The central park lung of the Big Apple

The central park lung of the Big Apple

The central park lung of the Big Apple is located in New York City, more precisely in the Manhattan neighborhood, we find a green public recreation space called Central Park or Central Park in Spanish. This is managed under the private non-profit company Central Park Conservancy contracted by the Parks and Leisure Department of New York. The park has 3.41 square kilometers and draws a rectangle of 4 km by 800 meters. It is one of the most beautiful and famous parks in the world, and due to its beautiful scenery it has been the scene of many films and television programs. It is also chosen by bird migrations which in turn attracts an immense number of bird watchers.

The park has artificial areas such as lakes, two ice rinks for skating and spaces used for sports, still preserving its natural appearance. The designers of the park were Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted, who later became the creators of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

The park is surrounded by busy streets, like this: to the east with Fifth Avenue, to the south with 59 Street or also called Central Park South, to the north with 110 street, also called Central Park North, and to the west with the so-called Central Park West that retains its name as well as Fifth Avenue.

Central Park Project

Because of the super population that was taking place in the New York metropolitan area around the year 1821 and 1855, William Cullen Bryant, who was then the editor of the Evening Post (now New York Post) and Andrew Jackson Downing the American landscape architect, began to make public their ideas about the need to create an open space to which people could go as this idea was not part of the Commissioner’s Plan of 1811. His projects were based on creating a park in the Hyde style Park of London or the Bois de Boulogne of Paris. The project was immediately successful, supported by an immense multitude of New Yorkers and in 1853 the state of New York yielded 2.8 km² and a budget of 5 million dollars for the creation of a park located between 106th and 59th streets.

The state of New York arranged for the selection of a group of people so that the development of the park would be supervised. In order to choose those people, a competition was held in order to present designs for the park. The chosen one was the so-called Greensward Plan, where the landscape architect Clavert Vaux and the writer Frederick Law Olmsted participated.

The decade of the ’60 was the one that marked the beginning of political and cultural events that would take place in the park. Each year free theatrical festivals were held, attended by more than 80,000 people to attend the so-called “Shakespeare in the Park” event, where many actors began their careers, some known as Natalie Portman, Denzel Washington, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep , Morgan Freeman, among others.

In the mid-1970s the park fell victim to vandalism and illegal activity, its infrastructure, architecture and landscape deteriorating, which led citizens to organize campaigns to finance the restoration of the park. The Central Park Conservancy carried out various restorations as a horticultural implementation and the entry of trained personnel to repair and restore the park.
In 1980 this organization was in charge of carrying out the new planning and designs for the park.

Activities that can be performed

Sports : The walk of the park has approximately 10 kilometers, for that reason it is the chosen one by the athletes to realize any type of sport activity. Normally you can see many cyclists, runners and skaters, taking place in it, various competitions and marathons, many of which are organized by the New York Roads Runners. It is also ideal for horse riding, taking out various tournaments, such as the 8-kilometer men’s championship.

Puppet Theater: The puppet theater of the Swedish country house located in the park, is famous for being the perfect hostel for the entertainment of children. The carousel is a successful character that thrills all children since the construction of the park. In addition to these attractions, the park has 21 playgrounds fully equipped with recreational activities for children.

Entertainment: Every summer there are different theatrical festivals in Central Park, the most important is the renowned Shakespeare in the park, made since the beginning of the park or independent theater presentations like the Delacorte theater that take place outdoors. Concerts are also held and the New York Philharmonic annually performs, performing outdoors at the Metropolitan Opera or at the Great Lawn. Since its inception the park chose the best singer-songwriters such as Simon and Garfunkel in 1981, Dave Matthews Band in 2003 and Diana Ross in 1983 among many others.

The City Park Foundation carries out an endless number of activities every summer that are free and range from dances and concerts to film screenings and seminars. The space is called SummerStage and in 2005 he turned 20 and chose artists like Celia Cruz, Curtis Mayfield, and Toni Morrison among others, to celebrate them. The park’s famous caricaturists who were part of Zina Saunders’ Overlooked New York project are also concentrated in the place.

Sculptures: In 2005, Central Park hosted a major world exhibition The Gates, a project by Christo and Jeanne-Claude. Olmsted’s design completely discouraged the dissemination of statues in the park, so they decided to create a walk called The literary walk, which exhibits 31 sculptures, most of which have been donated by organizations that are not from the city and by anonymous people. Among the most famous sculptors who exhibit their pieces there are for example John Quincy Adams Ward and August Saint-Gaudens, Emma Stebbins with the angel of the waters, located in the Bethseda fountain that was the first statue of a woman in New York and He arrived at the park in 1893.

The Jedive of Egypt donated “The Needles of Cleopatra”, a sculpture that symbolizes an Egyptian obelisk of Thutmose III. Between 110th Street and Fifth Avenue stands a monument in memory of Duke Ellington, inaugurated in 1997 and that of King Ladislaus II of Poland, which in turn is the largest and most impressive statue of the park, located in the eastern part of Turtle Pond “Alice in Wonderland” is also one of the outstanding statues and is located north of the park’s greenhouse.

Security: The park has its own police department that does not travel in vehicles and provides service until 9 o’clock at night. According to a survey, being Central Park the most urban park in the world, it is still the safest. Although the crime decreased by presenting figures in 2005 of less than one hundred crimes per year taking into account the 25 million visitors who attend, the park continues to be insecure, mainly at dusk. In previous times the park has been the scene of rapes, robberies and usurpations, due to the lack of information since New York has always been known as the city that does not sleep. Anyway, in 1898 the Jogger of Central Park has been the cause of dissuading many tourists.

In Central Park every time it is more difficult to get a permit to hold celebrations for various reasons, for example during 2000, more precisely in June, a demonstration was held in the park because of Puerto Rico Day, where more than 30 men were arrested after causing riots and sexually assaulting women. In 2004 the United for Peace and Justice wanted to perform an act in the Great Lawn and this request was rejected, justifying that such act would demand the accumulation of many people who would damage the lawn. There have also been plans to ban access to cars in the park throughout the day, but even today access has not been completely closed.

The park has a voluntary ambulance service that provides free care to Central Park pedestrians and circulates through nearby streets. It also has bicycle patrollers, who work mainly in celebrations or events that take place there, such as marathons or games of goodwill. The area occupied by the park is very extensive and exceeds in size the two smallest nations in the world, being eight times the Vatican City and almost twice as large as Monaco. Annually it is visited by more than 25 million people, surpassing the Fairmount Park of Philadelphia and which exceeds them by 10 times its size.


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