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17 Things You Didn’t Know About Central Park

  1. First landscaped public park in the United States.
  2. 843 acres in size.
  3. Most of the land was swampy and beset with boulders, making it a good candidate for a park, since few wanted to build there.
  4. 1600 people lived in what is now central Park. One neighborhood was Seneca Village, Manhattan’s first known community of property owners. It was along 82nd-89th st between 7th and 8th Ave.
  5. The city held a public competition for the park’s design.
  6. The winning designers had no formal experience in landscaping. Calbert Vaux was an article and Fredrick Law Olmstead was a writer.
  7. 20,000 workers were hired to create the park.
  8. More gunpowder was used to clear the park than in the battle of Gettysburg
  9. None of the park is the original landscape, all the lakes have a system of pipes and drains to maintain the water level.
  10. Most of the trees were originally from New Jersey, as was most of the dirt, the existing soil was not right for the park’s needs.
  11. There are 11 bridges and 22 arches in the park, all unique.
  12. There is an Egyptian Obelisk in the park near the Metropolitan Museum of art, it dates to the year 1450 BC and weighs 220 tons.
  13. The zoo was not originally part of the Park’s design. However, the city received wild animals as presents for creating the park and had to make a place to put them.
  14. The original Carousel was erected in 1871, it was powered by a mule under the track.
  15. On September 19th 1981, 500,000 people gathered to listen to Simon and Garfunkel perform in Central Park.
  16. Today the park is chiefly maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, started in 1980 during the city’s fiscal crisis, they solicit private donations to maintain and upgrade the park.
  17. The conservancy received it’s largest donation $100 million in October 2012.

– Mark Gilman, Tour Guide

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