Central Park

CENTRAL PARK is an 843-acre man-made marvel of natural design with scenic vistas at nearly every turn, paths that range from rambles to promenades and recreational facilities that include 21 playgrounds, 2 skating rinks and a zoo. It is the most visited urban park in the United States, with 40 million visitors annually. Officially opened in 1859, this creation of Olmsted and Vaux helped usher in the era of municipal parks. Olmsted wrote about the contribution of urban parks to human health and vigor and predicted the rise in property values that would occur in the blocks that border Central Park.

MAP central park bike

To see a map of the entire park click on the image above.

The recent proposal for several “supertall” towers just south of Central Park, part of a trend of such construction in New York City, has raised concern about negative implications for the park. The shadows cast by towers already completed in the area have noticeably decreased the sun exposure in certain corners of the park. This workshop briefly looks at the work of New York City’s Municipal Art Society in studying impacts of tall towers on the park, educating the public, and exploring options for addressing the challenges they present.     CLICK here for extra info and quiz.

NARRATOR:  Elizabeth Goldstein has an extensive backgrouIMG_0541nd in parks and historic preservation advocacy. Prior to joining MAS as President, she was most recently the President of the California State Parks Foundation.  She previously served as the General Manager of the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department and the Western Director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A native of the Bronx, she has also worked for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, the New York City Parks Department, and the Manhattan Borough Office of New York City Parks. Elizabeth graduated from Beloit College.

Podcast – MAS Confronts the Problem of Shadows cast by Tall Towers      (4:17) 

The Municipal Art Society has a tradition of advocating for light and space in New York City.  Here Elizabeth Goldstein discusses their “Accidental Skyline” project.

View Central Park After

View North Toward Central Park: Rendering showing the size and massing of projects currently being developed. (Photo Courtesy: New York City Municipal Art Society)

Citywide 2024

With current buildout trends, shadows expected in 2024 (Photo Courtesy: New York City Municipal Art Society)

The above two images are featured in the Municipal Art Society’s website for their project “Accidental Skyline.” 

Meghan Central

Central Park is a front and back yard for New Yorkers  (Photo Credit: M.F. Houser)


Shade provided by trees (which are also filtering pollutants, helping with infiltration of groundwater, and cooling the air) is one of the park’s amenities.


November 2016 in Central Park