February 16, 2019

Essex Land Trust Event – Saving Central Park

The Essex Garden Club and the Essex Land Trust are pleased to invite the general public to attend a program on Saving Central Park. Lane Addonizio, an Associate Vice President for Planning at the Central Park Conservancy, will discuss the various scientific and technological practices to maintain and restore Central Park, a man-made landscape. Some topics to be touched on are the Soil, Water and Ecology Lab’s role in maintaining the Park’s water bodies for its wildlife (mainly birds and fish) and its soil for the plantings and trees. Many technological innovations will be illustrated and discussed that have helped to restore the Park’s seemingly natural landscape, focusing on such high-tech sites such as the Great Lawn and the Lake and our three woodlands

The first public space of its kind, Central Park was conceived as a reprieve from the city for the benefit of all New Yorkers. The massive undertaking represented by its construction produced an idealized rurallandscape replete with meadows, lakes, and woodlands, all carefully orchestrated to transport urban dwellers from the reality of their daily lives. Frederick Law Olmsted suggested that the Park would be for working people—many of whom were destined to live their entire lives on the island of Manhattan—what a trip to the White Mountains or the Adirondacks was to those of greater means. It would provide what Olmsted referred to as the “sense of enlarged freedom” that comes from contact with nature. But the Park is not a naturally-occurring landscape. It is a man-made construct: a product of 19th century ingenuity designed to replicate the experience of nature at the heart of a great metropolis. As such, it has been subjected throughout its history not only to the pressures of encroachment and development that motivate efforts to conserve natural landscapes, but to the forces of deterioration, impacts of intense use, and periodic cycles of resource deprivation and management neglect.

Today, after thirty years of restoration and stewardship by the Central Park Conservancy, the Park is experiencing the longest period of sustained management in its 150-year history. The story of its creation, checkered past, and remarkable recovery supports the important idea that, as stewards, we can partner with nature’s improvisational energy to shape the character and nurture the intrinsic value of ever-evolving places that hold meaning for us.

Lane Addonizio oversees research and analysis for park wide and project planning, and collaborates with the Vice President for Planning, Design & Construction on the development and management of the program of the Park’s ongoing restoration and reconstruction. Ms. Addonizio is the author of the Report on the Public Use of Central Park, the most comprehensive study of the Park’s use in its more than 150-year history, which was published by the Conservancy in 2011.

The event is free and takes place at Essex Town Hall on Monday, March 5 at 2 p.m. Refreshments served. Parking behind Town Hall, 29 West Avenue, Essex.