following the dissolution of the Central Park Commission in 1870 and Andrew Green's departure from the project, and Vaux's death in 1895, the maintenance effort gradually declined. All of this changed in 1934, when Republican Fiorello La Guardia was elected mayor of New York City and unified the five park-related departments then in existence. Robert Moses was given the task of cleaning up the park. Moses, about to become one of the most powerful men in New York City, took over what was essentially a relic, a leftover from a bygone era.[41]

According to historian Robert Caro:

Lawns, unseeded, were expanses of bare earth, decorated with scraggly patches of grass and weeds, that became dust holes in dry weather and mud holes in wet... The once beautiful Mall looked like a scene of a wild party the morning after. Benches lay on their backs, their legs jabbing at the sky...[42]:334

In a single year, Moses managed to clean up Central Park and other parks in New York City. Lawns and flowers were replanted, dead trees and bushes were replaced, walls were sandblasted, and bridges were repaired. Another dramatic change was Moses's removal of the "Hoover valley" shantytown, whose site was transformed into the 30 acres (12 ha) Great Lawn.[43] Major redesigning and construction also was carried out: for instance, the Croton Lower Reservoir was filled in so the Great Lawn could be created. The Greensward Plan's purpose of creating an idyllic landscape was combined with Moses' vision of a park to be used for recreational purposes: 19 playgrounds, 12 ball fields, and handball courts were constructed. Moses managed to secure funds from the New Deal program, as well as donations from the public.[44] He also created the 67th Street Transverse, widened West Drive, and evicted the sheep from Sheep Meadow.[42]:984

The "Events Era" and second decline[edit]

The Dairy, pictured in modern times Look out point on the lake at Central Park, one of four rustic landing stages on the Lake Looking west out of Central Park in November 2001

The 1960s marked the beginning of an "Events Era" in Central Park that reflected the widespread cultural and political trends of the period. The Public Theater's annual Shakespeare in the Park festival was settled in the Delacorte Theater in 1961, and summer performances were instituted on the Sheep Meadow, and then on the Great Lawn by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera. During the late 1960s, the park became the venue for rallies and cultural events such as the "Love-ins" and "Be-Ins" of the period. In 1966, Mayor John Lindsay, an avid cyclist, initiated a weekend ban on automobiles in Central Park for the enjoyment of cyclists and public alike – a policy that continues.[45] Increasingly through the 1970s, the park became a venue for events of unprecedented scale, including rallies, demonstrations, festivals, and concerts.

Despite the increasing numbers of visitors to the park, Robert Moses' departure in 1960 marked the beginning of a 20-year period of decline in its management. The city was experiencing economic and social changes, with some residents leaving the city and moving to the suburbs in the wake of increased crime. The Parks Department, suffering from budget cuts, responded by opening the park to any and all activities that would bring people into it, without adequate oversight and maintenance follow-up. Some of these events nevertheless became milestones in the social history of the park and in the cultural history of the city.[46]

By the mid-1970s, however, managerial neglect was taking a toll on the park's condition. "Years of poor management and inadequate maintenance had turned a masterpiece of landscape architecture into a virtual dustbowl by day and a danger zone by night", in the opinion of Douglas Blonsky, a president of the Central Park Conservancy.[47] Vandalism, territorial use (e.g. a pick-up game of softball or association football, which commandeered open space and excluded others), and illicit activities were taking place in the park. Several volunteer citizen groups emerged, intent upon reclaiming the park by fundraising and organizing volunteer initiatives. One of these groups, the Central Park Community Fund, commissioned a study of the park's management. The study's conclusion was bi-linear; it called for establishment of a single position within the New York City Parks Department, responsible for overseeing both the planning and management of Central Park, as well as a board of guardians to provide citizen oversight.[46]

In 1979, Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis established the Office of Central Park Administrator, appointing to the position the executive director of another citizen organization, the Central Park Task Force.[46] The Central Park Conservancy was founded the following year, to support the office and initiatives of the administrator and to provide consistent leadership through a self-perpetuating, citizen-based board that also would include as ex-officio trustees, the Parks Commissioner, the Central Park Administrator, and mayoral appointees.[46]

Restoration and second renovation[edit]

Under the leadership of the Central Park Conservancy, the park's reclamation began with modest but highly significant first steps, addressing needs that could not be met within the existing structure and resources of the parks department. Interns were hired and a small restoration staff to reconstruct and repair unique rustic features, undertaking horticultural projects, and removing graffiti under the broken windows theory;[46] currently the state of the park has improved, according to Conservancy president Douglas Blonsky:

Graffiti doesn't last 24 hours in Central Park; visible litter gets carted off by 9 each morning and throughout the day. Our workers empty trash receptacles daily (at least) and maintain lawns with tremendous care. Broken benches and playground equipment get fixed on the spot.[47]

1980s–90s renovations[edit]

The Great Lawn before renovations in the late 1970s...

... and after renovations in the 1980s.

By 1980, the Conservancy was also engaged in design efforts and long-term restoration planning, using both its own staff and external consultants. It provided the impetus and leadership for several early restoration projects funded by the city, preparing a comprehensive plan for rebuilding the park. The restoration was accompanied by a crucial restructuring of management, whereby the park was subdivided into zones, to each of which a supervisor was designated, responsible for maintaining restored areas. That year, the Dairy (which was originally designed as a refreshment stand and rest spot) was transformed into the park's first visitor's center, with the Conservancy using it to revitalize public interest in the park through exhibits, music series, and children's programs. The first landscape to be restored was the Sheep Meadow, primarily with funds provided by New York State. During the next few years, Bethesda Terrace and Fountain, Belvedere Castle, and the East Green were restored.

Bethesda Fountain, which had been dry for decades, was restored in 1980–81[48] and the Terrace was restored a year later, its stonework disassembled, cleaned, deteriorated surfaces removed, restored, patched, and reset. Resodding, and fifty new trees, 3,500 shrubs and 3,000 ground cover plants specified by Philip Winslow followed in 1986,[49] most of which, having matured into dense blocks, were removed in 2008, to make way for plants native to the United States. Around the same time, the Belvedere Castle, which had been closed for many years, was renovated and reopened on May 1, 1983, as the Henry Luce Nature Observatory.

By 1982, the Chess & Checkers House and Frisbee Hill had been restored; thousands of shrubs and flowers asserted the park as a horticultural showpiece. To tend to those plants, more than 1,900 volunteers contributed more than 4,000 hours of work in the park. On completion of the planning stage in 1985, the conservancy launched its first capital campaign, assuming increasing responsibility for funding the park's restoration, and full responsibility for designing, bidding, and supervising all capital projects in the park.[46] The Conservancy launched its first fundraising campaign in 1986, mapping out a 15-year restoration plan that sought to remain true to the original design. Over the next several years, Campaign for the Central Park Conservancy restored landmarks in the southern part of the park – Grand Army Plaza,[50] Shakespeare Garden, and Cedar Hill. By 1988, Conservancy volunteers logged more than 13,000 hours in the park, with the organization's volunteer program winning a citation for excellence from the White House.

View of Heckscher Playground and skyline from Rat Rock (April 2015)

In the early 1990s, the Conservancy announced a $50 million capital campaign to focus on improvements to the northern end of the park. Efforts culminated in the restoration of the Mall and Concert Ground, Harlem Meer, and the Ravine in the North Woods. The Conservancy's work on the Meer and the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center was subsequently honored with three awards: the 1994 New York City Landmarks Preservation Award, the American Society of Landscape Architects' Design Merit Award and the Victorian Society's Citation of Merit. In 1996, the Conservancy embarked on its most ambitious landscape restoration: the overhaul of the 55 acres (22 hectares) including and surrounding the Great Lawn and Turtle Pond (formerly the Great Lawn and the Belvedere Lake).[51] The project was the centerpiece of the Conservancy's three-year Wonder of New York Campaign, which raised $71.5 million and also helped restore southern and westside landscapes, as well as the North Meadow. The Great Lawn project was completed in 1997, featuring new amenities to encourage passive and active recreation as well as nature appreciation.

Citywide budget cuts in the early 1990s, however, resulted in attrition of the park's routine maintenance staff, and the conservancy began hiring staff to replace these workers. Management of the restored landscapes by the conservancy's "zone gardeners" proved so successful that core maintenance and operations staff were reorganized in 1996. The zone-based system of management was implemented throughout the park, which was divided into 49 zones. Zone gardeners supervise volunteers assigned to them; these volunteers commit to a consistent work schedule and are supported by specialized crews in areas of maintenance requiring specific expertise or equipment, or more effectively conducted on a park-wide basis. In 2007, there were 3,000 volunteers compared to just under 250 paid workers in the park.[46][47]

2000s renovations[edit]

Central Park after renovations

Conservatory Water after renovation

Renovated Bethesda Fountain Plaza in 2010

Oak Bridge spanning Bank Rock Bay was replaced in 2009 following Calvert Vaux's original design of 1860

Renovations continued through the early 2000s. The Conservatory Water opened after a six-month restoration effort, with a $4 million project beginning on the 59th Street Pond, one of the park's most visible and heavily used landscapes. A new Reservoir fence was installed in 2003 under a $2 million capital project that replaced the old chain-link fence with a replica of the 8,000-foot long steel and cast-iron one that had enclosed the Reservoir in 1926. The new fence, along with removal of invasive trees and shrubs, restored the panoramic views of the park and Manhattan skyline.

Another ambitious restoration effort began in 2004, when Conservancy staff and contractors worked together to refurbish the 15,876 Minton tiles that hang on the ceiling of the Bethesda Arcade. Originally designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, the ceiling of the Arcade is lined by 15,876 elaborately patterned encaustic tiles. Made by Minton and Company, a leading 19th-century ceramic manufacturer in England, the ceiling tiles are divided into 49 panels, each containing 324 tiles. Salt and water infiltration from the roadway above had badly damaged the tiles, leaving their backing plates so corroded they had to be removed in the 1980s.[52] The tiles sat in storage for more than 20 years until the Conservancy received a generous private donation for their restoration. The Conservancy embarked on a $7 million restoration effort to return the Minton tiles to their original luster in 2004. A team of seven conservation technicians cleaned and repaired more than 14,000 original tiles by hand. Only three panels of replica tiles were needed to replace those that had been damaged beyond repair. For those recreations, the Conservancy decided to commission Maw and Company, Minton's successor in Stoke-on-Trent, England. The completed Bethesda Terrace Arcade was unveiled to much fanfare in March 2007. In 2006, the Conservancy completed a nine-month renovation of the Mall in a project that returned the landscape to its original character and ensured the protection of its great American Elms.

The Lake was the last of Central Park's bodies of water to be renovated by the Central Park Conservancy, in a project to enhance both its ecological[note 1] and scenic aspects. In the summer of 2007, the first phase of a restoration of the Lake and its shoreline plantings commenced, with replanting using native shrubs and understory trees around the northern end of the Lake, from Bank Rock Bay – a narrow cove in the northwest corner that had become a silted-up algae-covered stand of aggressively invasive Phragmites reeds – to Bow Bridge, which received replicas of its four original Italianate cast-iron vases, overspilling with annuals. In the earliest stages, invasive non-native plants like Japanese knotweed were eradicated, the slopes were regraded with added humus and protected with landscaping burlap to stabilize the slopes while root systems became established and leaf litter developed.

During the same time, Bank Rock Bridge, also called Cabinet Bridge, across the mouth of the cove was recreated in carved oak with cast-iron panels and pine decking, its original materials, following Vaux's original design of 1859–60.[53] The cascade, where the Gill empties into the lake, was reconstructed to approximate its dramatic original form, inspired by paintings of Asher B. Durand. Sections of the Lake were dredged of accumulated silt – topsoil that had washed off the surrounding slopes – and the island formerly in the lake, which gradually eroded below water level, was reconstructed in the summer of 2007 with rugged boulders along its shoreline, graded wetland areas, and submerged planting shelves for water-loving native plants, like Pickerel weed.[54]

Oak Bridge, the major entrance to the Ramble from the Upper West Side, which spans Bank Rock Bay in the Lake's northwest corner, is a picturesque feature and was recreated in 2009 based off Calvert Vaux's original drawings. The bridge, built in 1860 of white oak with decorative openwork panels of cast iron, has been recreated in steel clad in ornamental cast iron facings, with a wooden deck. Restoration of further sections of the Lake's shoreline landscapes was undertaken, and the first renovated sections were opened to visitors in April 2008.[55]


On October 23, 2012, hedge fund manager John A. Paulson announced a $100 million gift to the Central Park Conservancy, the largest ever monetary donation to New York City's park system.[56]

Since the 1960s, there has been a grassroots campaign to restore the park's loop drives to their original car-free state. Over the years, the number of car-free hours[57] has increased, though a full closure is currently resisted by the New York City Department of Transportation. Legislation was proposed in October 2014 to conduct a study to make the park car-free in summer 2015.[58] In 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the permanent closure of West and East Drives north of 72nd Street to vehicular traffic as it was proven that closing the roads did not adversely impact traffic.[59] The law was to take into effect permanently north of 72nd Street.[60]

Points of interest[edit]

Visitor attractions[edit]

Visitor attractions include:

Art and architecture[edit]


A total of 29 sculptures by sculptors such as Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Emma Stebbins, and John Quincy Adams Ward have been erected over the years, most donated by individuals or organizations. Much of the first statuary placed was of authors and poets, in an area now known as Literary Walk. Some of the sculptures are:

  • Alice in Wonderland Margaret Delacorte Memorial (1959), a sculpture of Alice by sculptor José de Creeft, landscape architect Hideo Sasaki, and designer Ferando Texidor at the Central Park Conservatory Pond
  • Angel of the Waters at Bethesda Terrace by Emma Stebbins (1873), the first large public sculpture commission for an American woman
  • Balto (1925), a statue of Balto, the sled dog who became famous during the 1925 serum run to Nome
  • Duke Ellington Memorial (dedicated in 1997), by sculptor Robert Graham, near Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, in the Duke Ellington Circle
  • King Jagiello Monument, a bronze monument on the east end of Turtle Pond
Structures and exhibitions[edit]
  • Cleopatra's Needle is a red granite obelisk. The "Cleopatra's Needle" in Central Park is one of three; there also is one in Paris and one in London. Each obelisk is approximately 68–69 feet tall and weigh about 180 tons. They originally were erected at the Temple of Ra in Heliopolis in Ancient Egypt around 1450 BC by the Pharaoh Thutmose III. The hieroglyphs were inscribed about two hundred years later by Pharaoh Rameses II to glorify his military victories. The obelisks were all moved during the reign of Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar when Ancient Egypt was under the control of Rome. They were brought to Alexandria and erected as tribute to Julius Caesar, in front of the Caesarium, a temple originally built by Cleopatra VII of Egypt in honor of Mark Antony, thus the name "Cleopatra's Needle".[61] There are two versions of how the Central Park Cleopatra's Needle made its way to Central Park: either it was a gift from the Khedive of Egypt, Isma'il Pasha, or it was stolen through the machinations of William H. Vanderbilt who paid the tab to have the obelisk shipped to New York and erected. The obelisk arrived in New York in July 1880; it took thirty-two horses hitched in sixteen pairs to pull the obelisk to the park. It was erected in an official ceremony on January 22, 1881.
  • Strawberry Fields: On October 9, 1985, on what would have been John Lennon's 45th birthday, New York City dedicated 2.5 acres (1.0 hectare) to his memory. Countries from all around the world contributed trees, and Italy donated the iconic "Imagine" mosaic. It has since become the sight of impromptu memorial gatherings for other notables, and in the days following the September 11, 2001 attacks, candlelight vigils were held there.
  • The Gates: For sixteen days in 2005 (February 12–27), Central Park was the setting for Christo and Jeanne-Claude's installation The Gates.[62] Although the project was the subject of mixed reactions (and it took many years for Christo and Jeanne-Claude to get the necessary approvals), it was nevertheless a major, if temporary, draw for the park.[63]
  • George Delacorte Musical Clock, a gift George T. Delacorte dedicated in 1965 that is mounted above the arcade between the Wildlife Center and the Children's Zoo in Manhattan's Central Park[64]

Geographic features[edit]

Geographic features include:

Congregating at the top of Rat Rock

There are four different types of bedrock in Manhattan. In Central Park, Manhattan schist and Hartland schist, which are both metamorphosed sedimentary rock, are exposed in various outcroppings. The other two types, Fordham gneiss (an older deeper layer) and Inwood marble (metamorphosed limestone which overlays the gneiss), do not surface in the park.[65] Fordham gneiss, which consists of metamorphosed igneous rocks, was formed a billion years ago, during the Grenville orogeny that occurred during the creation of an ancient super-continent. It is the oldest rock in the Canadian Shield, the most ancient part of the North American tectonic plate. Manhattan schist and Hartland schist were formed in the Iapetus Ocean during the Taconic orogeny in the Paleozoic era, about 450 million years ago. During this period the tectonic plates began to move toward each other, which resulted in the creation of the supercontinent Pangaea.[66]

Cameron's Line is a fault zone that traverses Central Park on an east-west axis.[67]

Various glaciers have covered the area of Central Park in the past, with the most recent being the Wisconsin glacier which receded about 12,000 years ago. Evidence of past glaciers are visible throughout the park in the form of glacial erratics (large boulders dropped by the receding glacier) and north-south glacial striations visible on stone outcroppings.

One such outcrop is Rat Rock at 40°46′10″N 73°58′40″W / 40.769361°N 73.977655°W / 40.769361; -73.977655, named after the rats that used to swarm there at night but also known as 'Umpire Rock'.[68][69] Located near the southwest corner of the park, the outcrop is roughly circular, about 55 feet (17 m) wide and 15 feet (4.6 m) tall with different east, west, and north faces.[70]Boulderers usually congregate there, as many as fifty per day, with some being regulars, and others being tourists;[69] the quality of the stone is poor, and the climbs present so little challenge that it has been called "one of America's most pathetic boulders".[70] The park police formerly ticketed climbers who climbed more than a few feet up the rock, but the City Climbers Club approached the park authorities and, by working to provide safety features such as wood chips around the base, they were able to legalize climbing there.[70]


Central Park is home to seven bodies of water, all artificial. The largest lake is the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, so named since 1994.[71] It was constructed between 1858 and 1862. Covering an area of 106 acres (43 ha) between 86th and 96th Streets, the reservoir reaches a depth of more than 40 feet (12 m) in places and contains about 1 billion US gallons (3.8 billion litres) of water.[72] The Reservoir is best known to New Yorkers for the jogging track around it.

The Ramble and Lake south of the Great Lawn covers nearly 18 acres (7.3 ha). Built on a former swamp, it was designed by Olmsted and Vaux to accommodate boats in the summer and ice skaters in winter. The Lake was opened to skaters in December 1858, while the rest of the park was still under construction.[73] At the northern end of the park, at 110th Street, the Harlem Meer, named in honor of one of the first communities in the region, covers nearly 11 acres (4.5 ha). Located in a wooded area of oak, cypress, and beech trees, it was built after the completion of the southern portion of the park. Harlem Meer also allows visitors to fish, on a catch and release basis.[74] In the southeast corner is the Pond, with an area of 3.5 acres (1.4 ha). The Pond is located near one of the busiest entrances to Central Park but still provides an atmosphere of calm and solitude.[75]



Central Park, home to over 25,000 trees and has a stand of 1,700 American elms, one of the largest remaining stands in the northeastern U.S., protected by their isolation from the Dutch elm disease that devastated the tree throughout its native range.

A partial listing of the tree species found in Central Park, both natives and exotics, includes:


Many water birds live in Central Park
  • Birds: The first official list of birds observed in Central Park, numbering 235 species, was published in Forest and Stream on June 10, 1886, by Augustus G. Paine, Jr., and Lewis B. Woodruff.[76][77] Over the decades the list has been updated and changed. The park is frequented by various migratory species of birds during their spring and fall migration on the Atlantic Flyway. Over a quarter of all the bird species found in the United States have been seen in Central Park. One of these species is the red-tailed hawk, which re-established a presence in the park when a male hawk known as Pale Male for his light coloration, nested on a building on Fifth Avenue, across the street from the park in 1991. He became a local media celebrity and a prolific breeder. Central Park was the site of the misguided unleashing of European starlings in North America, a native of Eurasia which has become an invasive species. In April 1890, eighty birds were released by Eugene Schieffelin and the following March another eighty; these one hundred and sixty birds are the progenitors of the flocks which now span the United States and parts of Canada.
  • Mammals:
  • Arthropods
    • In 2002 a new genus and species of centipede (Nannarrup hoffmani) was discovered in Central Park. At about 0.4 inches (10 mm) long, it is one of the smallest centipedes in the world.
  • Beetles
    • Since the late 1990s,[78] the Central Park Conservancy, the United States Department of Agriculture, and several city and state agencies have been fighting an infestation of the Asian long-horned beetle, which has been reported in Long Island and Manhattan, including some parts of Central Park.[79] The beetle, which likely was accidentally shipped from its native China in an untreated shipping crate, has no natural predators in the United States, and the fight to contain its infestation has been very expensive. The beetle infests trees by boring a hole in them to deposit its eggs, at which point the only way to end the infestation is to destroy the tree. Several thousand trees were infected in the city and later removed, including 2 trees that were removed from Central Park.[80]



A wooded section of the park, called the Ramble and Lake, is popular among birders. Many species of woodland birds, especially warblers, may be seen in the Ramble in the spring and the fall.

Rowboats and kayaks are rented on an hourly basis at the Loeb Boathouse, which also houses a restaurant overlooking the Lake. As early as 1922,[81] model power boating was popular on park waters.

Leisure tours[edit]

The tradition of carriage horses in New York City was revived in 1935.[82] The carriages have appeared in many films, and the first female horse and carriage driver, Maggie Cogan, appeared in a Universal newsreel in 1967.[83] As such, they have become a symbolic institution of the city. After the September 11 attacks, in a much-publicized event, Mayor Rudolph Giuliani went to the stables himself to ask the drivers to go back to work to help return a sense of normality.[82]

Some activists such as NYCLASS, as well as politicians, have questioned the ethics of this tradition.[84][85] The history of accidents involving spooked horses has come under scrutiny with recent horse deaths.[86] Protests from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and celebrities including Alec Baldwin, Alecia Beth Moore and Cheryl Hines have raised the issue's profile.[87][88] Additional media accounts have corroborated some charges, but they have also shown that the standards vary from stable to stable.[89]

Both activists and horse owners agree that part of the problem is lack of enforcement of the city code.[89] Supporters of the trade say it needs to be reformed, not shut down, and that carriage drivers deserve a raise, which the city has not authorized since 1989.[90] Paris, London, Beijing, and several U.S. cities have banned carriage horses.[91] Replacements for the carriage horses may include electric vintage cars.[92][93]

Pedicabs operate mostly in the southern part of the park, the same part as horse carriages.[94] Such vehicles have more recently offered visitors a more dynamic way in which to view the park; covering three to ten times the distance of a typical Central Park horse carriage ride, pedicabs have become very popular with visitors and New Yorkers alike;[95] also, they are being eyed as another replacement for the carriage horses.


Skating Pond, Central Park, c. 1862

Park Drive, just over 6 miles (9.7 km) long, is heavily used by runners, joggers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and inline skaters.

On most weekends, running races take place in the park, many of which are organized by the New York Road Runners. The New York City Marathon finishes in Central Park outside Tavern on the Green. Many other professional races are run in the park, including the 2008 USA Men's 8k Championships. Baseball fields are numerous, and there are also courts for volleyball, tennis, croquet and lawn bowling. The park is home to several competitive running clubs, including Central Park Track Club.

Central Park has two ice skating rinks, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink; during summer, the former is the site of Victorian Gardens seasonal amusement park, and the latter converts to an outdoor swimming pool.

The park drives are used as the home course for the Century Road Club Association's racing series. The CRCA is a USA Cycling sanctioned amateur cycling club.[96]

Central Park's glaciated rock outcroppings attract climbers, especially boulderers. The two most renowned spots for boulderers are Rat Rock and Cat Rock; others include Dog Rock, Duck Rock, Rock N' Roll Rock, and Beaver Rock, near the south end of the park.[97]


Central Park has twenty-one playgrounds for children located throughout the park; the largest, at 3 acres (12,000 m2), is Heckscher Playground named for August Heckscher. The current Central Park Carousel, installed in 1951, is one of the largest merry-go-rounds in the United States. The fifty-eight hand-carved horses and two chariots were made by Solomon Stein and Harry Goldstein in 1908. The carousel originally was installed in Coney Island in Brooklyn.

The Central Park Zoo is part of a system of four zoos and one aquarium that is managed by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The zoo is home to an indoor rainforest, a leafcutter ant colony, a chilled penguin house, and a polar bear pool.

Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre is located in the Swedish Cottage. The building was originally a model schoolhouse built in Sweden. Made of native pine and cedar, it was disassembled and rebuilt in the U.S. as Sweden's exhibit for the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. Frederick Law Olmsted moved the cottage to its present site in 1877.


Central Park is home to two indoor restaurants. The famed New York City restaurant Tavern on the Green is located on the park's grounds at Central Park West and West 67th Street. It was originally the sheepfold that housed the sheep that grazed Sheep Meadow, built to a design by Calvert Vaux in 1870. It became a restaurant as part of a 1934 renovation of the park under Robert Moses. In 1974, Warner LeRoy took over the restaurant's lease and reopened it in 1976 after $10 million in renovations including the addition of a glass-enclosed Crystal Room overlooking the restaurant's garden (one of several dining rooms), which doubled the seating capacity to 800.[98] The restaurant closed in 2009 and reopened on April 24, 2014, after a renovation.[99]

The Loeb Boathouse restaurant is the other indoor restaurant in Central Park. Located at the Loeb Boathouse on The Lake, it was designed in 1874, destroyed in 1950, and rebuilt in 1954 on the East Side between 74th and 75th Streets.[100]


The oldest free classical music concert series in the United States, the Naumburg Orchestral Concerts – founded in 1905 – presents concerts in the park's only neo-classical building, the Naumburg Bandshell on the Concert Ground, each summer. The concerts feature promising new talent and promote the professional development of young composers and conductors.

Summerstage features free musical concerts throughout the summer

Central Park has given birth to other arts groups dedicated to performing in the park, notably Central Park Brass, which performs an annual concert series, and the New York Classical Theatre, which produces an annual series of plays.

Each summer, there are several events happening in the park. The Public Theater presents free open-air theatre productions, often starring well-known stage and screen actors. The Delacorte Theater is the summer performing venue of the New York Shakespeare Festival, where most, although not all, of the plays presented are by William Shakespeare, and the performances are generally regarded as being of high quality since its founding by Joseph Papp in 1962. The New York Philharmonic gives an open-air concert on the Great Lawn yearly during the summer. City Parks Foundation has offered Central Park Summerstage since 1985, a series of free performances including music, dance, spoken word, and film presentations, often featuring famous performers; the Summerstage facility also has non-free concerts that are branded under different names. Since 1992, local singer-songwriter David Ippolito has performed almost every summer weekend to large crowds of passers-by and regulars and has become a New York icon, often simply referred to as "That guitar man from Central Park". From 1967 until 2007, the Metropolitan Opera presented two operas in concert each year. The Fifth Avenue Mile is along the east side of the park between 80th and 60th Streets each September.[101]

Many popular one-time concerts have been given in the park including Barbra Streisand, 1967; The Supremes, 1970; Carole King, 1973; Bob Marley and The Wailers, 1975; America, 1979; Elton John, 1980; the Simon and Garfunkel reunion, 1981; Diana Ross, 1983; Paul Simon, 1991; Garth Brooks, 1997; Sheryl Crow, 1999; Dave Matthews Band, 2003; Bon Jovi, 2008;[102] and Andrea Bocelli, 2011. Central Park was the location of the largest concert ever on record when country superstar Garth Brooks performed a free concert in August 1997, to which about 980,000 had attended.[103]


Public transport[edit]

The New York City Subway's IND Eighth Avenue Line runs along the western edge of the park, with a transfer station to the IRT Broadway–Seventh Avenue Line at Columbus Circle. In addition, the IRT Lenox Avenue Line has a station at Central Park North. From there the line curves southwest under the park, and heads west under 104th Street, and the BMT Broadway Line has a station at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street.


Central Park is surrounded by four roadways: Central Park North, Central Park South, Central Park West, and Fifth Avenue. There are four plazas, one on each corner of the park: Frederick Douglass Circle on the northwest, Duke Ellington Circle on the northeast, Columbus Circle at the southwest, and Grand Army Plaza at the southeast. There are also four transverse roadways: 65th–66th Streets, 79th–81st Streets, 86th Street, and 96th Street. The park has three roadways that travel it vertically: West, Center, and East Drives.

Vertical drives[edit]
West Drive in Central Park

West Drive is the westernmost of the park's three vertical "drives". The southbound-running road is described as "... concealed in sunken roadways and screened with densely planted shrub belts, creating a country-road feel in the center of the city." In the early 20th century, the drive was a popular place for carriage rides.[104] A painting by Gifford Beal shows a picture of West Drive depicted with a horse and buggy.[105] However, the drive is also dangerous; in 2014, a 0.5-mile (0.80 km) stretch of West Drive was considered to be "the most dangerous section of Central Park" for pedestrians, with bicycle crashes along the drive leaving 15 people injured.[106]

Center Drive in Central Park

Center Drive (also known as the "Central Park Lower Loop"[107]) connects northbound traffic from Midtown at West Drive and Sixth Avenue near the 65th Street Transverse. The street generally goes east and then north, forming the bottom part of the Central Park loop. The attractions along this street include the Victorian Gardens Amusement Park, the Central Park Carousel and the Central Park Mall.

East Drive, the easternmost of the three drives, connects northbound traffic from Midtown to the Upper West Side at Lenox Avenue. The street is renowned for its country scenery and free concerts. It generally straddles the east side of the park along Fifth Avenue. The drive passes by the Central Park Zoo around 63rd Street and the Metropolitan Museum of Art around the 80th to 84th Street area. The drive is also one of the legs of the New York Marathon. It is known as the "Elite Carriage Parade", because at the time of the park's opening, only 5 percent of the city was able to afford the carriage; of this, Walt Whitman said that the carriage parade was "an impressive, rich, interminable circus on a grand scale, full of action and color."[108]

Central Park was once a very dangerous place, especially after dark, as measured by crime statistics. The park is considerably safer in the 21st century, though during prior periods it was the site of numerous muggings and rapes. Well-publicized incidents of sexual and confiscatory violence, such as the notorious 1989 Central Park jogger case,[109][110] dissuaded many from visiting one of Manhattan's most scenic areas. Fear was also directed to the gay community after WWII from a panic of sex crimes.[111][112] As crime has declined in the park and in the rest of New York City, many of the negative perceptions have begun to wane. Safety measures hold the number of crimes in the park to fewer than one hundred per year, down from approximately 1,000 in the early 1980s.[113]

On June 11, 2000, following the Puerto Rican Day Parade, gangs of drunken men sexually assaulted women in the park.[114] Several arrests were made shortly after the attacks, but it was not until 2006 that a civil suit against the city for failing to provide police protection was finally settled.[115]

Permission to hold issue-centered rallies in Central Park, similar to the be-ins of the 1960s, has been met with increasingly stiff resistance from the city. During some 2004 protests, the organization United for Peace and Justice wanted to hold a rally on the Great Lawn during the Republican National Convention. The city denied application for a permit, stating that such a mass gathering would be harmful to the grass and that such damage would make it harder to collect private donations to maintain the park.[116] Courts upheld the refusal.[117]

During the 2000s and early 2010s, new towers were constructed along the southern end of Central Park. According to a Municipal Art Society report, such buildings cast shadows over the southern end of the park. There has been some controversy over this.[118]


  • The Lake and San Remo apartments in the background

  • One of the park's bridges; no two are alike.[119]

  • Passage under Bethesda Terrace

  • Aerial view of Central Park

  • Bridge in Central Park, designed by Calvert Vaux, separates pedestrians from the carriage drive.

  • Hans Christian Andersen Statue

  • View of Harlem Meer and Dana Discovery Center

  • Cleopatra's Needle, Central Park

  1. ^ "Its increasing significance as a wildlife habitat" was noted on the Conservancy's on-site information boards.


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Further reading[edit]

  • "1857 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1857. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1858 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1858. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1859 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1859. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1860 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1860. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1861 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1861. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1862 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1862. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1863 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1863. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1864 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1864. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1865 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1865. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1867 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1867. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1868 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1868. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "1869 Central Park Commissioners Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1869. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "Architects' Report To the Board of Commissioners of the Central Park, New York" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1858. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "Communication to the Comissioners of Central Park" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1866. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "Documents of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park for the Year Ending April 30, 1858" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1858. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • "Documents of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park for the Year Ending January 30, 1859" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. 1859. Retrieved January 13, 2017. 
  • Kelly, Bruce; Guillet, Gail T.; Hern, Mary Ellen W. (1981). Art of the Olmsted Landscape. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission; Arts Publisher. ISBN 0-941302-00-8. 
  • Kinkead, Eugene (1990). Central Park, 1857-1995: The Birth, Decline, and Renewal of a National Treasure. New York: Norton. ISBN 0-393-02531-4. 
  • Martin, Douglas (January 31, 1997). "A Village Dies, A Park Is Born". The New York Times. 
  • Miller, Sara Cedar (2003). Central Park, An American Masterpiece: A Comprehensive History of the Nation's First Urban Park. New York: Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-3946-0. 
  • Rosenzweig, Roy; Blackmar, Elizabeth (1992). The Park and the People: A History of Central Park. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. ISBN 0-8014-9751-5. 
  • Schuyler, David. Parks in Urban America. Oxford University Press. 
  • Swerdlow, Joel L (May 1993). "Central Park – Oasis in the city". National Geographic. 
  • Taylor, Dorceta E. (2009). "section 3". The Environment and the People in American Cities, 1600s-1900s: Disorder, Inequality, and Social Change. Duke University Press. ISBN 978-0-8223-4451-3. 
  • Voorsanger, Catherine Hoover; Howat, John K., eds. (2000). Art and the empire city: New York, 1825-1861. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art. ISBN 9780870999574. 
  • Wiseman, Frederick (director) (1990). Central Park (motion picture). 
  • Van Buren, Alex (2016). "12 Secrets of New York’s Central Park". Smithsonian Magazine. 

External links[edit]

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