Copyright 2003 Gannett Company, Inc.
April 11, 2003, Friday, FINAL EDITION
SECTION: LIFE; Pg. 2D
LENGTH: 1041 words
HEADLINE: Perusing Central Park, from one end to the other
BYLINE: Jerry Shriver
Events that drew the largest estimated crowds:
* Earth Day, April 22, 1990: 750,000
* Anti-nuclear rally, June 12, 1982: 600,000
* Paul Simon concert, Aug. 15, 1991: 600,000
* Luciano Pavarotti concert, June 26, 1993: 500,000
* Simon and Garfunkel concert, Sept. 19, 1981: 400,000
* Diana Ross concert, July 21, 1983: 350,000
* Barbra Streisand concert, June 17, 1967: 250,000
* James Taylor concert, July 31, 1979: 250,000
* Pope John Paul II celebrating Mass, Oct. 7, 1995: 125,000
* Stonewall 25 gay-rights rally, June 26, 1994: 100,000
The park issues more than 2,000 film permits every year, with about
going to commercial still photographers and the rest going to motion
television crews. Among the most popular of the 170-plus films that have
shot in the park:
An Affair to Remember, Annie Hall, Barefoot in the Park, Breakfast at
Tiffany's, Carnal Knowledge, Crocodile Dundee II, Death Wish,
Seeking Susan, Die Hard With a Vengeance, Fatal Attraction, Godspell,
Hair, Kramer vs. Kramer, Love Story, Manhattan, Marathon Man, Six
Separation, Stuart Little (I and II), Ghostbusters, The Fisher King,
, When Harry Met Sally, Hannah and Her Sisters.
Tavern on the Green, one of two major restaurants (along with The
in the park, has been one of the country's two highest-grossing
more than a decade. Last year, 673,000 customers dined there, and the
generated $ 36 million. The $ 33 prime rib is the most popular entree.
Facts of nature
* Ever wonder what Manhattan's skyscrapers are built on? Check out
park's outcroppings of schist (rock that contains parallel layers of
believed to be 450 million years old and best viewed on the park's west
near 62nd and 110th streets.
* Among the 270 species of birds that have been spotted, one has
crowd favorite: the red-tailed hawk. From late May to early June,
birders set up
telescopes and binoculars near the Conservatory Water on the east side
72nd and 73rd streets and allow passersby to view the hatching of eggs
in a nest
located on the windowsill of a Fifth Avenue apartment.
Of 26,000 trees and 150 species, these are standouts, says Central
Conservancy's Neil Calvanese:
* "The most significant trees are probably the American elms,
are not many left in the country." Of the 1,700 elms, the biggest
lines The Mall between 66th and 70th streets.
* "The rarest tree is the single Chinese toon tree, which has a
It's been around since the early 1960s." It's at West 59th Street and
* "The most magnificent tree is the London Plain Tree on the east
96th Street. It's at least 100 feet tall and is the most massive tree in
* In the 1980s, workers removed an estimated 1 acre's worth of
Today, an internal rule mandates that all graffiti be removed within 24
"You have to stay on top of it," park administrator Douglas Blonsky
* Over the years, park workers have captured a coyote in the north
small alligator in the Harlem Meer and a boa constrictor in the Bethesda
* In the 1980s, someone built treehouses all over the park. "We
catch him," Blonsky says.
* Cholera outbreaks and a tainted-milk scandal in the 1850s inspired
designers to incorporate a dairy for children to get fresh regulated
Today, The Dairy, at 65th Street, is used as a visitors center.
* The oldest man-made object is the 71-foot-tall, 244-ton Obelisk
Metropolitan Museum, nicknamed "Cleopatra's Needle" and dating from 1500
The Khedive (ruler) of Egypt offered it as a gift in 1879.
Celebrities on location
The streets that form the side borders, Fifth Avenue on the east and
Park West, are lined with stately apartment buildings that contain some
country's most expensive living spaces. Among the notable personalities
recently have maintained residences along or near the perimeter:
* Diana Ross
* Ralph Lauren
* Kevin Klein and Phoebe Cates
* Bette Midler
* Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward
* Jerry Seinfeld
* Steven Spielberg
* Michael J. Fox and Tracey Pollan
* Mary Tyler Moore
* Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgewick
* Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
* Steve Martin
* Lorne Michaels
* Yoko Ono
* Peter Jennings
* Meg Ryan
* Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones
The good, the bad, the ugly
From the mid-1960s to the early 1980s, as New York struggled through
fiscal crisis and as crime rates soared, Central Park came to symbolize
the city's woes. A low point: In 1982, park police recorded nine murders
robberies, says Thomas Reppetto of the Citizens Crime Commission of New
City, a private monitoring group.
"The park is like the front lawn of the city. If there is a murder
gets bigger play," Reppetto says.
Today, the precinct is one of the safest in a city that is one of the
nation's safest per capita. Still, the public has not forgotten some
* 2000. Up to 50 women were groped, stripped and sexually abused by
during the annual Puerto Rican Day festivities. Eighteen men were
* 1997. Two 15-year-olds were arrested and convicted after robbing,
and disemboweling a 44-year-old man.
* 1989. Five young men were arrested and convicted after the gang
near-fatal beating of jogger Trisha Meili. Those convictions recently
overturned after a convicted serial rapist confessed to the crime.
* 1986. Robert Chambers Jr. was arrested and convicted in the death
Jennifer Levin behind the Metropolitan Museum, in the "preppy murder."
was released from prison this year.
GRAPHIC: PHOTO, B/W, Scott Johnson, AP; PHOTO, B/W, Todd Plitt, USA
PHOTO, B/W, Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY; PHOTO, B/W, Central Park
Garth Brooks concert, Aug. 7, 1997: 250,000 One of the most popular
attractions is the carousel at 64th Street in the middle of the park.
original carousel opened in 1871 and, according to park lore, was
powered by a
blind mule and a horse on a treadmill in an underground pit. A
version opened in 1951. A ride costs 90 cents. Several trees are
believed to be
original to the park, dating to the 1860s, including the pin oaks in The
the tulip trees on Cherry Hill, English elms along Literary Walk and an
orange tree near Wollman Rink," the skating rink above. Sheep grazed in
15-acre meadow in the middle of the park until 1934. The sheep and the
were housed in a building that later was converted into the Tavern on
LOAD-DATE: April 11, 2003
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