Central Park

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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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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