The NYC Landmarks Project


Central Park (1858-1873)

Designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963

5th Avenue to Central Park West.

59th Street to 110th Street

Manhattan, New York

Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1858 as a naturalistic landscape refuge for all classes of urbanites. It was the first large-scale public park in the US and served as a model for parks around the country. The 843 acre park was built in a swampy and little populated area of the city, far to the north of where the majority of the population then lived. Olmsted and Vaux designed a variety of structures and areas that make the park a series of mini-landscapes, each with its own distinctive character. Take the North Woods, a natural oasis of trees and streams that is much less visited than the more popular, similarly wild-like Ramble. Both differ significantly from the wide open space of The Meadow, its name taken from the fact that sheep grazed on this land as late as the 1930s.

Central Park is an extremely popular destination for both New Yorkers and tourists. The Central Park Conservancy, which runs the park in partnership with the city, estimates that 35 million people visit each year. If you want to avoid the crowds, head north of the Resevoir, and be prepared for forested idylls that make you forget you're in the middle of the most urbanized city in the country.

Click any of the thumbnails below to go to the image gallery.