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Facts about Central Park For Kids


Central Park is a public park at the center of Manhattan in New York CityNew York, United States.The park initially opened in 1857, on 843 acres of city-owned land. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a design competition to improve and expand the park with a plan they entitled the Greensward Plan.

  • Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962, the park is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the city government.
  • The Conservancy is a non-profit organization that contributes 83.5% of Central Park’s $37.5 million dollar annual budget, and employs 80.7% of the park’s maintenance staff.
  • Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1962, was designed by landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition.
  • Along the park’s borders, these streets are known as Central Park North, Central Park South, and Central Park West respectively.
  • The park, which receives approximately thirty-five million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States.
  • 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, in which the president of the Conservancy is ex officio Administrator of Central 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, 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.
  • In addition there are seven major lawns, the “meadows”, 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.
  • New York City’s need for a great public park was voiced by the poet and editor of the Evening Post (now the New York Post), William Cullen Bryant, and by the first American landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, who began to publicize the city’s need for a public park in 1844.
  • 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 stay and various trips in Europe during 1850.
  • Before the construction of the park could start, the area had to be cleared of its inhabitants, most of whom were quite poor and either free African Americans or residents of English or Irish origin.
  • More gunpowder was used to clear the area than was used at the battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War.
  • “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,” said the conservancy president.