June 21: SWINY’s Exclusive Summer Solstice Tour of Central Park


Building and Bankrolling Central Park’s Grand Structures

Thursday, June 21, 6 to 7:30 p.m.


Join us for SWINY’s 7th annual private, customized tour of hidden Central Park, one of the world’s greatest—and wholly unnatural—urban environments.

If you’ve been on a previous SWINY walk, you already know that Central Park is a totally human-made ecosystem.

Its swampland and bluffs were originally home to 1,600 poor. After the park’s designers, Frederick Law Olmstead (also a journalist!) and Calvert Vaux, knocked down the shanties, they imported soil and boulders, then planted trees, shrubs, and flowers from around the world.

This tour will reveal how these changes came about. On SWINY’s distinctive walk, crammed with Central Park’s little-known history, politics and construction innovations, you will

  • Hear about the secret deals of New York mayors, including Fernando Wood, a notorious Confederate sympathizer, who used the powers of eminent domain to eject black property owners from the land now at Central Park’s center.
  • Learn about the epic battles over the park’s design that involved Olmstead, Vaux, famed architect Stanford White, August Belmont (who gave horse racing the Belmont Stakes), and others—and find out who won.
  • See where the rich and famous rode their horses—and why it mattered.

Our unique, insightful tour will bring to life the beautiful Park’s gritty past and glorious present, through a fresh look at scenes and structures we rarely notice. You’ll see arches designed to blend inconspicuously into their surroundings, bridges that have changed over the years, and ornate railings that heralded the new age of iron. Each one complements the natural landscape.

SWINY’s experienced tour guide will be Central Park Conservancy volunteer David Karabell, a lawyer and amateur New York historian.

Come and celebrate the longest day of the year with this truly exceptional event!

Thursday, June 21
6 p.m.

Approximately 90 minutes

Meeting place provided with confirmation

Good walking shoes advised; small hills or stairs likely

This evening program is underwritten by SWINY, to keep the cost modest.

  • $5 SWINY/NASW members
  • $10 non-members

Space is limited to the first 20 registrants. Please sign up at https://www.jotform.com/swiny/june-21-the-essential-central-park

Photo courtesy Central Park Conservancy

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