The Central Park: Original Designs For New York’s Greatest Treasure From Harlem To The Hilton

April 23, 2019

The New York City Department of Records & Information Services announced the availability of a new book: The Central Park: Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure (Abrams 2019).

Drawn from the collections of the NYC Municipal Archives, and much of it never before published, the book is a virtual time machine that takes the reader on a journey through the park as it was originally envisioned. Included are more than 250 color photographs and illustrations such as the original winning competition entry submitted by park designers Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux; meticulously detailed plans and elevations of many of the architectural features of the park—some built, some unbuilt; elegant designs for all kinds of fixtures needed in a world of gaslight and horses; as well as intricate engineering drawings of park infrastructure. It is both a magnificent art book and a message from the past about how brilliant urban planning can open up a great city.


Authored by Cynthia S. Brenwall, a Municipal Archives conservator, with a forward by architecture critic Martin Filler, The Central Park, Original Designs for New York’s Greatest Treasure, is available at bookstores throughout the city and on-line. The price is $50.00.

The Municipal Archives preserves and makes available New York City government’s historical records dating to the 17th century. Its online gallery provides research access to over 1.7 million items digitized from the vast holdings, click here.


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