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Monday, December 27, 2010

Central Park New York

Central Park is a large public, urban park 843 acres (3.4 km²) (1.32 mi²). With about twenty-five million visitors annually, Central Park is the most visited city park in the United States, and its appearance in many movies and television shows has made it among the most famous city parks in the world.
The park was designed by landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux in 1857. Central Park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963.
While much of the park looks natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. It contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds, extensive walking tracks, two ice-skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, a 106 acre billion gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater called the Delecorte Theater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belevedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel. In addition there are numerous major and minor grassy areas, some of which are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and there are a number of enclosed playgrounds for children.

Early history

The park was not part of the Commissioners Plan of 1811; however, between 1821 and 1855, New York City nearly quadrupled in population. As the city expanded, people were drawn to the few open spaces, mainly cemeteries, to get away from the noise and chaotic life in the city.
The State appointed a Central Park Commission to oversee the development of the park, and in 1857 the commission held a landscape design contest. Writer Frederick Law Olmsted and English architect Calvert Vaux developed the so-called "Greensward Plan", which was selected as the winning design. According to Olmsted, the park was "of great importance as the first real Park made in this century—a democratic development of the highest significance…”, a view probably inspired by his stay, and various trips in Europe in 1850. During that trip he visited several parks, and was in particular impressed by Birkenhead Park near Liverpool, England, which opened in 1847 as the first publicly funded park in the world.
Before the construction of the park could start, the area had to be cleared of its inhabitants, most of whom were quite poor and either free African-Americans or immigrants of either German or Irish origin. During the construction of the park, Olmsted fought constant battles with the Park Commissioners, many of whom were appointees of the city's Democratic machine. In 1860, he was forced out for the first of many times as Central Park's Superintendent, and was replaced by Andrew Haswell Green, the former president of New York City's Board of Education took over as the chairman of the commission.
Around the turn of the 20th century, the park faced several new challenges. Cars had been invented and were becoming commonplace, bringing with them their burden of pollution. Also, the general mental view of the people was beginning to change. No longer were parks to be used only for walks and picnics in an idyllic environment, but now also for sports, and similar recreation. Following the dissolution of the Central Park Commission in 1870 and Andrew Green's departure from the project and the death of Vaux in 1895, the maintenance effort gradually declined, and there were few or no attempts to replace dead trees, bushes and plants or worn-out lawn. For several decades, authorities did little or nothing to prevent vandalism and the littering of the park.
The park in 2004
All of this changed in 1934, when Fiorello LaGuardia was elected mayor of New York City and unified the five park-related departments then in existence, and gave Robert Moses the job of cleaning up. Moses, then about to become one of the mightiest mighty men in New York City, took over what was essentially a relic, a leftover from a bygone era.
Activities in the park

Sports

New York's Central Park is not only a wonderful place in which to enjoy a relaxing walk or to take in a summer concert on the verdant expanse of the Great Lawn. It is also New York City's Playground.
Just north of the Reservoir you will find the Central Park Tennis Courts with 26 clay and 4 asphalt courts. That makes it the largest public tennis facility in all of New York City.
The Park offers an amazing array of spectator, team and solitary sports. Whether you want to relax and watch a softball game at the Heckscher Ballfields, play a pick up game of Basketball, or run a few laps around the Reservoir the Park has something for everyone.
The Park even has its very own Lawn Bowling area. Here the terribly civilised passtimes of Lawn Bowling and Croquet can be indulged in without fear of colonial intervention. Running and Race Walking are also very popular sports in the Park with the rolling hills and scenic pathways forming a challenging and interesting course Central Park also offers a variety of seasonal sports, as well. In the summertime you can go for a swim at Lasker Pool at the northern end of the park. The fall is the perfect time for running in the park, checking out the spectacular change in the foliage as you jog through the crisp air. In the winter there is always skating at Wollman Rink, or even cross-country skiing if there is enough snow. That leaves the springtime, which, aside from skating and sking, is the perfect time for just about anything in Central Park.
The Central Park Conservancy hosts a number of athletic programs and recreational programs throughout the year. These include classes in Yoga as well as Tai Chi.

 Entertainment

Each summer, the Public Theater presents free open-air theatre productions, often starring well-known stage and screen actors, in the Delacorte Theater. Most, though not all, of the plays presented are by William Shakespeare, and the performances are generally regarded as being of high quality since the start in 1962.
    
Summerstage features free musical concerts throughout the summer.
The New York Philharmonic gives an open-air concert every summer on the Great Lawn and the Metropolitan Opera presents two operas. Many concerts have been given in the park including the Simon and Garfunkel reunion; Diana Ross, 1983;Garth Brooks, 1997; Dave Matthews Band, 2003. Since 1992, local Singer-songwriter David Ippolito has performed almost every summer weekend to large crowds of passers-by and regulars, including visitors from around the world, and has become a New York icon. Often he is simply referred to as "That guitar man from Central Park."
Also each summer, City Parks Foundation offers Central Park Summerstage, a series of free performances including music, dance, spoken word, and film presentations. SummerStage celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2005, having welcomed emerging artists and world renowned artists over two decades, including Celia Cruz, David Byrne, Curtis Mayfield, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and Nobel Laureate and Pulitzer winner Toni Morrison. The numerous portrait artists who work in Central Park have been interviewed and documented by Zina Saunders as part of her Overlooked New York project.

 Climbing

Another very interesting and unique offering of Central Park is its boulders. Climbers, especially boulderers (see bouldering) have made great use of Manhattan's bedrock, a glaciated metamorphic schist, which protrudes from the ground frequently and quite considerably in some parts of Central Park. There are about 5 - 10 spots where climbers congregate and tackle many of the boulders' offerings. The two most renowned spots, by climbers, are Rat Rock and Cat Rock, both of which sit on the south end of the park. Additionally, there are boulders spread throughout all the way up to 110th Street. Neophytes can rest assured that they will be helped and shown the specific problems and routes. Climbers here cherish the rock and visit regularly to exploit its climbing potential.

 Children

In addition to its 21 unique playgrounds, Central Park offers dozens of activities for children, including performances by master puppeteers at the historic Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre. The famous Central Park Carousel has thrilled children since the original one was built in 1870.

Sculptures

       Main article: List of sculptures in Central Park
      
Bronze statue of Christopher Columbus at Central Park, New York by Jeronimo Suñol, 1894.
Though Olmsted disapproved of the clutter of sculptures in the park, a total of twenty-nine sculptures have crept in over the years, most of which have been donated by individuals or organizations (and not the city itself). Much of the first statuary to appear in the park was of authors and poets, clustered along a section of the Mall that became known as Literary Walk. The better-known sculptors represented in Central Park include Augustus Saint-Gaudens and John Quincy Adams Ward. The "Angel of the Waters" at Bethesda Terrace by Emma Stebbins (1873), was the first large public sculpture commission for an American woman. The 1925 statue of the sled dog Balto who became famous during the 1925 serum run to Nome, Alaska is very popular among tourists, reflected in its near polished appearance as the result of being patted by countless visitors.
The oldest sculpture is "Cleopatra's Needle," actually an Egyptian obelisk of Tutmose III much older than Cleopatra, which was donated to New York by the Khedive of Egypt. The largest and most impressive is equestrian King Jagiello bronze monument on the east end of Turtle Pond. North of Conservatory Water, the sailboat pond, there is a larger-than-life statue of Alice, sitting on a huge mushroom, playing with her cat, while the Hatter and the March Hare look on. A large memorial to Duke Ellington created by sculptor Robert Graham was dedicated in 1997 near Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, in the Duke Ellington Circle.
For 16 days in 2005 (February 1227), Central Park was the setting for Christo and Jeanne-Claude's installation, The Gates. Though the project was the subject of very mixed reactions (and it took many years for Christo and Jeanne-Claude to get the necessary approvals), it was nevertheless a major, if temporary, draw for the park
      

  Central Park Zoo

Welcome to the Wildlife Conservation Society's Central Park Zoo and the Tisch Children's Zoo. Here, just a few yards from 5th Ave. you’ll find over 130 different species ranging from giant Polar Bears to the Brazilian black tarantula. A walk around the Zoo’s five plus acres will take you through a variety of habitats, all carefully designed to recreate the natural environment of the animals they house. At the left you’ll see a list of links to the pages describing all of the Zoo’s inhabitants.
The Polar Zone contains two of the Zoo's most popular guests – Polar Bears Ida (on the right) and Gus. Alongside Polar Bears lies an exhibit featuring  Harbor Seals and nearby is the Ice Pack building which houses 61 Gentoo and Chinstrap Penguins along with the Tufted Puffins.
The Tropic Zone houses a brilliant collection of tropical birds including the Fairy Blue Bird of Southeast Asia and the Scarlet-chested Parrot of Southern Australia. Here you’ll also find enough frogs, lizards, snakes, toads and various other squirmy things to keep any little boy enraptured for his entire visit. Then there are the Colobus Monkeys, as well as three species of Tamarins, to represent the primates of the tropic The Temperate Territory includes the California Sea Lion tank at the center of the exhibit and stretches around the rear of the Zoo. This section is home to the Red Pandas, Japanese Macaques and the almost urbanly manic North American River Otter. Here you’ll also find the Mandarin Ducks (happier residents then their cousins at nearby restaurants) and the lovely Swan Geese.

Central Park Facilities

A medley of heartwarming facilities greets you at the Central Park Hotel in Bangalore, Karnataka, and South India.
Central Park facilities are a colorful bouquet of useful amenities as well as lush luxuries.
Some of the important Central Park facilities that you can avail of include a reception desk, concierge facilities, complimentary breakfast, free newspapers, safety deposit lockers, barber, travel desk, beauty salon, florist, currency exchange, free vehicle parking, safety deposit boxes, a well equipped business center, luggage storage, non-smoking rooms, room facilities, gift shops and a lot more.
Business and conference facilities offered at the Central Park hotel in Bangalore, Karnataka, and South India are par excellence. Meeting rooms, secretarial services on request, work desks, computer terminals, Internet connectivity, clip boards, flip charts, projectors, microphones etc.
Central Park recreational facilities engage your attention, amuse and entertain you during your stay at the Central Park Hotel in Bangalore, Karnataka, South India. Work out at the Fitness center, relax near the cool swimming pool, surf the Internet at the in-house cyber café or amuse yourself with indoor and outdoor games. Avail of the travel desk facilities offered at the Central Park Hotel and visit the places of tourist attraction in Bangalore.
Central Park Bangalore dining is an incomparable food adventure. Sample the choicest dishes on the menu of the hotel's specialty restaurants. There is a multi-cuisine restaurant, a coffee shop and a bar that caters to the needs of your taste buds. Chinese, Continental, Indian, traditional Karnataka specialties heighten the pleasure of your taste buds.
















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