New York City has one of the most famous green spaces in the world. It is also the first planned public park created in the country. Central Park was created in 1859 and has a span of 843 acres between 59 street and 110 street in Midtown. It is visited by over 25 million people a year. The Park has a zoo, ice rink, gardens and fountains. One of the most photographed areas of the park are the vast green lawns, stone bridges and archways.
The park was designed and created to give New York City locals the option of enjoying outdoor activities. Over a hundred and fifty years later the park still serves the same purpose, a place for locals and tourists to be a part of nature. Since it’s opening, the city has dedicated many other blocks and locations to outdoor recreational space.
A few of New York City’s other more popular parks, Madison Square Park, Bryant Park and a number of others were built on old cemeteries throughout the city. Bryant Park, most famous for hosting New York Fashion Week during the first half of September. The Parks next to the New York Public Library and has an expensive lawn, though it’s off limits to visitors. Washington Square Park, the center of New York University was officially turned into a park in 1827. Before it was designated as a park, the area was used for public executions.
City Hall Park located down in the financial section of Manhattan was one an area of mass executions from the seventeen hundreds up to the eighteenth century. During the 1990’s the area was dug up for a restoration project and countless bodies were found who are believed to be indigent people. Many of the bodies moved to Hart Island, a small island off the coast of Long Island, New York.
Although a number of parks that were created before the 20 century, New York City has not put an end to etching out more green space where it can be. The Brooklyn Bridge Park was opened in 2010 and is not a traditional park of grass, trees, and walking paths. It has 85 acres of waterfront facing Manhattan. There is a merry-go-round from 1920 that has been restored. In 2009 one of the most anticipated green spaces opened in Manhattans lower west side called The High Line.
The High Line was a railway line that ran down the west side of the city. It was transformed into a park when community members formed a group called, Friends of the High Line, fought to have the area preserved and turned into a park. The city owns the park and with the help of the conservancy it is maintained and run like all other public parks in the city. Since it’s inception in 1999, it has grown from the lower part of Manhattan up to west 30 street.
New York City started Central Park as a green space that would compete with the parks and gardens in England and France. What the ended up with was one of the most visited parks in the world.
By Paul Spears
Picture Provided by ZeroOne – Flickr License