Central Park is an urban park in Manhattan, New York City, located between the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side. It is the fifth-largest park in New York City by area, covering 843 acres (3.41 km2). Central Park is the most visited urban park in the United States, with an estimated 37.5–38 million visitors annually, as well as one of the most filmed locations in the world.
Following proposals for a large park in Manhattan during the 1840s, Central Park was first approved in 1853 as a 778-acre (3.15 km2) park. In 1857, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and architect/landscape designer Calvert Vaux won a design competition to construct the park with a plan they titled the “Greensward Plan”. Construction began the same year, and the park’s first areas were opened to the public in late 1858. Additional land at the northern end of Central Park was purchased in 1859, and the park was completed in 1876. After a period of decline in the early 20th century, New York City parks commissioner Robert Moses started a program to clean up Central Park. Another decline in the late 20th century spurred the creation of the Central Park Conservancy in 1980, which refurbished many parts of the park during the 1980s and 1990s.
Main attractions of the park include landscapes such as the Ramble and Lake, Hallett Nature Sanctuary, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, and Sheep Meadow; amusement attractions such as Wollman Rink, Central Park Carousel, and the Central Park Zoo; formal spaces such as the Central Park Mall and Bethesda Terrace; and the Delacorte Theater, which hosts Shakespeare in the Park programs in the summertime. The park also has sports facilities, including the North Meadow Recreation Center, basketball courts, baseball fields, and soccer fields.
Central Park was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1963 and as a New York City scenic landmark in 1974. The park is owned by New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks), but has been managed by the Central Park Conservancy since 1998, under contract with the municipal government in a public-private partnership. The Conservancy, a non-profit organization, contributes 75 percent of Central Park’s $65 million annual budget and is responsible for all basic care of the park.