Central Park, the 843-acre green oasis in the center of Manhattan is New York's most well-known park, and perhaps the most
famous urban park in the world. Its history began in 1856 with the acquisition of 778 acres of land, for the purpose of building a
grand open space, designed specifically for public use.
In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's "Greensward" plan
was selected among the entries of a contest to determine the design for the city's new park.
Built with 590 species of shrubs
and 815 species of perennials and Alpine plants, an environmental mecca inspired by English romantic landscapes was
situated within this metropolis. From its beginning, urbanites have flocked to the park, with over 4 million visitors making their
way to the park in 1863, the same year that the final acres of park were procured, extending it to its current border at 110th
Street. Today the park averages over 20 million visitors per year.
Since its construction, Central Park has evolved from a place
of pastoral grandeur to a combination of natural beauty, recreational facilities and outdoor arenas.
From freshwater ponds, to lakes, pools, meadows, grassy hillocks and successional forest, there are many natural systems to
pacify the eye and the soul. The 38-acre Ramble and its bordering lake are prime locations for watching the seasonal warbler
The 4-acre Hallett Nature Sanctuary, with its forest of black locust and black cherry, is a refuge for those species
driven from their homes by the ever expanding world of concrete and asphalt. Sheep Meadow, a pasture area from the
mid-19th Century until the 1930's, the Great Lawn, site of the former Yorkville Reservoir, and the East and North Meadows are
grassy areas which are settings for both solitary relaxation and massive congregations.
Many such gatherings have taken
place since the construction of the Great Lawn in the 1930s, including the Paul Simon concert of 1991, the No Nukes Rally of
1982, and Simon & Garfunkel's performance in 1981. The North Meadow hosted to the Garth Brooks concert in 1997.
Many special artistic and cultural programs take place in the park. Since 1957, the free Shakespeare festival has been offered
during the summer months, and in 1985, the stage at Rumsey Playfield became the host to the Summerstage performances of
music, dance, song and the spoken word.
In 1965, the New York Philharmonic first played in the park and this favorite
summertime tradition of New Yorkers has faithfully continued, only to be joined by other performing arts groups, including the
Metropolitan Opera which began performing in 1967 and the New York Grand Opera which started their performance series in
Central Park is one of the urban wonders of the world, a green oasis in the great concrete, high-rise landscape of New York
City. It is so naturally part of the Manhattan environment that many people may not realize it is entirely man-made.
Central Park is a haven.
It is a place where all of us can alter the frenetic rhythms that make New York the most exciting city in
the world. We can sit on a bench and read the paper, toss a ball with friends, jog, cycle, or play with our children. Connections
with Central Park run especially deep with New Yorkers. We tend to think of the Park as our own front yard.
Since 1908, more than 170 movies containing scenes in Central Park have been released. Check out the list below, sorted
alphabetically by title, of the movies shot in Central Park. From "Breakfast at Tiffany's' ,'Love Story, 'Wall Street Harry Met Sally
You've Got Mail - just to name a few.