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The Mall in Central Park, c. 1900

New York City. Central Park Mall, Elm Trees.
New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_D47_NC461
 
Document Description
People in the main walkway in Central Park on a sunny afternoon.
 
Questions
What are the people doing in this picture?
Describe the clothing that people are wearing.
Why is it useful to have a park in the middle of a big city?
What class of people are in this picture?
 
Historical Challenges
Find out how Frederick Law Olmstead hoped Central Park would be used.
Research some other places that Olmstead designed.
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: Go out on the playground and measure an acre to get an idea of the size of Central Park, then figure out the area of the park in miles.
Science: Find out what kinds of trees and animals are found in Central Park.
English Language Arts: Design a park that would be useful to people of all ages living in your community.
 
Resources
Rosenzweig, Roy and Elizabeth Blackmar. The Park and the People: A History of Central Park. Cornell University Press, October 1998. ISBN: 0801497515
McGovern, Ann. If You Lived 100 Years Ago. Scholastic, Inc., August 1999. ISBN: 0590960016
Melmed, Laura Krauss. New York, New York!: The Big Apple from A to Z. HarperCollins Publishers, May 2005. ISBN: 0060548746
 

Historical Context
Central Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in the mid 1800s.  This was the first park in America.  It covers 843 acres.  In the beginning, it was used by wealthy people.  They would ride in their horse-drawn carriages during the afternoons.  Women would socialize in the park, and concerts would be held there.  The first children’s playground was not built in this park until 1926.
 
Essential Question
How does the existence of leisure time influence culture and economy?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and identify key aspects of culture and economy during this time period.