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?
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.”
, 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.
, Tue, September 25, 2018
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
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
Photo via Pexels
Whether it’s an annual event planned weeks in advance or an impulsive adventure with wine and pizza gathered on the way, picnics are one of summer’s greatest pleasures, and the city is filled with possibilities in the form of parks and gardens. New York City is also known for its accessible secrets, and our short list of urban escapes–whether hidden in plain sight or tucked away–are great to visit any time, but as off-the-beaten path picnic spots they shine.
Discover a new favorite picnic place
Early designs for Central Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
When thinking of influential creators of New York City’s most memorable places, it’s hard not to imagine Frederick Law Olmsted near the top of the list. Considered to be the founder of landscape architecture–he was also a writer and conservationist–Olmsted was committed to the restorative effects of natural spaces in the city. Perhaps best known for the wild beauty of Central and Prospect Parks, his vast influence includes scores of projects such as the Biltmore estate, the U.S. Capitol grounds and the Chicago World’s Fair. In preparation for the bicentennial of Olmsted’s 1822 birth, the Library of Congress has made 24,000 documents providing details of Olmsted’s life available online, Smithsonian reports. The collection includes journals, personal correspondence, project proposals and other documents that offer an intimate picture of Olmsted’s private life and work. The collection is linked to an interactive map at Olmsted Online showing all Olmsted projects in the United States (and there are many). You can search the map according to project name, location, job number and project type.
Explore the documents and map
Photo by Tia Richards for 6sqft
Coinciding with the 170th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund unveiled on Thursday the official design of the first statue of non-fictional women in Central Park. Designed by Meredith Bergmann, the sculpture includes both legible text and a writing scroll that represents the arguments that both women — and their fellow suffragists — fought for. There is also a digital scroll, which will be available online, where visitors are encouraged to join the ongoing conversation. The sculpture of Stanton and Anthony will be dedicated in Central Park on August 18, 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote nationwide.
Learn more about this monumental monument
Via Central Park Conservancy
Central Park’s Lasker pool and ice rink is set to undergo a major makeover, funded collectively by the Central Park Conservancy and the city. As first reported by the Daily News, the pool and rink will close for construction in 2020 for three years. The refurbishment will better connect the North Woods and the Harlem Meer, both currently blocked from one another by the rink.
Get the details
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