| By Debra Kirby |
After spending five days in New York City, much of it in and around Central Park, I decided to give my tired feet a rest and engage in some online exploration in honor of National Parks and Recreation Month, which has been celebrated in the United States during the month of July since 1985.
I already knew that Central Park was designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed Detroit’s Belle Isle Park—where I spent many childhood weekends, picnicking with my family and wading through the mucky sand of the beaches of the Detroit River. But there was so much more to discover, so I jumped into U.S. History In Context and learned:
- Though Central Park officially opened in 1876, for the first decade, it was visited primarily by wealthy New Yorkers; regular folk followed once restrictions on grassy areas were lifted, allowing for ball games to be played, and Sunday band concerts were scheduled. Regular park use by the working classes increased even more once playgrounds were added starting in 1920. Learn more >>
- You might also be interested in this 1870 address by Olmsted on the importance of urban planning. Take a look >>
- After watching this video, I’ve decided to give my feet a break next time I visit and look up Frankie Legs for an informative pedicab ride.
In the meantime, I’ll seek out opportunities to visit some local parks—including Belle Isle—to celebrate National Parks and Recreation Month this July! What parks do you plan to visit?
Photos from my trip to Central Park: