Central Park is a Manhattan, New York City public park located between Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Upper East Side communities. It is New York City’s fifth-largest park by area, covering 843 acres (3.41 sq km). Central Park, with an estimated 37.5–38 million visitors per year, is the most visited urban park in the United States, and is the most filmed location in the world.
During the 1840s Central Park was first approved as a 778-acre (3.15 km2) park in 1853, following proposals for a large park in Manhattan. In 1857, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect / landscape designer Calvert Vaux won their “Greensward Plan” design competition for the park. Construction started the same year, and in late 1858 the first sections of the park were opened to the public. In 1859 additional property was acquired at the north end of Central Park, and the park was completed in 1876. New York City park commissioner Robert Moses has launched a campaign to clean up Central Park after a period of deterioration in the early 20th century. Created in 1980 to combat further deterioration in the late 20th century, the Central Park Conservancy renovated many parts of the park during the 1980s and 1990s.
Central Park’s main attractions include landscapes such as the Ramble and Lake, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir and Sheep Meadow; entertainment attractions such as Wollman Rink, Central Park Carousel and Central Park Zoo; formal spaces such as Central Park Mall and Bethesda Terrace; and Delacorte Theatre. Central Park has a biologically diverse ecosystem including several hundred flora and fauna species. Although many visitors take part in passive recreational activities such as carriage-horse rides, the park also includes sports facilities, as well as concerts and events like Shakespeare in the Park. Central Park is crossed by a road and walkway system, and is served by public transport.
The scale and cultural context of Central Park has served as a blueprint to other urban parks. The park was listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1963, and as a scenic landmark in New York City in 1974, due to its broad influence. Central Park is maintained by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), but has been managed by Central Park Conservancy since 1998, under a public-private partnership arrangement with the municipal government. The Conservancy, a non-profit organization, contributes 75 percent of the $65 million annual budget of Central Park, and is responsible for all the park’s basic care.