Central Park | New York Shopping
Stretching from Midtown to Harlem, Central Park's green hills, rocky bluffs, and dense woodlands annually host countless free diversions, from concerts and protests to tai chi and tennis. Work on the first major park built in America began in 1858, when Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won a public competition for its design.
Fifteen years and 14 million dollars later, the city's bucolic playground was unveiled. While the park has seen its share of ups and downs—shantytowns sprang up during the Depression; crime blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s—the Central Park Conservancy has assured its present-day beauty after a renovation that included architectural restoration; regreening and horticultural upkeep; special programs; and increased security.
In its renewed state, 58 miles of pedestrian pathways lead 25 million visitors around such cinematic scenes as the placid reservoir, perpetually fringed with joggers; skaters speeding through cones or wheel-dancing near the bandshell; couples and families paddling the lake by the Loeb boathouse; youngsters tossing Frisbees and soaking up rays in Sheep Meadow; and baseball fans shagging flies in two dozen ballfields. Such harmonic beauty has earned the Park cameos in more than 200 films.
Without such splendor, New Yorkers would hardly be able to tolerate the rest of Manhattan's concrete grip.
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