Central Park (History I)The need for a great public park as New York City expanded was voiced by the poet William Cullen Bryant and by the first American landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing. A stylish place for open-air driving, like the Bois de Boulogne in Paris or London's Hyde Park, felt needed by many influential New Yorkers. In 1853, the New York legislature designated a 700 acre (2.8 km sq) area from 59th to 106th Streets (a section from 106th to 110th Streets was added later) for the creation of the park. The roughly 1,600 working-class residents (most of them African-American and Irish immigrants) occupying the area at the time were evicted under the rule of eminent domain.
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