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Arguably one of the best-known and most-visited urban parks in the world, Central Park was originally created to provide an open space for Manhattan's booming population to escape the noise and pollution of the busy city. Today, you'll still find New Yorkers (and millions of tourists!) languishing on the Park's lush lawns, jogging along its paths, skating on Wollman Pond, or riding the historic carousel. Visit this amazing park and its remarkable history in Central Park Then and Now. Officially completed in 1873, Central Park is filled with man-made lakes, ponds, winding paths, pavilions, and attractive buildings. As the photographs show, many structuresincluding an old elevated railwaywere removed to make room for the new park. Compare the old Central Park Menagerie to the modern Central Park Zoo. In its early days, the park received many exotic animals as gifts, expanding the Menagerie. A zoo building was designed to house the animals in 1934. Come rub Balto's nose! This hero sled dog has achieved a polished gold appearance as generations of children have come to rub his nose for luck.
\Marcia Reiss has lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan for more than 30 years, working as a journalist, university professor, public official and advocate. She is the author Brooklyn Then & Now and a series of guides to Brooklyn neighborhoods published by the Brooklyn Historical Society.