Central Park was the first landscaped public park in the nation. Designers Frank Olmstead and Calvert Vaux transformed what was once a swamp into 843 acres of lakes, nature walks, and recreation areas, stretching from 59th Street to 110th Street, and from Fifth Avenue to Central Park West. Today, over 15 million people visit the park every year to join New Yorkers in escaping the hectic pace of the city. The Park is also featured in many movies, including “When in Rome,” “Iron Man 2,” “Enchanted”, and “When Harry Met Sally.”
- Strawberry Fields – dedicated as a memorial to John Lennon, who was shot and killed at his nearby apartment building, the Dakota, in 1980.
- Henry Luce Nature Observatory – Opened in May, 1996, this observatory occupies two floors of Belvedere Castle and offers a breathtaking view of the park and surrounding city.
- Bethesda Terrace – This plaza resembling a Spanish courtyard is considered the centerpiece of the park and includes a sweeping staircase and fountain.
- Cleopatra’s Needle – This 77-foot, pink granite Egyptian obelisk was given to the city in 1880.
- The Great Lawn and Sheep Meadow – These wide open spaces have held many concerts, including Diana Ross, Garth Brooks and Simon and Garfunkel.
- Wildlife Conservation Center and Children’s Zoo – The zoo houses over 450 animals of 100 species on 5.5 acres of the park.
- The Carousel – The original carousel, which opened in 1871, was powered by a blind mule and a horse which walked on a treadmill in an underground pit. Today’s carousel features the largest hand-carved jumping horses in the United States.