How did Central Park become a vibrant gem in the heart of New York City? Follow the visionaries behind the plan as it springs to green life.
In 1858, New York City was growing so fast that new roads and tall buildings threatened to swallow up the remaining open space. The people needed a green place to be -- a park with ponds to row on and paths for wandering through trees and over bridges. When a citywide contest solicited plans for creating a park out of barren swampland, Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted put their heads together to create the winning design, and the hard work of making their plans a reality began. By winter, the lake opened for skating. By the next summer, the waterside woodland known as the Ramble opened for all to enjoy. Meanwhile, sculptors, stone masons, and master gardeners joined in to construct thirty-four unique bridges, along with fountains, pagodas, and band shells, making New York's Central Park a green gift to everyone. Included in the end matter are bios of Vaux and Olmsted, a bibliography, and engaging factual snippets.
Yazdani's debut picture book depicts the birth, bustle, and beauty of New York City's iconic Central Park. Vibrant watercolor illustrations full of period detail tell the park's story, beginning with a design contest in 1958. Essential to the tale are architect Calvert Vaux and park superintendent (and famed landscape architect) Frederick Law Olmsted, who win the design competition with their idea for "a green gift to everyone." The story's initial pages show African-American families having to leave their homes to make way for the park; the loss of their community, known as Seneca Village, is one of several additional facts briefly mentioned in the back matter. The Lake, the Ramble, and the Children's District are shown humming with the activity of wealthy-looking 19th-century parkgoers enjoying the amenities, as smaller vignettes focus on a few of the park's aesthetic touches; in one double spread, the park's many and varied bridges surround their designer. Watercolor scenes include a wide range of people enjoying the nascent park, and a final spread of diverse modern-day parkgoers reinforces Olmsted and Vaux's idea for this egalitarian enclave. An author's note and bibliography conclude. Ages 7-10. (Mar.)
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