Rambling in Central Park

This weekend I led a hike in Central Park, purportedly the most visited park in the world. Members of my hiking group and I took the bus up to Manhattan and walked from the Southwest corner at Colombus Circle to the Northwest corner in Harlem. While preparing verbal blurbs for the hike, I read a bit about the history of the park and found some of the information surprising. Central Park celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2003. Before the park was created, the land it currently occupies was mostly a filthy, treacherous dump inhabited by a few thousand squatters and lots of farm animals running amok. There was a lot of argument about if and where to put a park. When the city finally purchased the plot of land that became Central Park, it paid more than the US paid for Alaska several years later. The design for the park was decided through a contest with a list of requirements for the layout. The only significant feature surviving from the original topography is Manhattan schist, massive slabs of rock appearing in numerous outcroppings. The bodies of water and plant groupings were designed and constructed. A bunch of soil was carted in from Jersey. I find the transverses by which motor traffic passes across the park laterally to be particularly cleverly planned in their unobtrusiveness. Central Park is larger than I realized back during my brief stint as a New Yorker. The loop (that road inside the park used by lots of bicycles and rickshaws) is 6 miles long. The park is 843 acres, which is pretty staggering relative to the overall size on Manhattan, 23.7 miles, which makes it like five and half percent of the island. In conclusion, because I can't spend all day writing about this, Central Park is totally sweet and I speculate that it would be a fascinating and fitness-encouraging job to drive one of those bikeshaw things around. I wonder if they are highly regulated like cabs. (I read some book info, but here are some websites: http://www.centralparknyc.org/centralparkhistory, http://www.centralpark.com/pages/history.html)

Post a Comment

(or leave a trackback to your blog)