An interactive walk explores what a space like Central Park can provide to city dwellers.
Last weekened, Jon Cotner, who co-wrote a book of dialogues conducted from interactions around the city, led a small group on an interactive walk through Central Park.
Cotner told us that Frederick Law Olmsted, the park’s designer and one-time superintendent, had written that the park should “secure pure and wholesome air, to act through the lungs.” He also wanted to provide “an antithesis of objects of vision to those of the streets and houses.” And on a perfect day like Sunday, it’s easy to see that he succeeded, providing a place for urbanites to go, enjoy the natural environment and relax.
As an ever-growing portion of the population shifts to cities, natural spaces like these are becoming more important. At the beginning of the walk, Cotner told us, “Central Park wasn’t intended to be a condemnation of this intense progress”—the creep of buildings north along Manhattan. “It was meant to accommodate such developments.” Spaces like Central Park help people crowd together, saving land and energy: As he put it, the park “reconciles the urban with the rural.” If we’re going to live in cities, we’re going to need more places like Central Park, which can deliver the experience of the natural world to those who crave it...