All photos in this post were taken during the Central Park Moon-In, July 20th, 1969, by Parks Photographer Daniel McPartlin. Courtesy of the NYC Parks Photo Archive.
This Saturday, July 20, will mark 50 years since Neil Armstrong made one giant leap for mankind and set foot on the lunar surface. On Earth, hundreds of millions of people held a collective worldwide breath, then let out an ecstatic whoop of awe and excitement as man met moon. Earthlings around the globe may have wished to be aboard Apollo 11, but New Yorkers knew at least one thing for sure: If they couldn’t go to the moon, they could definitely dress up as the moon, head to Central Park, and witness the out-of-this-world walk from any of three 9’ X 12’ screens, offering coverage from NBC, CBS, and ABC. So began the greatest watch party in New York’s history. Roughly 8,000 New Yorkers, dressed all in white, sprawled across the Sheep Meadow for a blowout celestial-celebration known as The Moon-In.
See more photos and learn all about the event
A Central Park squirrel, via Wiki Commons
Last October, as 6sqft reported, an organization called Squirrel Census, headed by Jamie Allen, began the multimedia, science, design, and storytelling endeavor of figuring out how many squirrels–specifically eastern gray squirrels–call the 843 acres of Central Park home, and put out a call for critter-counting volunteers. Though attempting to fathom the magnitude of the park’s squirrelscape began with some curiosity and a bit of tongue in cheek, according to Citylab, the methods used to tally the cheeky rodents–and the resulting findings–are as fun as they are fascinating.
More than just a head count
The restored Belvedere at night, courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy
As 6sqft reported, Central Park’s Belvedere Castle is open to the public today after a comprehensive $12 million restoration effort. In addition to a restored facade, new clear-pane-glass windows, new mechanical and utility systems and a the re-creation of the wooden tower that was part of Olmsted and Vaux’s original design, the Central Park Conservancy has introduced nighttime lighting. As night falls, the Belvedere will be illuminated and visible from various locations in the park–most strikingly from across Turtle Pond.
Tips for visiting, this way
The restored Belvedere, courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy
After a 15-month, $12 million restoration and repair project, the Belvedere will reopen to the public on Friday, June 28th. In anticipation, the Central Park Conservancy today opened the historic structure to press, revealing its restored facade, expansive views through new clear-pane-glass windows, new mechanical and utility systems, and a recreation of a wooden tower that was part of Olmsted and Vaux’s original plan 150 years ago. Though many New Yorkers refer to the site as Belvedere Castle, “Belvedere” actually means “beautiful view” in Italian and refers to the vistas from the second-highest point in Central Park. Belvedere receives approximately one million visitors each year, and starting this month, they will also be able to see the Castle illuminated at night, as the landmark will be lit for the first time ever.
See more right here
Photo via PxHere
For avid runners and beginners alike, New York City offers a wide range of places to hit the pavement, from it’s iconic bridges to green trails nestled in the city’s parks. The scenic routes provide unbeatable views of the river and skyline that can keep you motivated to keep going when you’re ready to give up. Ahead, we round up the 10 most iconic spots to go for a run in the city, fit for regular marathoners, treadmill-devotees looking for a change of scenery, and total newbies.
Lace up those sneakers…
This summer marks the 33rd SummerStage to take place in Central Park, but this year, NYC’s largest, free outdoor performing arts festival has a completely revamped and reconceptualized venue to the tune of $5.5 million. The event, hosted by the City Parks Foundation, is comprised of 100 performances in 17 neighborhood parks throughout the city, but the flagship venue in Central Park is certainly the headliner. After 20 years, the 5,500-person space has a new stage with 20 percent more capacity and updated technology, along with a new circulation pattern meant to enhance the guest experience, new member and VIP viewing platforms, new concession areas, and more.
Go behind the scenes before the venue opens this weekend
All of the images in this post are included in “The Central Park: Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure,” and are courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives.
There are few things as beautiful as a sunset in Central Park, standing beside the reservoir at 90th Street, looking west, and watching the sun sink behind the San Remo then glitter through the trees on the park’s horizon, and finally melt into the water, its colors unspooling there like ink. That view, one of so many available in the park, can be credited to the meticulous planning by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, whose extraordinary vision made Central Park one of the finest urban oases on earth.
“The Central Park: Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure,” a new book by Cynthia S. Brenwall, out now from the NYC Department of Records, offers a closer look at that lanning process than ever before. Using more than 250 color photos, maps, plans, elevations, and designs — many published here for the very first time — the book chronicles the park’s creation, from conception to completion, and reveals the striking “completeness” of Olmsted and Vaux’s vision. “There was literally no detail too small to be considered,” Brenwall says. You’ll see the earliest sketches of familiar structures, and check out plans for unbuilt amenities (including a Paleozoic Museum!) 6sqft caught up with Brenwall to find out how the book came together, hear what it was like to cull through those incredible documents and snag a few secrets of Central Park.
Background image: Shinya Suzuki via Flickr
Spring is officially here, and there’s no better place to confirm the good news than Central Park, where the season brings a burst of color to every corner of the park’s 840 acres. Warmer weather brings beautiful blooms and a flurry of activities and events along with photogenic landscapes. The park’s Spring Guide has all you need to know about the park’s prettiest places to visit; a handy map points out where the blooms are, and you can search for your favorites and learn more about them. There are also events for families, Conservancy members and the general public that will help you make the best of the season’s beauty.
Where the blooms are, this way
The Arsenal c. 1914, via Library of Congress
New York City boasts more than 1,700 parks, playgrounds, and recreational facilities covering upwards of 14 percent of the land across all five boroughs. This sprawling network of greenery falls under the jurisdiction of the NYC Parks Department. Once the storied provenance of Robert Moses, the Department functions today under the less-Machiavellian machinations of Mitchell Silver. Though no longer the fiefdom it once was, Parks still operates out of a medieval fortress known as the Arsenal, a commanding bulwark stationed in Central Park at 5th Avenue and 64th Street.
The Arsenal also houses the Arsenal Gallery, the City Parks Foundation, the Historic House Trust, and the New York Wildlife Conservation Society. This wide array of agencies reflects the varied legacy of building itself. Since construction began on the Arsenal 1847 (completed 1851), it has served a stunning array of purposes, from police station to menagerie to weather bureau. The Arsenal has had time to live so many lives: it is one of just two buildings in Central Park that predate the park itself, which was established in 1857.
Hear more history of this historic headquarters!
While it’s been a snow-free winter in NYC so far, once in a while it’s nice to imagine a snowy January day in Central Park. Ephemeral New York brings us a particularly charming example of how New Yorkers found a reason to socialize even in frozen conditions two centuries ago. Sleigh carnivals turned out scores of joyriding city folk who wanted to show off their new super-light rides. James Stuart wrote in his 1833 UK travel memoir, “Three Years in North America,” that after a heavy January snow, “the New York carnival began, and the beautiful light-looking sleighs made their appearance. Even the most delicate females of New York think an evening drive, of 10 or 20 miles, even in the hardest frost, conducive to their amusement and health.”
Sleigh bells ring