Executive director of Transportation Alternatives Paul Steely White drives a vintage Mustang as the last car in Central Park. Via NYC Parks.
At 7pm last night, the last car to ever drive through Central Park marked all of the park’s loop drives being permanently closed to traffic. Mayor de Blasio first made the announcement in April that after banning cars north of 72nd Street three years ago, the city would now prohibit them south of 72nd. Although vehicles will still be able to travel along the transverses, the new policy frees up a significant amount of space for pedestrians, runners, and bikers. To that end, Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit advocacy group that has been pushing for the car ban since the ’70s, teamed up with city officials last night to host a celebratory bike ride that trailed the last car to drive through the park.
More info ahead
While visiting the major, most popular attractions of New York City can be fun, it can also be stressful, overwhelming and full of selfie-taking tourists. However, the great thing about the Big Apple is that plenty of other attractions exist that are far less known or even hidden in plain sight. To go beyond the tourist-filled sites and tour the city like you’re seeing it for the very first time, check out 6sqft’s list ahead of the 20 best underground, secret spots in New York City.
More this way
Image: Andrew Batram via Flickr
The Central Park Boathouse restaurant has been spruced up with $2.9 million in renovations and upgrades and is perfect-date-ready just in time for outdoor weather. The New York Post reports that the familiar structure near the park’s Fifth Avenue entrance at East 72nd Street has gotten much needed capital improvements like more seats (185 instead of 160) a new flood-proof tile floor and insulated glass that keeps the lakefront chill out along with a contemporary new look, new colors and lighting and better sightlines of the Central Park West skyline and rowboats gliding by. Even better, there’s more room for customers at the new ADA-compliant bar.
Find out more
Photo via Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr
Last night Mayor de Blasio teased us by tweeting, “We’re making a BIG announcement tomorrow on the future of Central Park. Stay tuned.” This morning he announced, “Central Park goes car-free in June. 24/7, 365 days a year — because parks are for people, not cars.” That is BIG news. After banning cars north of 72nd Street three years ago, the city will now prohibit them south of 72nd.
All the details right this way
Statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims in Central Park. Image: Wikimedia Commons.
New York City’s Public Design Commission voted unanimously Monday in favor of removing a statue of 19th century surgeon J. Marion Sims from its Central Park pedestal, the New York Times reports. It was recommended that the statue of the controversial doctor, who conducted experimental surgeries on female slaves without their consent (and without anesthesia), be removed from its spot at 103rd Street in East Harlem after Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for a review of “symbols of hate” on city property eight months ago. 6sqft previously reported on the request by Manhattan Community Board 11 to remove the East Harlem statue of Sims, who is regarded as the father of modern gynecology. The statue, which will be moved to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery where the doctor is buried, represents the city’s first decision to make changes to a prominent monument since the review.
Find out more
Photo via Wikipedia
To get to Central Park’s Ladies Pavilion, it is necessary to go on, by New York City standards, a bonafide nature hike. Perched at the edge of the Lake, in a far corner of the Ramble, the cottage-like, open-air, Victorian-style structure was built in 1871 to serve as a “shelter for the horsecar passengers” near Columbus Circle, according to the New York Times.
It was once destroyed
Photos via Central Park Conservancy
The Belvedere in Central Park was conceived as a miniature castle by Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the park, in 1869. It opened with some of the best views of the city’s prized green space–the name Belvedere was chosen as it is Italian for “beautiful view.” But the years have taken their toll on the stone structure, which has not been renovated since 1983. Now the Central Park Conservancy will close it to address issues like cracked pavement, a leaky roof, and plumbing issues. Starting this Monday, February 26th, Belvedere Castle will be off-limits to the public for its restoration, and will not reopen until 2019.
More details of the reno
On the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote in New York state, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation will make an announcement today that it’s moving ahead with a proposal to erect a monument to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony in Central Park. First reported by West Side Rag, the statue of the two suffragists will be Central Park’s first monument to historic women and only the sixth in the entire city. It will be placed on the mall, which runs from 66th to 72nd Streets in the middle of the park, and will be unveiled on another important date–the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote nationally on August 26, 2020.
Get the full story
Joggers in Central Park, via Wikimedia
If you’re suddenly feeling inspired to start running with all the talk of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, a map created by the Central Park Conservancy will help you get moving. While Central Park no longer serves as the only spot marathon contestants race through as it did during the city’s first marathon in 1970, it remains an oasis for runners of all experience levels. The conservancy’s guide maps out the many loops and trails of the park to help you hit the ground running in preparation for next year’s marathon, or even just starting a new hobby.
Find out more
Photo via Library of Congress
Exactly 100 years ago–on October 25th, 1917–New Yorkers were celebrating “Liberty Day,” a holiday invented by the federal government to finance the massive effort of entering World War I. One third of the war’s funding would come from the imposition of progressive new taxes, while two thirds would come from selling “Liberty Bonds” to the American people. The holiday was part of an unprecedented publicity campaign to convince the public to buy the bonds. New Yorkers are notoriously hard to impress, so it’s no surprise the government rolled out all the punches: a three-engine Caproni bomber plane flew low among the skyscrapers, a parade of military motorcycles traveled up 5th Avenue, and a captured German U-boat submarine lay festooned with American flags inside Central Park.
Read more about the day’s events