Friday, July 15, 2011
Central Park, NYC
This is a typical scene in New York's Central Park with vendors selling ice cream and roasted nuts. It was springtime when this image was shot so you can see all the trees just staring to bud.
Central Park is a public park in the center of Manhattan in New York City, United States. The park initially opened in 1857, on 843 acres (3.41 km2) 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. Construction began the same year and was completed in 1873.
Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963, the park is currently managed by the Central Park Conservancy under contract with the city government. The Conservancy is a nonprofit organization that contributes 85% of Central Park's $37.4 million dollar annual budget, and employs 80% of the park's maintenance staff Central Park, which has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963, was designed by landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition. They also designed Brooklyn's Prospect Park.
The park, which receives approximately thirty-five million visitors annually, is the most visited urban park in the United States. It was opened on 770 acres (3.1 km2) of city-owned land and was expanded to 843 acres (3.41 km2; 1.317 sq mi). It is 2.5 miles (4 km) long between 59th Street (Central Park South) and 110th Street (Central Park North), and is 0.5 miles (0.8 km) wide between Fifth Avenue and Central Park West. It is similar in size to San Francisco's Golden Gate Park, Chicago's Lincoln Park, Vancouver's Stanley Park, and Munich's Englischer Garten. Central Park is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the south by West 59th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue, and on the east by Fifth Avenue. Along the park's borders however, these are known as Central Park North, Central Park South, and Central Park West, respectively. Only Fifth Avenue retains its name as it delineates the eastern border of the park. 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.
Today, the conservancy employs four out of five maintenance and operations staff in the 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. The system was functioning so well that in 2006 the conservancy created the Historic Harlem Parks initiative, providing horticultural and maintenance support and mentoring in Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park, and Marcus Garvey Park.
While foliage in much of the park appears natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. The park contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds that have been created artificially, extensive walking tracks, bridle paths, two ice-skating rinks (one of which is a swimming pool in July and August), the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, a 106-acre (43 ha) billion-gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater, called the Delacorte Theater, which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel. In addition there are numerous major and minor grassy areas, some of which are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and there are a number of enclosed playgrounds for children.
The 6 miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists, skateboarders, and inline skaters, especially on weekends and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is prohibited.
The real estate value of Central Park was estimated by the property appraisal firm, Miller Samuel, to be $528,783,552,000 in December 2005