Central Park is located in Manhattan, New York City, and spans 843 acres. It was first opened in 1858 and was later expanded to its current size in 1873. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who won a design competition to improve and expand the park. The park features a variety of landscapes, including lakes, ponds, meadows, and wooded areas. It is bounded by Fifth Avenue on the east, Central Park West on the west, Central Park South on the south, and Central Park North on the north.
The park is divided into several zones and has multiple attractions. Some well-known features include the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, the boathouse where visitors can rent rowboats, and the Bethesda Terrace and Fountain. The park also contains 21 playgrounds, fountains, monuments, sculptures, and 42 bridges. The Central Park Mall, a pedestrian esplanade, is one of the most visited sections and is flanked by American elm trees.
Recreational facilities are abundant in Central Park. These include baseball fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts. The park also has several bodies of water, including the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which joggers and walkers use. Central Park has multiple running tracks and loops, the most famous being a 6.1-mile loop that circles the entire park. In the winter, Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink offer ice skating.
The Central Park Conservancy manages Central Park in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The Conservancy is responsible for maintenance, restoration projects, and visitor services. It provides 75% of Central Park’s annual operating budget and employs around 80% of its maintenance staff. Major restoration projects have included the Great Lawn, Bethesda Terrace, and the Bow Bridge.
Public transportation to Central Park is easily accessible, with multiple subway lines and bus routes stopping near various entrances. The park itself has marked paths and signposts to aid navigation. It receives approximately 42 million visitors annually, making it the most visited urban park in the United States. Despite its high visitor numbers, the park has retained a diverse bird population and is a popular location for birdwatching.