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The Park and the People : A History of Central Park

Rosenzweig, Roy; Blackmar, Elizabeth

67 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0801425166 / ISBN 13: 9780801425165
Published by Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1992
Condition: Very Good + Hardcover
From Hermit Hill Books (Poultney, VT, U.S.A.)

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Yellow cloth boards with green spine lettering. Spine lettering is lightly rubbed but still readable. Green endpapers. Illustrated with b/w photos. Clean & tight. NO markings. Dj has minor edge and shelfwear. Bookseller Inventory # 4600

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Park and the People : A History of ...

Publisher: Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good +

Dust Jacket Condition: very good

Edition: First printing.

About this title

Synopsis:

This "exemplary social history" (Kirkus Reviews) is the first full-scale account of Central Park ever published. Elizabeth Blackmar and Roy Rosenzweig tell the story of Central Park's people--the merchants and landowners who launched the project; the immigrant and African-American residents who were displaced by the park; the politicians, gentlemen, and artists who disputed its design and operation; the German gardeners, Irish laborers, and Yankee engineers who built it; and the generations of New Yorkers for whom Central Park was their only backyard. In tracing the park's history, Blackmar and Rosenzweig give us the history of New York, and bring to life larger issues about the meaning of the word "public" in a democratic society.

From the Back Cover:

In this superb and handsomely illustrated book - the first full-scale history of the park ever published - Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar tell the dramatic story of the creation of Central Park, of the people who built it and have used it. The book chronicles the launching of the park project, the disputes surrounding its design and management, the job of constructing it, and the various ways it has served generations of New Yorkers. Throughout, the authors delineate the politicians, business people, artists, immigrant laborers, and city dwellers who are the key players in the tale. In tracing the park's history, the writers also give us the history of New York. They explain how squabbles over politics, taxes, and real estate development shaped the park and describe the acrimonious debates over what a public park should look like, what facilities it should offer, and how it should accommodate the often incompatible expectations of different groups of parkgoers. The authors have uncovered surprising information about the immigrants and African Americans who were displaced from the park site, and they offer a critical reassessment of the famous collaboration of the park's designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In rich detail, they describe working-class New Yorkers fighting for Sunday park concerts and against the practice of renting park seats for a nickel. They look back at the origins of the zoo and museums at the park's borders. They follow the battle between the twentieth-century reformers who wanted to introduce playgrounds and ball fields and the preservationists trying to protect the original Olmsted and Vaux design, and they explain the dramatic changes broughtabout by the social impulses of the New Deal and by Robert Moses. Rounding out the story, the authors take in the park's recent history: rising fears of crime in the 1950s, the "be-ins" and anti-war demonstrations of the 1960s, the devastating fiscal crisis of the 1970s, and the restoration of the park in the 1980s by the Central Park Conservancy. But the authors' aim is much wider: they also show that conflicting visions of how a park should be managed and used raise larger issues about the meaning of the "public" in a democratic society. Who is the public? How can people take part in making decisions about public institutions? How do we create public space where people of diverse social and cultural backgrounds will feel welcome? These are questions that communities across the nation will continue to debate. Parkgoers and city dwellers everywhere will be enthusiastic readers of The Park and the People, as will those interested in urban, architectural, social, and cultural history, urban planning, and landscape architecture.

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