When it comes to iconic landmarks, few places are as recognizable as New York City's Central Park. This sprawling green space is a beloved destination for locals and tourists alike, but few people know the story behind its creation. Two main figures are responsible for the design of this iconic park: Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In the mid-19th century, New York City was rapidly growing and the need for a public park became evident.
To meet this demand, a competition was held to find the best design for a new park. Out of 33 proposals, Calvert Vaux (1824-189) and Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-190) presented the winning design, called Plan Greensward. Vaux was a British-born architect and landscape designer who had worked with Andrew Jackson Downing, while Olmsted was an American journalist and landscape architect. Vaux had clear ideas about how Central Park should be developed; he had played a decisive role in getting Egbert Viele's proposal rejected, as he considered it an affront to Downing's memory. The two men set out to create a space designed to unite all people, regardless of their origin.
Evidence of this vision can still be seen in the park's design today. Full of grass, trees and walking trails, Central Park is an oasis of nature in the center of New York City. But it wasn't always this way; before its creation, the area was barren, swampy and dull terrain. Olmsted and Vaux worked together to transform this land into something special. Olmsted was also involved in planning the design of other famous construction projects, such as the coordinated system of avenues and public parks in Buffalo, New York. After a period of decline in the early 20th century, New York City's parks commissioner, Robert Moses, began a program to clean up Central Park in the 1930s.
This effort was taken over by the Central Park Conservancy in 1998, which has managed the park ever since. The Conservancy is a private non-profit organization that works with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation to maintain Central Park. Like the Empire State Building or Wall Street, you can't think of New York City without Central Park being one of its most defining features. It is an urban park located between the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan and is the fifth largest park in New York City. Those planning to visit New York soon should add Central Park to their list of must-see attractions. Central Park for New York is what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris: something shrouded in thick layers of history and, at the same time, modern.