by Chris Hale

It all began with an 1844 New York Post editorial by editor William Cullen Bryant, which sparked a campaign to create a park that would become the soul of New York City. The park which encompasses 843 acres is a credit to designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who turned these 843 acres of swamp, hills and rocks into an urban heavenly spread. Facts about Central Park:

  • Built in 1857-72
  • Park contains 32 statues
  • 9,000 benches
  • 12 ball fields
  • 21 playgrounds
  • Sheep actually lived in the Sheep Meadow from 1864-1934.
  • Central Park is 843 acres, nearly twice as big as Monaco.
  • If you walk the entire perimeter of Central Park, you cover six miles.
  • The original Carousel, built in 1871, was pulled by horses.
  • More than 170 films have been shot in Central Park, including “Barefoot in the Park” (1967), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979 and just about every film Woody Allen ever made.
  • The boathouse was built from 1953-54 for a cost of $305,000, which $115,000 worth of landscaping.
  • Some of the biggest acts to play the park include Simon and Garfunkel (Sept. 1981), Elton John (Sept. 1981), James Taylor (July 1979), Barbra Streisand (June 1967), Luciano Pavarotti (June 1983) and Garth Brooks (Aug. 1997).

More than 14 million people visit the park each year – enjoying free Shakespeare and music under the stars, dining at Tavern on the Green and recalling Lennon’s spirit in Strawberry Fields. New Yorkers of all ages flock to the place they consider their backyard. It’s a delight to tourists as well. Entrance to the park, 59th St. and Columbus Circle.