July 21, 2003
Marked The 150th Anniversary Of Central Park.

Park History

Official Anniversary Web Site

Through the Tree Trust and Adopt-A-Bench , the Women’s Committee of the Central Park Conservancy has created a special gift opportunity. You can endow a tree and neighboring bench as a pair at the 100th Street Pool for $11,000, which is $1,500 less than if they were endowed separately. The usual contributions would be $5,000 for a tree and $7,500 for a bench.

Adopt-A-Bench programs


Central Park

Frederick Olmstead aimed for a "pastoral ideal," hoping Central Park visitors would feel as if they were in the countryside, not the city.

Frederick Law Olmstead designed Central Park in the mid-1800s as a getaway from city life, a place where people could go to relax, mingle and enjoy nature. Today, New York's skyscrapers loom larger than they did in Olmstead's day, but the picturesque park retains its pastoral charm for the millions who take advantage of it each year.

Situated in the heart of New York City between 59th street and 110 streets , Central Park is the most well known of all the parks that Frederick Law Olmsted designed.
Although he was the park's superintendent, he had no hand in the call for a park. Andrew Jackson Downing was the original force behind the park. He and his partner, Calvert Vaux were to submit a design for the park. In 1852 Downing died in a riverboat accident and Vaux asked Olmsted to take his place. In 1858 they entered the competition to design the park, with an entry they called Greensward, which was chosen as the park's design.

Other Facts

Central Park is 843 Acres.

Central Park celebrates its 150th birthday on 21 July 2003. © GettyImages


The Pond At Central Park


Central Park, An American Masterpiece: A Comprehensive History of the Nation's First Urban Park

Buy The Book At Amazon.com

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    19 July, 2003

    Associated Press Writer
    July 19, 2003, 1:13 PM EDT

    NEW YORK -- Central Park celebrated its 150th birthday on Saturday with a giant cake in the shape of its most famous fountain, two renowned tenors singing "Happy Birthday" and activities from pet parades to croquet.

    Gathered around the cake at Bethesda Fountain, its inspiration, hundreds of park enthusiasts belted "Happy birthday Central Pa-ark," led by tenors Marcelo Alvarez and Salvatore Licitra.

    The nation's first major public park was born 150 years ago in 1853 when the Legislature set aside the 843 acres, to be designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

    Portions of the park's southern and northern ends opened to the public in 1861. The rest of the park's hills, paths and ponds were under construction for 16 years. Ten million cartloads of soil replaced a landscape of swamps and bedrock, while an underground drainage system was installed to create ponds and lakes.

    The birthday party drew New Yorkers from all corners, celebrating their own special memories _ lovers who once snuggled in a carriage ride, runners who crossed the marathon finish line there, families who sprawl on picnic blankets each summer, children who beg parents for a ride on the carousel.

    "It's sort of our own backyard," said Donald King, walking hand-in-hand with his 5-year-old daughter, Cameron. "We find it amazing that this remarkable stretch of ground has been maintained to be a playground and haven for New Yorkers for so many years."

    Central Park draws 25 million visitors annually to its 58 miles of pedestrian paths and 150 acres of water bodies. No official count on the number of dogs that sniff its trails.

    From dachshunds to Great Danes, the park's canine visitors were included in the celebration on Saturday. Hundreds trotted along with their owners in a dog parade, led by a woman holding a giant balloon bouquet and sign that read "150 years of dogs."

    Jim Giglio and his family watched the procession from atop a grassy knoll, munching on French bread and brie. The Giglios come to Manhattan from their home in Albany, N.Y., about twice a year _ and never miss a visit to the park.

    "There's always something going on," said Lori Giglio, Jim's wife.

    The park's actual birthday is Monday, but organizers thought more people would enjoy a weekend birthday party.

    The activities spanned the full day, taking advantage of the lush, green surroundings _ an oasis for city dwellers accustomed to an urban life of pavement and skyscrapers. From 59th Street to 110th, the park's north-south borders, New Yorkers and tourists listened to live music, played croquet, sat for a storytelling and basked in sun and shade.

    "It's an escape from a small Manhattan apartment," said Larry Wasserman, who used to take his girlfriend, Erica, on dates to summer concerts in the park.

    Then they married, and had daughter Jolie. Now the Upper East Side 2-year-old is a regular at the park's zoo and playgrounds.

    Copyright © 2003, The Associated Press

    On the 150th anniversary of the creation of New York's Central Park, LIFE takes a look back at what made this urban oasis so famous for city dwellers and tourists alike. July, 1951 ALFRED EISENSTAEDT / TIMELIFEPICTURES

    Central Park Classic Pictures

    Bird's Eyes View



    The Strawberry Fields in Central Park. It is named after the song Strawberry Fields Forever in honor of John Lennon (1940-1980). www.wirednewyork.com

    History Of Central Park

    At the beginning of the 19th century, there were 60,000 people living in New York City, mostly congregated in lower Manhattan. A wave of immigration that began in the 1830s caused the population to grow to more than 300,000 in the 1840s and swell to over 500,000 by 1850. By mid-century, however, most New Yorkers still lived below 38th Street in crowded, chaotic quarters. The volume of street noise from carriage wheels alone challenged the sanity, much less serenity, of these early residents. To escape the press of bodies and the din of city life, people sought refuge in.

    Visit History Of Central Park Site

    Central Park In The Movies

    Central Park is the most filmed public park in the world. Since 1908, more than 170 movies containing scenes in Central Park have been released. Check out the list below, sorted alphabetically by title, of the movies shot in Central Park.
    Movie Title    		Year 
    Alice  			1990 
    A Man's Castle		1933
    American Taxi Driver	1987
    An Affair to Remember	1957
    And Then You Die	1985
    A New Life		1987
    Anna			1987
    Annie Hall		1977
    Antz			1998
    Arthur II: On the Rocks	 1987
    Autumn in NY		 2000
    Baby Boom		 1987
    Balto			 1995
    Barefoot in the Park	 1967
    Beginners		 1982
    Belle of New York	 1952
    Big Business		 1987
    Big Daddy		 1999
    Blindfold		 1966
    Blue Jean Cop		 1987
    Born to Dance		 1936
    Breakfast at Tiffany's	 1961
    Breeders		 1985
    Brewster's Millions	 1984
    Broadway Danny Rose	 1982
    Broadway Melody of 1938	 1937
    Bullets Over Broadway	 1994
    Bum Rap			 1988
    Carnal Knowledge	 1971
    Cat People		 1942
    Central Park		 1933
    Charing Cross Road	 1986
    Cocktail		 1987
    Crimes and Misdemeaners	 1989
    Crocodile Dundee II	 1987
    Daniel			 1982
    Dead End Kids		 1985
    Death Wish		 1974
    Deconstructing Harry	 1998
    Desperately Seeking Susan 1984
    Die Hard with a Vengeance 1995
    Double or Nothing	 1937
    Everyone Says I Love You 1996
    Exterminator II		 1983
    Eyes of Laura Mars	 1978
    Eyewitness		 1981
    F/X			 1985
    Fatal Attraction	 1987
    Father Gets in the Game	 1908
    Fingers			 1978
    Forever Lulu		 1986
    Fuzz			 1972
    Ghostbusters		 1983
    Godspell		 1973
    Godzilla		 1998
    Gold Diggers of 1933	 1933
    Green Card		 1990
    Hannah and Her Sisters	 1986
    Hair			 1979
    Hallelujah I'm a Bum	 1933
    Hang Tough		 1985
    Hard to Get		 1938
    Hello Again		 1987
    Highlander		 1985
    Home Alone 2 - 
    Lost in New York	 1992
    I Love New York		 1986
    I Miss You Aunt Jenny	 1985
    I The Jury		 1981
    I'm Not Rappaport	 1996
    Imagine			 1986
    It Should Happen to You	 1954
    Jenny			 1970
    Key Exchange		 1984
    Kramer vs. Kramer	 1979
    Laser Man		 1987
    Last Days of Disco	 1998
    Little Murders		 1971
    Little Old New York	 1923
    Love em or Leave em	 1926
    Love Story		 1970
    Lovesick		 1982
    Made in Argentina	 1986
    Manhattan		 1979
    Manhattan Murder Mystery 1993
    Marathon Man		 1976
    Married to the Mob	 1987
    Melanie Rose		 1988
    Mighty Aphrodite	 1995
    Miracle in the Rain	 1956
    Molly-O			 1985
    Moscow On the Hudson	 1983
    My Demon Lover		 1986
    My Favorite Year	 1981
    New York Stories	 1988
    Night People		 1981
    No Small Affair		 1981
    Offbeat			 1985
    Oliver's Story		 1978
    On The Town		 1949
    One Fine Day		 1996
    One More Spring		 1935
    One Trick Pony		 1980
    Orphans			 1986
    Paternity		 1982
    Politician's Love Story	 1909
    Popi			 1969
    Portrait of Jenny	 1948
    Ransom			 1996
    Return of Billy Jack	 1985
    Rich and Famous		 1981
    Romeo and Juliet	 1908
    Scarecrow in a Garden
    of Cucumbers		 1972
    Scared Stiff		 1986
    Scrooge			 1987
    Shadows			 1960
    Shall We Dance		 1937
    Shootout		 1984
    Six Degrees of Separation 1993
    Six Weeks		 1982
    Skates			 1981
    Someone to Watch Over Me 1987
    Soup for One		 1981
    Space Avenger		 1987
    Splash			 1983
    Staying Alive		 1983
    Strawberry Blonde	1941
    Stuart Little		 1999
    Stuart Little 2		 2002
    Sweet Charity		 1967
    Symbiopsychotaxiplasm	 1967-1991 
    Take the Money and Run	 1969
    That's Me		 1968
    The Bandwagon		 1953
    The Believers		 1986
    The Big Blue		 1987
    The Brothers McMullen	 1995
    The Bostonians		 1983
    The Clock		 1945
    The Devil's Advocate	 1997
    The Fan			1981
    The Fisher King		 1991
    The Hunger		 1983
    The January Man		 1988
    The Lady from Shanghai	 1948
    The Manchurian Candidate 1960
    The Marrying Kind	 1952
    The Mirror Has Two Faces 1996
    The Missioner		 1982
    The Muppets Take Manhattan 1983
    The Night We Never Met	 1993
    The Object of My Affection 1998
    The Out of Towners	 1970
    The Out of Towners	 1999
    The Owl and the Pussycat 1970
    The Pickup Artist	 1986 
    The Prince of Central Park 1999
    The Producers		 1967
    The Spanish Prisoner	 1998
    The Way We Were		 1973
    The World of Henry Orient 1964
    Three Men and A Baby	 1987
    Thursdays Game		 1974
    Tootsie			 1983
    Top Hat 		 1935
    Traces			 1981
    Two of A Kind		 1983
    Up in Central Park	 1948
    Wall Street	 	 1987
    When Harry Met Sally	 1989
    Where's Poppa 		 1968
    Wolfen			 1981
    You're a Big Boy Now	 1961
    You've Got Mail 	 1998 
    Official Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site
    St. Petersburg Times
    St. Petersburg Times - Photos
    Frederick Law Olmsted
    Frederick Law Olmsted's Central Park
    Central Park

    Central Park Oasis
    New York Photos Menus
  • New York Tourists
  • Wired New York
    The Central Park Zoo
  • The SummerStage schedule
  • Schedule of concerts for summer 1999
  • Metrobeat
  • This is the Premiere reference to New York City happenings.
  • Web Art Gallery
  • Select watercolors of New York for Central Park artwork.
  • New York City Reference
  • New York Sports Online
  • Amateur sports in the City.
  • New York Flyers
  • A runners club based in Central Park.
  • Central Park Skate Patrol
  • A safety patrol organization.
  • New York Now
  • A New York based community site.
  • Central Park Bird Watcher
  • Birds in Central Park.

    Hi-tech halo to mark Central Park's birthday.
    Pyrotechnic pixels position huge ring of fireworks.
    19 July 2003
    Last year pyrotechnic pixels made a rainbow over New York's East River. © Fireworks by Grucci
    The pyrotechnic highlight of most birthdays is a ring of candles. But in honour of Monday's 150th anniversary of New York's Central Park, more than 1,000 microchip-controlled fireworks will explode together into a spectacular halo of light - on September 15.
    Light Cycle will begin at 7.45 pm on 15 September 2003.
    Hi-tech halo to mark Central Park's birthday
    Reason To Celebrate Central Park


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