Central Park is the most famous park in New York City—it is also one of the most famous parks in the world. The first landscaped park in the United States, Central Park was designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and took over 20,000 workers to complete. The park was opened to the public in 1857.
Since its opening, Central Park has grown to include 840 acres of land and welcomes approximately 37 million visitors each year! Therefore, it is the most visited urban park in America! In 1962 Central Park was awarded the status of “National Historical Landmark” by the U.S. government.
Needless to say, there are lots of things to see and do in Central Park! Fountains, lakes, zoos and playgrounds are just a few of the things that the location offers visitors. Below is the first in a four part list series that documents some of the most famous sites to see when in Central Park.
Bethesda Fountain, and the “Angel of the Waters” statue that stands atop it, is situated in The Terrace area of Central Park. The bronze “Angel of the Waters” statue was commissioned specifically for the park. It was designed by a sculptor named Emma Stebbins who became the first woman to ever receive commission for a major work of art from the city of New York. The fountain was constructed between 1859 and 1864 and dedicated to the park in 1873. Until this day the fountain is beloved by park goers. Over 140 years after its creation, water still flows from the fountain and it is now also illuminated by lights after nightfall.
Belvedere Castle is a building in Central Park that was designed to resemble a European castle. Opened in 1869, Belvedere Castle contains exhibition rooms and an observation deck that overlooks other parts of the park such as the Great Lawn and Turtle Pond. Since 1919 it has been the location of the Central Park Weather Station and some people even stargaze from the castle!
The Delacorte Theater
The Delacorte Theater is situated beside Belvedere Castle. The Delacorte Theater is an outdoor theater that can accommodate up to 1,800 people. The theater opened in 1962 and was named after George T. Delacorte Junior, a publishing company founder who contributed towards the financing of the theater’s construction. In the spring and summer months the theater performs Shakespearian plays that are free to the public on a first-come-first-served ticket basis. Some of the actors and actresses that star in these free productions are world famous names like Al Pacino and Anne Hathaway!
Alice in Wonderland Statue
The Alice in Wonderland statue is one of the most famous sites in Central Park. It was sculpted by an artist named Jose de Creefts and unveiled in the park in 1959. The statue was crafted as an ode to the author Lewis Carroll and was intended to be a structure that children could climb on and explore. Hence, it has a lot of detail and many nooks and crannies that are easy to grab a hold of. The bronze statue stands 11 feet tall and includes the characters of Alice, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat among others.
Hans Christian Andersen Statue
Fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen is also honored via a Central Park statue. The large bronze statue was crafted by an artist named Georg J. Lober and was unveiled in 1956. The imagery serves as an ode to the Danish poet, novelist and children’s book author who was famous for stories such as “The Ugly Duckling.” In fact, the statue pays direct homage to that particular story through details like a bronze duckling sitting an Andersen’s feet. Additionally, the statue also depicts Andersen reading a book and the page has words from that story etched into the bronze. During the summer months young children are invited to attend readings by the statue of famous stories by Hans Christian Andersen including “The Little Mermaid” and “Thumbelina.”