The Greensward Plan: Roadmap for the Making of Central Park

Central Park before construction

This is what Central Park looked like before it became a city park–swampy, rocky, hilly–in other words, a piece of work.

If you think mowing the lawn is a pain in the butt, how about making Central Park out of what you see to the right? It makes mowing the  lawn look kind of like, well, a walk in the park.

It took moving 2.5 million cubic yards of stone and earth, planting 270,ooo trees and shrubs, and more gunpowder than was used in the Battle of Gettysburg to finish it off (see Christopher Middleton’s class speech in Central Park Story, Book One). Olmsted and Vaux may as well have been trying to construct a park on the surface of the moon!

It was tough going, to be sure, and continually exceeded budget (it ended up costing the city over $5 million dollars, which roughly translates into $500 million in 2015 dollars). Still, with the 2 1/2 mile long and 1/2 mile wide property being valued at close to a trillion dollars today, I’d say it managed a pretty decent return on its original investment, wouldn’t you? (smile)





Leave a Reply

Please prove you're human. : ) * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.