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Central Park

CENTRAL PARK

CENTRAL PARK. The first landscaped public park in the United States, built primarily between the 1850s and 1870s, encompassing 843 acres in New York City between Fifth Avenue and Eighth Avenue and running from 59th Street to 110th Street.

New York bought the land for Central Park—and removed about 1,600 immigrants and African Americans who lived there—at the behest of the city's elite, who were embarrassed by European claims that America lacked refinement and believed a park would serve as a great cultural showpiece. The original plans of architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux sought to re-create the country in the city, but over the years, the story of


Central Park has been the story of how a diverse population changed it to meet various needs.

At first, Central Park catered almost exclusively to the rich, who used its drives for daily carriage parades. Though some working-class New Yorkers visited the park on Sunday, most lacked leisure time and streetcar fare, and they resented the park's strict rules, including the infamous prohibition against sitting on the grass. By the 1880s, however, shorter workdays and higher wages made park attendance more convenient for the poor and recent immigrants. With additions such as boat and goat rides, the zoo, Sunday concerts, and restaurants, Central Park's focus gradually shifted from nature to amusement. During the Great Depression, the powerful parks commissioner Robert Moses continued this trend, financing massive improvements, including more than twenty new playgrounds, with New Deal money.

In many ways, the 1970s marked Central Park's low point. Though never as dangerous as reported, the park experienced a dramatic increase in crime, and it came to represent New York's urban decay. Moreover, New York's fiscal crisis decimated the park budget, and in the 1980s, the city gave up full public control by forming a partner-ship with the private Central Park Conservancy. Today, Central Park symbolizes New York's grandeur, as its aristocratic founders expected. They never dreamed it would also serve the recreational needs of a city of 8 million people.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Olmsted, Frederick Law. Creating Central Park, 1857–1861. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983.

Rosenzweig, Roy, and Elizabeth Blackmar. The Parkand the People: A History of Central Park. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1992.

JeremyDerfner

See alsoCity Planning ; Landscape Architecture ; Recreation .

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"Central Park." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Central Park

Central Park, 840 acres (340 hectares), the largest park in Manhattan, New York City; bordered by 59th St. on the south, Fifth Ave. on the east, 110th St. on the north, and Central Park West on the west. The land was acquired by the city in 1856; in the process several small communities were razed, one of the largest being Seneca Village, a settlement of some 250 working-class blacks. The park was built according to the plans of U.S. landscape architects Frederick L. Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, which took twenty years to implement. The park has rolling terrain with lakes and ponds, greeneries, bridle paths, walks, and park drives. There are many playgrounds and other recreational facilities, including the Wollman Skating Rink. The Metropolitan Museum of Art stands in the park on Fifth Ave.; other points of interest include a formal garden, a zoo, an Egyptian obelisk popularly called "Cleopatra's Needle," a New York City reservoir, and the Mall. In the open-air Delacorte Theater, Shakespearean dramas and other plays are presented free of charge. The private Central Park Conservancy works with New York City to preserve and improve the park.

See studies by E. Kinkead (1990), E. Blackmar and R. Rosenzweig (1992), and S. C. Miller (2003).

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"Central Park." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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Central Park in the Dark in the Good Old Summertime

Central Park in the Dark in the Good Old Summertime (or A Contemplation of Nothing Serious). Work for chamber orch. by Ives, comp. 1906.

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"Central Park in the Dark in the Good Old Summertime." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Encyclopedia.com. 19 Nov. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Central Park in the Dark in the Good Old Summertime." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Music. . Retrieved November 19, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/central-park-dark-good-old-summertime