|Tags: Central Park, environment, National Historic Landmark, New York Leisure, Parks
Central Park is an 843 acre public green space that is situated in the very center of Manhattan. It sits on public land owned by the city and is designated as a National Historic Landmark. Despite this designation, the park is not primarily funded by the government or staffed by civil employees. It is instead primarily funded and staffed through the Central Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is a non-profit organization that is responsible for contributing roughly 85% of the yearly budget to maintain Central Park. The Conservancy also employs nearly 80% of the park’s staff.
Central Park was not originally a part of the development scheme of New York City. In the early 1800s, the population of the city was not expected to expand so fast as to necessitate a designated public park space. However, the population explosion in New York of the mid-1800s led to a growing need for an open public space where people could escape the noise and chaos of city life. In 1853, the state legislature set aside 700 acres of land for use as the new grand park space of New York City. This was due primarily to extensive lobbying by wealthy New York City residents and many articles written on the subject in the New York Post. This led to the creation of the Central Park Commission that would be in charge of the park’s development.
In 1857, the Commission selected a design for the park that had been created by Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux. The design was unique in its use of separated circulation routes for different types of traffic. This was the first time that a park in the United States used concealed roadways to hide non-foot traffic in order to maintain a “natural” feel.
There were people living within the confines of the area set aside for Central Park. These were mostly low-income inhabitants and the destitute. The legislature enacted the rule of eminent domain to legally clear all of the inhabitants from the area. Some were given other accommodations while others were simply evicted and sent on their way. Some village areas were leveled to make way for the park.
The park was finished by 1873 and had become the largest public park construction project in United States history. The construction of the park saw some of the first instances of machines displacing manual labor workforces outside of a factory setting. Mechanical tree movers were used instead of the teams of men that had customarily been hired for such work. More than 18,000 cubic yards of soil were transported to the park due to the supposed “infertile” nature of the soil that was already on site. They also transplanted some 1,500 species of plants to the site and removed millions of tons of rocks and poor soil.
Popularity and Use
Central Park is one of the most heavily used areas of New York City and is visited by nearly 38 million visitors every year. The majority of these visitors are tourists from other parts of the country or world that take part in one of the many historical tours of the park. It is a popular recreational site for New York City residents. There are numerous baseball fields, running trails, rock climbing locations, and other recreational opportunities throughout Central Park. Vehicle traffic is prohibited on the roadways of Central Park after 7 pm every day of the week. This makes these roadways very popular with runners, walkers, and cyclists.
It was recently estimated that the real estate comprising Central Park is worth roughly $528,783,552,000. This number was reached by assessing the standard property values in Manhattan and the many facilities that are currently in use throughout the park.
The popularity of the park has grown significantly over the past ten years and multi-use recreational opportunities have expanded. This is credited largely to efforts taken by the city to stop crimes from occurring in the park. Central Park was commonly avoided at certain times of day due to the threat of crime. Crimes committed in Central Park have dropped some 90% over the course of these anti-crime measures coming into place.