Recreation, rejuvenation, and refreshment- The Central Park in Manhattan, New York is not a “typical park” but a collective product of numerous leisure pursuits and an emotional attachment for the New Yorkers. Spread across 51 blocks through Manhattan, The Central Park New York was built in 1858 on a land of 843 acres including 150 acres of water. “The Green Heart of the Big Apple”, the leafy park can be construed as a spot for entertainment, relaxation, and fun with over 42 million visitors every year.  

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Aerial view of Central Park. ©www.nationalgeographic.com
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Concrete hub vs Central Park. ©www.nationalgeographic.com
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Serene water bodies with the New York city line in the background.  ©www.nationalgeographic.com  
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Lakes at Central Park. ©www.nationalgeographic.com

Who and what inspired the need for this enormous park?

It was in London and Paris! In the 1800s, New Yorkers were highly influenced by the parks around the world and thus declared a competition for the designing of a recreation park that would go on to become the most popular area in Manhattan. An existing village and farmland that was inhabited by Irish immigrants and African Americans, was chosen as the most apparent site for the landscaping. British-American architect Calvert Vaux and Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted won the competition and proclaimed that their project “Greensward” would be “a democratic development of the highest significance,” which meant that it would be accessible to all the citizens of New York, and not just the privileged.

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The original layout of Central Park. ©www.betterwaterfront.org
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People playing chess at the benches in the 1900s. ©www.nationalgeographic.com
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Central Park pathways. ©www.nationalgeographic.com

Central Park NY today

Central Park consists of gigantic green spaces, water bodies and over 20,000 trees, 30 tennis courts, 21 playgrounds, and 26 ball fields. More than a park, space is an amalgamation of activities ideal for people of all ages and an antidote for the congestion and increasing population of New York. A magnet for visitors in and around New York, Central Park also hosts some of the city’s most prominent events (both one-time and recurring) like marathons and concerts which involve the participation of abundant people. This way, the park works as a major boost to the economy of the City and a congregation area with awe-inspiring landscapes and design.

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The gigantic Central Park amidst the skyscrapers.  ©www.architecturaldigest.com
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Pathways at the parks for marathons and running.  ©www.architecturaldigest.com
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Concerts at Central Park. ©www.centralpark.com

Central Park New York has a lot to offer. Countless pathways with beautiful greenery perfect for a morning jog, several restaurants for a date with your partner, exciting concerts that can be enjoyed with friends, or just a quiet corner by a lake to read your favorite book, the architects of the project have been successful with their vision of creating the most dynamic, interesting and delightful recreational oasis for the people of New York.  

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Serene water body at the park. ©www.centralpark.com
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Quiet corners. ©www.centralpark.com

Sustainability at Central Park NY and why is it important. 

Before indulging in the sustainability factor at Central Park, one needs to understand the concept of sustainability at an NYC park in general. Some of these factors include: utilizing long-lasting and easy to maintain materials and plants, restoring the natural areas that would protect biodiversity, making attempts to reduce the impact of climate changes, reducing carbon emissions, and engaging the people to participate in keeping the park clean, maintained, and sustainable.   

So, what makes Central Park sustainable?  

  • The people 

The massive involvement of the people in maintaining and taking care of the park, like their own, is exceptional. The key factor of sustainability at Central Park is the citizens, volunteers, and members of the Central Park Conservancy that was formed in 1980. The community has raised over $600 million to keep the park running smoothly, cleaning up the garbage, educating others about biodiversity which in turn attracts more visitors. The park is also a win-win situation on all ends- people, the city, and nature.  

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People volunteering for the maintenance of the park. ©Google
  • Public recycling 

New Yorkers love a good barbecue and especially if it is at a public park! These barbeque parties in return produce a large amount of trash that is recyclable. Apart from this, activities like picnics, reading, or even exercise contribute to the $300 million that the City spends on exporting tons of trash to landfills. The City Council has passed legislation in expanding recycling in public areas which helps with effective waste management, as volunteers and organizations like The Green Team actively work towards this goal.   

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Trash recycling at Central Park. ©www.centralparknyc.org
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Staff collecting trash for 17 hours a day. ©www.centralparknyc.org
  • Leaf composting  

Plenty of trees at Central Park produce plenty of leaves that ultimately fall and are collected and taken to landfills because of safety and aesthetic concerns. This move led to the removal of nutrients from nature and led to the need of using extra fertilizers. Several composting techniques like segregating leaves that would go to the landfills and relocating the fallen leaves from lawns and blown into natural areas, help to reuse the leaves instead of letting them go to waste. An organization called the Parks Inspection Program (PIP) provides rating standards that maintain the locating of leaves into planting beds.  

  • Trees!  

The humongous number of trees at Central Park contributes to the freshness and cleanliness of the air and makes the park cooler as well. New York is often regarded as an “urban heat island” which makes it hotter than its surroundings due to the extensive use of heat-absorbing materials like concrete and glass, and thus the trees work as natural air-conditioners. Apart from these incredible benefits, trees also capture air pollutants; reduce the number of toxins flowing into the water bodies, and filter rainwater that helps in maintaining the landscape.  

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Healthy lifestyle at Central Park. ©www.centralparknyc.org
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Trees at Central Park. ©www.centralpark.com
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Cherry blossoms at Central Park. ©www.centralpark.com

Home to many wildlife species like ducks, fish, squirrels, and chipmunks, there are over 230 different species of birds that rely on the park’s water bodies throughout the year. Central Park is a dream for every New Yorker that wants to spend time outdoors and away from city life as it provides space for innumerable activities and recreation. The green jungle amidst the concrete jungle, the park is a boon to the health of the City and the people keeping its surroundings cleaner and healthier.  

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Views of Central Park. ©www.architecturaldigest.com
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Wildlife at Central Park. ©www.centralparknyc.org
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Views of Central Park. ©www.archdaily.com
Author

Aishwarya Khurana is an architect and creative writer, who likes to express herself through humor, words, and quirky ideas. A design enthusiast, butter chicken lover, and music junkie, she loves to read and write about art & architecture and believes that nobody can defeat her in a pop-culture quiz.

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