The Park and the People
A History of Central Park 1st New edition
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Park and the People by Roy Rosenzweig
Book DescriptionThis "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.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780801497513
(238mm x 168mm x 34mm)
Imprint: Cornell University Press
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publish Date: 3-Sep-1998
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Roy Rosenzweig
Companion to Post-1945 America, Paperback (December 2005)
* Contains 34 original essays by leading experts in Post-1945 American history. * Covers society and culture, people and movements, politics and foreign policy. * Surveys and evaluates the best scholarship on every important era and topic. * Includes a book review section on essential readings. .
Presence of the Past, Paperback (March 2000)View all books by Roy Rosenzweig
Rosenzweig and Thelen analyze results from a unique and comprehensive survey in which they polled 1,500 Americans about their connection to the past and its continuing influence on their present as well as their hopes for the future.
US Kirkus Review » Now embraced as a cultural treasure and called the most democratic space in New York, Central Park has a contentious and elitist history - expertly chronicled here by Rosenzweig (History/George Mason Univ.) and Blackmar (History/Columbia Univ.). Conceived by a small group of the wealthy in the 1850s as an answer to Europe's society gathering spaces, the park sparked debates from the beginning: Why did New Yorkers need an uptown park when Hoboken's Elysian Fields were half the distance away? Where should the park be located? What kind of park should it be? A civic monument? A programmed pleasure garden? A commons for public assembly? Or a landscaped preserve of artificial nature, as essentially proposed and executed by chosen designers Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux? And just what public should the park attract? There was not much debate, though, about displacing the site's "squatters," whom Rosenzweig and Blackmar find were members of stable communities: Some owned their property, most probably paid rent, and many were black. And there was no protest when the park became a venue for the rich to see and be seen in their fashionable carriages. While the masses took their pleasure at commercial gardens elsewhere, Olmstead - a tyrant who drove and underpaid park workers, enforced strict decorum among visitors, and elbowed the more sympathetic Vaux out of his share of credit - maintained the park as a landscape to be viewed. Though the park's creation and early decades are extensively detailed here, the authors complete the political, class-conscious story through years of realestate speculation, Tammany patronage, and reformers' penury; and then, in the 20th century, through a growing diversity of use and users, and - with homeless residents and millionaire neighbors - an evolving debate over the question of "whose park is this, anyway?" Neither dry chronology nor anecdotal diversion, but exemplary social history. (Kirkus Reviews)
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