Friday, June 20, 2008

Central Park - NYC

Summertime is travel time. I've been lucky when it comes to travel. I've seen many of the world's landmarks up close and personal. Places like the Eiffel Tower, The Acropolis, Vatican City, Ayres Rock, Franz Josep Glacier, Norte Dame and Big Ben. For the next few postings I want to share some lesson plans I use for my students as I present some of America's outstanding landmarks and places of interest. So get your luggage packed and gas-up your mental car because we're off. Let's go to Central Park in NYC:

Central Park is a large public park, which sits on 843 acres (3.41 km²) in a rectangle of 2.6 miles on Manhattan in New York City. The park has about 25 million visitors annually, making it the most visited park in the U.S.

It is bordered on the north by West 110th Street, on the south by West 59th Street, on the west by Eighth Avenue. Fifth Avenue runs along the eastern border of the park. All the area around the park is very valuable real estate.

As late as 1811 no park was planned for New York City. But between 1821 and 1855 it grew 4 times larger and the only open spaces where people could get away from the noise and busy city life were the few cemeteries. Andrew Jackson Downing, a landscape architect, began to make speeches about the need for a public park. He believed what was needed was a place for open-air driving, like the Bois de Boulogne in Paris or London’s Hyde park. And in 1853 the state legislature designated a 700 acre (2.8 km²) area from 59th to 106th Streets for the creation of a park for a cost of more than $5 million for the land alone.

The park was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect Calvert Vaux. It was finished in 1857. Even though the park looks natural, it is in fact almost entirely landscaped. It contains several natural-looking lakes and ponds, many walking trails, two ice-skating rinks, the Central Park Zoo and Conservatory Garden, a wildlife sanctuary, a 106-acre (0.43 km²) natural woods, a billion gallon reservoir with an encircling running track, and an outdoor amphitheater called the Delacorte Theater which hosts the "Shakespeare in the Park" summer festivals. Indoor attractions include Belvedere Castle with its nature center, the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theatre, and the historic Carousel. In addition there are many grassy areas, some of which are used for informal or team sports, some are set aside as quiet areas, and there are a number of enclosed playgrounds for children.

The park is taken care of by the Central Park Conservancy, a private, non-profit organization. The park has its own wildlife and also serves as an oasis for migrating birds, especially in the fall and the spring, attracting bird watchers. The 6 miles (10 km) of drives within the park are used by joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters, especially on weekends, and in the evenings after 7:00 p.m., when automobile traffic is banned. The real-estate value of Central Park is estimated to be $528,783,552,000. In 1963 the park was placed on the National Historical List where it could be protected forever. Find out more about the park at:

Research info gathered at:

Now here's one of my poems with a grassy knoll:

Eye Glance Or Glide

Scales uncolored in themselves produce a series of rainbows
Blue delicate curly petals with leaves flat almost dandelions

Almost invisible glacier tundra peat bog prairie
All alone in the yard silver lawnmower blades

The sun trees flowers that exist grabs all my attention
What about more delicate redwood needles in the shadows

Sun so brilliant here giant lilies grow in the shade
Cut straight down the center as hand lotion soothes the mind

Poem first published at:
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Poem copyright 2008 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.


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