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Central Park, an American Masterpiece

To mark Central Park's 150th anniversary, this is a history of America's first urban park, a masterpiece of 19th-century landscape design. Sara Cedar Miller, official historian and photographer for the Central Park Conservancy, draws on extensive research to tell the story of the park's creation, placing it in the context of 19th-century American art and social history and illuminating the roles of its designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and their associate Jacob Wrey Mould. Period photographs, plans and drawings combine with an authoritative text and contemporary photographs, which show the restored park's glory.
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Table of Contents

An under- and overview; the heart of the park; kindred spirits; the landscapes; the architecture; the sculpture; epilogue - the birth of the Park Movement and city planning in America.

About the Author

Sara Cedar Miller has been the photographer for the Central Park Conservancy since 1984, and its official historian since 1989. Miller lectures extensively on the history of Central Park, serves as a park spokesperson on radio and television, conducts specialized tours, and has taught a popular course on the park at the New School in New York City. She lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn.


There is more to Central Park than meets the eye or is seen at the movies: 843 acres of prime, green land in the middle of one of the most important cities of the world. And man-made too, the landscape sculpted by thousands of men over twenty years to create a haven in the midst of a bustling city. Originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, it has continued to evolve for 150 years and this superb book has been produced to celebrate this great piece of art, this American earthwork, in all its glory. Author and photographer Sara Cedar Miller, the official historian and photographer for the Central Park Conservancy, expertly leads the reader through its labyrinthine walkways, exploring the avenues, terraces, meadows and ravines, all beautifully encapsulated within her stunning photographs. Little known hideaways and gardens are revealed, accompanied by their history and examinations of their wildlife and flora. It is a marvel that this can survive in the midst of New York City and is a testament to the Conservancy of their care and management. Archival footage reveals the evolution of this great garden over the last century and a half and this work will no doubt become a valuable reference for future generations in its continuing development of this American masterpiece. - Lucy Watson

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