Central Park

Featured Story

Features, History

Goat carriages in Central Park via Library of Congress

1930s New York brought us many things: Superman, the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, Joe DiMaggio, and, of course, goat beauty pageants in Central Park. Following the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, the Brewer’s Board of Trade was eager to revive the springtime tradition of Bock Beer festivals and put out an appeal for the most gorgeous goats in Gotham. The goats would go horn to horn in beauty pageants in Central Park to claim the title of “Mr. Manhattan,” and the right to return to the park for regional competitions to determine which beautiful Billy Goat would be “Mr. Bock Beer,” the brewer’s mascot, and the face of ubiquitous bock beer advertisements.

Get more Goats here!

infographic, maps

Central Park, maps, central park access map, handicapped access

A new map from the Central Park Conservancy includes lots of new information about the park’s playgrounds, trails, restrooms, entertainment areas and other spaces that decodes the park for people with disabilities and/or limited mobility. Helpful information includes information on park terrain, letting visitors know how steep various trails are, and where there are stairs or other potential obstacles.

Full map, this way

Design, Urban Design

Mannahatta Plateau for Frederick Law Olmsted via John Beckmann, Hannah LaSota, Laeticia Hervy

The University of Pennsylvania announced this week five winners of its ICONOCLAST competition, a design contest that asked participants to reimagine Central Park following a hypothetical eco-terrorist attack (h/t NY Times). The contest attracted 382 entries from 30 countries, all competing for $20,000 and the chance to be published in LA+ Journal. Richard Weller, a jury chair for the contest, said, “From megastructures to new ecologies and radical ideas for democratizing public space, the LA+ICONOCLAST winning entries can move beyond the status quo of picturesque large parks and embrace the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.” Ahead, check out the designs of a recreated 21st-century Central Park from the five finalists.

See the designs

City Living

Rendering of the new, improved Central Park SummerStage; image courtesy of City Parks Foundation.

CityParks SummerStage is New York City’s largest free outdoor performing arts festival, with 100 performances happening annually in neighborhood parks around the city as well as in Central Park from May-October–the majority of which are free of charge. In 2019, City Parks Foundation’s flagship SummerStage venue in Central Park will be getting a new stage, new sound system, more lighting, upgraded backstage areas, raised seating and an overall improved concert-going experience.

See more of what’s to come next summer

Architecture, Starchitecture

Via gigi_nyc on Flickr

Central Park’s beloved Delacorte Theater will get its first major renovation since it was constructed over 50 years ago, the New York Times reported on Wednesday. The Public Theater announced it has tapped architect Bjarke Ingels’ firm BIG to design a $110 million upgrade for the open-air theater, home to the free productions of Shakespeare in the Park. Kicking off in 2020, the project aims to reorganize the theater’s space, improve its resiliency, and make it overall more safe and efficient.

More here

Featured Story

Features, History, Transportation

Photo by Phil Roeder / Flickr

This summer, Mayor de Blasio closed all of Central Park’s scenic drives to cars, finishing a process he began in 2015, when he banned vehicles north of 72nd Street. But not all Mayors have been so keen on keeping Central Park transit free. In fact, in 1920, Mayor John Hylan had plans to run a subway through Central Park.

Hylan, the 96th Mayor of New York City, in office from 1918-1925, had a one-track mind, and that track was for trains. He had spent his life in locomotives, first laying rails for the Brooklyn Union Elevated Railroad (later the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, or BRT), then rising through the ranks to become a conductor. In that capacity, he was involved in a near-accident that almost flattened his supervisor, whereupon he was fired from the BRT. Nevertheless, Hylan made transit his political mission, implementing the city’s first Independent subway line and proposing that it run from 59th Street up through Central Park to 110th Street.

So, what happened?

City Living

A Central Park squirrel, via Wiki Commons

“You will see [the park] through the eyes of the squirrel and you will learn the personalities of the Central Park squirrels,” said Jamie Allen, creator of the Squirrel Census, to amNY. The multimedia science, design, and storytelling project has set its sites on Central Park and is recruiting volunteers to count just how many of the furry rodents, specifically the Eastern gray squirrel, call the park home. Why, you may ask? Because “determining the squirrel density of a park is a way to understand the health of that green space.”

Get cracking

Events, maps

Where to find fall foliage in Central Park

By Dana Schulz, Fri, September 28, 2018

Photo via Flickr cc

You don’t have to go upstate to experience the magic of fall foliage–right here in Central Park, there are 20,000 trees, many of which “transform into golden shades of yellow, orange, red, and more.” Which is why the Central Park Conservancy has released its 2018 Fall Guide, complete with a map of the best spots to catch the autumnal bliss, as well as a list of upcoming fall tours.

Read more

real estate trends

Via Wikimedia

To make Central Park your front yard, you’ll have to fork over $277,000 more than the median sale price of every bordering neighborhood. A new report by Property Shark looks at just how much more New Yorkers are willing to spend to be near the 843-acre oasis, a real estate trend which the group calls the “Central Park effect.” According to the analysis, the median sale price of units along the first row of blocks across the park was 25 percent more expensive than that of every nearby area. And in the priciest section, the Upper East Side’s Lenox Hill, that rose to a 93 percent difference.

More on the Central Park effect

City Living

A carriage near Central Park South, amongst traffic, via Flickr cc

In an effort to “reduce the amount of time that horses spend alongside vehicular traffic… thereby promoting the safety and well-being of the horses,” the de Blasio administration announced today that Central Park‘s well-known (and equally notorious) horse-drawn carriages will only be able to pick up and drop off passengers at designated boarding areas within the park. But for many groups, this will not be enough to improve conditions for the horses.

All the info

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