On the eve of Central Park Conservancy's 35th Anniversary, Central Park
has never looked better.
Maybe you've never heard our story. Maybe you've heard it a hundred times.
In either case it bears repeating because it is the story of how one of the greatest urban parks in the world was saved by a small and passionate group of citizens.
Structures on bank of Harlem Meer at East 110th Street/Belvedere Castle, mid-Park at 79th Street
Both before restoration.
Thirty-five years ago Central Park was a disaster. Neglected by the City, the State, and citizens too afraid to stroll along its once beautiful paths, it was an eyesore.
Central Park Conservancy staff, 1980.
In 1980, a group of determined park neighbors said: no more.
They had no uniforms, titles, or real office space. They took risks. They tried new things. They raised some money, small amounts at first. And they developed innovative techniques for managing a huge urban park.
Sheep Meadow, West Side from 66th to 69th Streets, before and after restoration.
Investment in the Park paid off.
It was the unique management style of the newly formed Central Park Conservancy that turned taking care of this urban jewel into an art and a science. A strategy was in place to end the decline the Park had sustained throughout its history.
The Ravine, mid-Park at 103rd Street, before and after restoration.
Three decades of expert maintenance, restoration, and stewardship followed.
In one of the most effective public-private partnerships in New York City history, the Conservancy has invested
over $800 million into improving lawns, woodlands, and water bodies.
Central Park Conservancy staff, 2014.
The story of Central Park Conservancy
on this 35th Anniversary is a success story.
But it's not over.
There's much more work to do.
East 110th Street Playground before and after reconstruction.
Now that we have established ourselves as world leaders in urban park management,
we want to document and share what we have learned with future generations of
Central Park Conservancy staff and other urban park managers, locally and globally.
West 72nd Street entrance before and after restoration.
With 42 million people a year
now flocking to Central Park, our role in preserving and protecting this oasis is more important than ever.
Charles A. Dana Discovery Center at the restored Harlem Meer, East 110th Street/Belvedere Castle, mid-Park at 79th Street, after restoration.
As we celebrate this 35th Anniversary, we pause for just a moment to reflect on our incredible story and where we've come from — and then we get back to work.
Thank you for your support. You've helped make us who we are today. Join us in 2015 as we strive to provide a legacy for future generations of Park users.