Long horizontal map of Central Park showing its plan for redevelopment as of 1860. The map was probably based on the original 1858 pen and ink design of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's Greensward Plan for Central Park.
Central Park came into being beginning with an act passed on July 21, 1853 by the New York City Common Council authorizing the construction of a public park bounded by 59th and 106th Streets, Fifth and Eighth Avenues. The park was conceived to provide recreational open space for citizens of the growing city, which then had few open squares. The site that was destined to become Central Park was then “a bleak, rubbish-strewn area littered with squatters' shacks” (Deák). Central Park opened in 1857, and in 1858, the job of improving and expanding it, transforming the area into a pastoral oasis for the “toiling masses,” was awarded to Calvert Vaux, a young British architect, and Frederick Law Olmstead, an American farmer and magazine editor. Reconstruction began that same year and was completed in 1873.
“There was a staggering amount of work to be done to transform the area into a blend of pastoral and woodland scenery. This involved the design and construction of roadways, tunnels, bridges, arches, stairways, fountains, benches, lamp posts, gates, fences and innumerable other artifacts. It also involved the supervision of an army of about five thousand laborers.…Olmsted, to whom most of the credit goes, insisted on seeing the multidimensional project as a single work of art, which he was mandated to create. For this purpose, he ventured to assume to himself the title of ‘artist’ (Deák).”
The original 1858 pen and ink drawing by Olmstead and Vaux of the Greensward Plan is now in the collection of the New York City Department of Parks, The Arsenal, and was included in The Greatest Grid, an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (December 2011 through July 15, 2012) of maps documenting the development of the grid system of mapping Manhattan. The drawing is also illustrated and described in the book accompanying the exhibition.
This version of the map was created for and published in The Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York. This series of annual publications are commonly referred to as Valentine’s Manuals after David T. Valentine, Clerk of the Common Council of New York City. In compiling the reports, Valentine included the City’s annual reports and directories, together with maps and charts to illustrate them.
George Hayward was a New York City lithographer operating from 1834 to 1872 at a succession of different addresses. He is best known for his views of New York City, including those published in D.T. Valentine's annual manuals for the city, as well as views for local histories of New York and New England. Hayward also contributed plates to periodicals such as the Horticulturist. His body of work remains an important historical record of mid-19th-century New York.
Full publication information lower margin: "Lith. by Geo: Hayward, 171 Pearl Street, New-York. for D.T. Valentine's Manual, for 1860."
Condition: Generally very good, formerly folded, as issued; now professionally flattened, cleaned, and deacidified, with only minor remaining light toning and wear. In antique wood frame with ebonized edges, very good with the usual light wear, shrinkage, abrasions to finish. Recently rematted with colored rag mat.
Cohen, Barbara. "Ask Barbara: Why are there two series of books called 'Valentine's Manuals'?" New York Bound Books. 7 January 2012. http://www.newyorkboundbooks.com/2012/01/07/ask-barbara-why-are-there-two-series-of-books-called-valentines-manuals/#more-1293 (12 December 2016).
Deák, Gloria Gilda.Picturing America: 1497-1899. Vol. 1.Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1988. pp. 535-536.
Peters, Harry S.America on Stone.U.S.: Doubleday, Doran, 1931. pp. 210-212.