History of New York Parks

History of New York Parks
Although New York is famous as an urban environment, it boasts several parks rich with wildlife and interesting historical backgrounds. To gain a full appreciation for the history of New York's parks, you should learn about each park's back story before heading out into the fresh air.

Bryant Park

In 1847, New York first declared this land a public park, naming it Reservoir Square. The Union Army used Reservoir Square as a training ground during the Civil War. It was renamed Bryant Park in 1884 in memory of poet William Cullen Bryant.

Bryant Park
1065 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10018

Central Park

Central Park's land was purchased in 1856 for more than $5 million. A Central Park Commission initiated a competition for the best design for the 1.2 square miles of land. There were 33 entries, and Frederick Law Olmsted was chosen as the winner with a design featuring winding paths, scenic views and large open areas for people to relax in.

Central Park
14 E. 60th St.
New York, NY 10021

Madison Square Park

The New York Knickerbockers, the first club for baseball, were founded in Madison Square Park by Alexander Cartwright in 1845. In 1876 the Statue of Liberty's torch and arm were showcased in the park while money was raised to build the rest of the monument. The small, seven-acre park reopened in June 2001 after a complete renovation.

Madison Square Park
11 Madison Ave.
New York, NY 10010

Riverside Park

Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of Central Park, also created the original plan for Riverside Park. Initial construction ran from 1875 to 1910. An additional 132 acres were added to the park in 1937.

Riverside Park
475 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10115

Washington Square Park

Washington Square Park is named after the nation's first president. Before it became a public park in 1827, the land was used as a burial ground, a site for public executions and a military training field. A popular gathering spot over the decades for performers as well as tourists, it is considered the heart of Greenwich Village.

Washington Square Park
7-13 Washington Square North
New York, NY 10003

Article Written By Kristin Wood

Kristin Wood entered the media industry in 2006 as a proofreader. She began her writing career in 2008, with work appearing in several online magazines, corporate blogs, nonprofit websites and local newspapers. Wood specializes in education, health, beauty, fashion, business and home-and-garden topics. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Point University.

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