Friday, February 26, 2010

I LOVE NY 26 of 28 Places to Visit

Central Park
Photos courtesy of

Central Park is an urban park that occupies about 1.2 square miles (341 hectares, or 843 acres) in the heart of Manhattan in New York City. It is host to approximately twenty-five million visitors each year. Central Park was opened in 1859, completed in 1873 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1963.

The park was designed by the famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and the architect Calvert Vaux. 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 (one of which is a swimming pool in July and August), the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a large area of natural woods, a reservoir with an encircling running track, and the outdoor Delacorte Theater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Eighty-five percent of the park's operating budget comes from private sources via the Central Park Conservancy, which manages the park pursuant to a contract with New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

Diana Ross FREE concert in Center Park in July 1983

The Diana Ross Playground is located Central Park, inside the park at West 81st Street and Central Park West. Its namesake, the recording artist Diana Ross, who lives across the street in The Beresford, gave a fabled 1983 free concert in Central Park and pledged to fund the project with proceeds from the television rights; however, when this did not prove profitable, she used personal resources. Groundbreaking took place in September 1986, with both Ross and then-Mayor Ed Koch present. Ross reportedly called the event "one of the most fulfilling aspects of [her] life and career."

Today, the playground is equipped with sturdy wood equipment, tire swings, a tube slide, a corkscrew slide, sandboxes, rope bridges, and a mushroom-style water feature. Open daily from 7:30am to dusk, the space is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy Playground Partners program.

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