New York's "flagship" park of 843 acres, 26,000 trees, and almost 9,000 benches has had a rather checkered history. Planning began around 1868, when city commissioners chose the "Greensward Plan" developed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In the ensuing decades of building, the challenging terrain wasn't the only obstacle to overcome. Navigating the difficult city bureaucracy and the Tammany Hall political machine made the Park an overly politicized institution. A long spiral of decline was halted in 1934, when Parks Commissioner Robert Moses employed his controversial methods in making remarkable changes to the decrepit park. From around 1960 until 1981, another twenty years of decline ensued, until the newly-formed Central Parks Conservancy offered a blueprint, "Rebuilding Central Park for the 1980s and Beyond." The past 20 years have been much kinder to the Park, which has seen some remarkable reconstruction work.
275 species of birds have been sighted in the Park, which also has several restaurants on its perimeter, a Boathouse, a Carousel, ballfields, a running track, reservoir, sculptures of Alice in Wonderland and Shakespeare, and a nearly endless list of events and other attractions.
Telephone: (212) 310-6600
Address: 59th to 110th Streets
Hours And Additional Info
Central Park Tips & Links
Tips1. Free Walking Tours
Want to learn more about Central Park? Discover the Park's history, ecology and design on free, volunteer-led walking tours sponsored by the Central Park Conservancy.
All walking tours are free and take place rain or shine except in extreme weather conditions. No reservations are required. Call 212-360-2726 Tuesday through Saturday for additional information.2. Is Central Park the largest city park?
Many people mistakenly believe that Central Park is New York's largest park. In fact, it ranks only as the fifth largest!
New York's Top Ten Largest Parks:
1. Pelham Bay Park, Bronx 2,765 acres
2. Greeenbelt, Staten Island 1,778 acres
3. Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens 1,255 acres
4. Van Cortlandt Park, Bronx 1,146 acres
5. Central Park, Manhattan 843 acres
6. Fresh Kills Park, Staten Island 813 acres
7. Marine Park, Brooklyn 798 acres
8. Bronx Park, Bronx 718 acres
9. Alley Pond Park, Queens 655 acres
10. Franklin D. Roosevelt Boardwalk, South and Midland Beaches, Staten Island 638 acres