In 1980, the Central Park Conservancy was formed as a nonprofit organization to manage the park under a contract with the City of New York and the Parks Department. As 6sqft noted in a previous interview with the Conservancy, they’re made up of “gardeners, arborists, horticulturists, landscape architects, designers, tour guides, archeologists, a communications team, and even a historian,” all of whom help to maintain the park as the gorgeous urban oasis we know and love today.
But before this, the park faced countless political and economic stressors, and without a central body to oversee it, entered a state of disrepair and neglect. It culminated in the ’80s (as the Conservancy worked on a plan for its rehabilitation) with barren patches of land, graffiti tags, and dead plants. Since it’s hard to imagine Central Park in such a state, the Conservancy has provided these incredible before-and-after photos that show just how far the beloved space has come.
One of the first projects undertaken by the Conservancy was to re-sod the lawns ↓
The Dairy was another early restoration project ↓
Getting rid of graffiti was a main priority. Below is the point at the Central Park lake ↓
Belvedere Castle ↓
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center ↓
Bethesda Fountain ↓
The Great Hill ↓
Cedar Hill ↓
Bank Rock Bay ↓
Conservatory Garden ↓
The Mall ↓
Azalia Pond ↓
72nd Street entrance ↓
Be sure to check out even more before-and-after photos in our gallery below.
- New Yorker Spotlight: Sara Cedar Miller and Larry Boes of the Central Park Conservancy
- The History of Central Park’s Hooverville, the Clutch Plague Pop-Up Shanty Town
- See Brooklyn Before and After Gentrification in This New Photo Series
All photos courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy