Central Park's 843 acres include 136 acres of woodlands, 250 acres of lawns, and 150 acres of water in 7 waterbodies. The Park's six-mile perimeter extends from Central Park West to Fifth Avenue and 59th Street to 110th Street. Central Park is the first public park built in America. A competition for the design was held in 1858. The winners were Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Central Park is completely man-made. It took 15 years and over $14 million (roughly $200 million today) to build the Park in accordance with Olmsted and Vaux's Greensward Plan.
To construct the Park, workers moved nearly five million cubic yards of stone, earth, and topsoil. They built 30 bridges and arches, and 11 overpasses over sunken transverse roads. The northern end of the Park was the site of a series of fortifications for the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
Tavern on the Green was originally a sheepfold housing a shepherd and the flock that grazed the Sheep Meadow until 1934. Belvedere Castle was completed in 1872 as a viewing pavilion overlooking the Croton Reservoir. In 1934, the Reservoir was filled in to become the Great Lawn. The original Carousel, built in 1871, was turned by "horsepower." Twice destroyed by fire, it was replaced by the current brick structure in 1951. There are 51 sculptures in the Park and 36 bridges and arches. Bethesda Fountain was the only sculpture included in the original design of the Park — the others were gifts. Central Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1965 and a New York City Landmark in 1974. The Manhattan schist outcrops in the Park are approximately 450 million years old. Central Park contains 58 miles of pedestrian paths, 4.5 miles of bridle paths, 6.5 miles of Park drives, and 7 miles of benches (nearly 9,000). There are 21 playgrounds. More than 500,000 trees, shrubs, and vines were planted during the building of the Park.
Today, there are more than 26,000 trees, including 1,700 American elms. Over 275 species of migratory birds have been sighted in Central Park, a major stopping point on the Atlantic flyway. More than 25 million visitors enjoy Central Park each year. In 1980, a public-private partnership between the City of New York and the Central Park Conservancy was formed to restore, manage, and preserve Central Park. In 1998, the Conservancy and the City of New York signed a historic agreement, affirming the Conservancy's authority to manage, maintain, and operate Central Park. In 2006, the agreement was renewed for a further 8 years.