Reference Point

July 26, 2009|By June Sawyers | June Sawyers,Tribune Newspapers

Seeing Central Park:

The Official Guide to the World's Greatest Urban Park

Abrams, $19.95

Built between 1858 and 1873 and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park is one of the most famous parks in the world. Author Sara Cedar Miller, the official photographer and historian for the Central Park Conservancy, has put together a lovely testimonial to the park - all 843 acres of it - describing its history and featuring gorgeous photos of its landscapes, bridges and statues, gardens and ravines, pedestrian paths and roads.

She calls Central Park "America's first sculpture park" (although the fountain at Bethesda Terrace, "Angel of the Waters," was the only sculpture actually commissioned for the park, Central Park contains 51 bronze and marble statues).

She also describes the park's ball fields, the iconic Sheep Meadow (so named for the sheep that used to graze there), the Mall (flanked by stately elms and the sculptures of poets and writers), Strawberry Fields (a teardrop-shaped piece of land dedicated to John Lennon as well as an international garden of peace) and the Delacorte Theater, designed to resemble the Globe Theatre in London.

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