View onto Central Park

Central Park is an urban park in ManhattanNew York City. It is located between the Upper West Side and Upper East Side, roughly bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park West (Eighth Avenue) on the west, Central Park South (59th Street) on the south, Central Park North (110th Street) on the north, and Fifth Avenue on the east. Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with an estimated 37–38 million visitors annually, and one of the most filmed locations in the world. In terms of area, Central Park is the fifth largest park in New York City, covering 843 acres (341 ha).

Central Park was first approved in 1853 as a 778-acre (315 ha) park. In 1857, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect/landscape designer Calvert Vaux won a design competition to construct the park with a plan they titled the “Greensward Plan”. Construction began the same year, and the park’s first areas were opened to the public in late 1858. Additional land at the northern end of Central Park was purchased in 1859, and the park was completed in 1876. After a period of decline in the early 20th century, New York City parks commissioner Robert Moses started a program to clean up Central Park. Another decline in the late 20th century spurred the creation of the Central Park Conservancy in 1980, which refurbished many parts of the park during the 1980s and 1990s.

Main attractions of the park include the Ramble and Lake; several amusement attractions including Wollman RinkCentral Park Carousel, and the Central Park ZooSheep Meadow; the Central Park MallBethesda Terrace; the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir; and the Delacorte Theaterthat hosts Shakespeare in the Park programs in the summertime. The park also has sports facilities, including the North Meadow Recreation Center, basketball courts, baseball fields, and soccer fields.

Central Park was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1963, and it was placed on the tentative list for UNESCO World Heritage Sites in April 2017. The park, managed for decades by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), has been managed by the Central Park Conservancy since 1998, under contract with the municipal government in a public-private partnership. The Conservancy, a non-profit organization, contributes 75 percent of Central Park’s $65 million annual budget and is responsible for all basic care of the park.

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