How True to Frederick Olmsted's Vision Is the Park Today Research Paper

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¶ … Central Park is a good instance of how terms and fashions change due to the condition of social construction. Blackmar's article is a good instance of how the perspective of 'manner's has changed over the years. There was a great deal of concern over the park becoming negatively impacted by manners of the 'common' folk and great pains were taken in the beginning to impose certain regulations that would maintain the gentility and polish of the park. There was struggle indeed over whether the park should be more 'private' than 'public' in order to maintain its gentility. Today, barriers between class and culture have almost but all disappeared, and the concept of 'manner's has assumed an intimidating perspective. What was disproved then, would be not only considered the norm now but likely commended as the healthy way of living. The park has become a far more "public" place than the park's founders ever envisioned it to be; but then America has become more democratic and "public" too.

Park manners then and now

New Yorkers, for as long as they had the park, debated over its equilibrium between public and private space. How much of the park, in other words, belonged to the public and how much should be protected in order to maintain its privileged position as exclusive space belonging to the nation. Questions of democracy came in too for it was hotly debated, particularly in the 18th and 19th century whether and to which extent such spaces could accommodate people of different classes and economy.

In 1844, the park first came into being as a way of providing New Yorkers with the necessary fresh air and space for exercise. Bryant and associates, however, who founded the park saw it as a spot for "healthy" and "manly" exercise that would contribute to providing the masses with the joys of "perambulation, pure air, and exercise in summer'"(p.6) . They were concerned that others, however, might take it as a region for gambling, boxing, and other like-minded 'dissipated sports.

The irony today is that Bryant's descendants -- and many others -- of classes akin to that which Bryant came from indulge in these 'dissipations', today, in whole-hearted laxity and with commendation from serious and like-minded folk. And these dissipations are praised since they are no longer seen as such. Today, dissipations would have been something that Bryant would not have recognized and, indeed, if Bryant would have been able to foresee the future of happenings in the park (that included skinny dipping and biking in the nude - as happened in the 1970s), he would have been horrified.

Bryant would have been horrified… [END OF PREVIEW]

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How True to Frederick Olmsted's Vision Is the Park Today.  (2012, May 17).  Retrieved December 14, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/true-frederick-olmsted-vision-park/11858

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"How True to Frederick Olmsted's Vision Is the Park Today."  Essaytown.com.  May 17, 2012.  Accessed December 14, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/true-frederick-olmsted-vision-park/11858.