Central Park, the first large public space landscaped in the United States of America, was created in the 1850s as an antidote to social unrest, largely as a result of the country’s first wave of immigration, and a serious public health crisis, caused by harmful environmental conditions. Proponents of park creation – especially wealthy merchants and landowners – argued that the park would offer its own families an attractive environment for carriage rides and, for the New York working class, a healthy alternative to the bar. After three years of discussion of park location and costs, in 1853 the state legislature authorized New York City to use the “eminent domain power” to acquire more than 7 million square meters (700 hectares) of land in the center of Manhattan.
In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux (Landscape Architects) won the Central Park Design Contest in an uneven terrain of marshes and bluffs punctuated by rocky outcrops between the fifth and eighth avenues and the streets 59 and 106 To create the park, however, it would be necessary to move about 1,600 poor people, including Irish pig farmers and German gardeners, who lived in shanty-towns. On Eighth Avenue and 82nd Street, the Seneca neighborhood had been one of the city’s most stable Afro-American settlements, with three churches and one school. The extension of the boundaries up to 110th Street in 1863 defined the park’s boundaries for its current 8.43 million m2 (843 hectares).
The park has several attractions, such as bridges and arcades, fountains, monuments, sculptures, playgrounds and recreation and food areas.
In 1980 the Central Park Conservancy was created, a private, non-profit organization with the purpose of running the Park. Central Park currently requires investments of US $ 58.3 million. With 40 million visits per year at its 8.43 million m2, Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States.