Mapping Central Park and All its Trees


Photo: centralparknature

Calling all New Yorkers. If you love trees and Central Park (and who wouldn't?) have we got a deal for you. Called "Central Park Entire: The Definitive Illustrated Folding Map", it's a map that shows all 19,933 trees in the Park.

Now there's a summer project: visit as many as you can on the park's 341 hectares.


Photo: geographer at large
Written by two friends, Ned Barnard and Ken Chaya, one is a bird watcher and graphic designer and the other is a writer. It started off as an idea for a book and then grew to take over 2 and 1/2 years of their life (and $40,000 of their own money). They marched over 500 miles in order to document the Park's many species of trees and shrubs

The park is home to a wealth of different species--174--with the black cherry being the most common (3,839 of them on the map). But a park is not a static creation. Trees fall in storms, such as the big one in 2009 when 500 trees were destroyed. Others are removed due to age or disease. So the map can never be finished and will always be changing. Since the map/poster came out nearly 70 trees have been removed.

The park was designed in 1870's by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux . Only about 150 trees are left from that time. One of them, a black tupelo, dates from 1862. But the designers feel that the park is still true to Olmsted and Vaux's vision. As Mr. Barnard said "Old trees have a sacred element for me. They created us."

The park is maintained by the Central Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization that manages it and fundraises 85% of its annual budget which is a whopping $37.4M. The Conservancy is responsible for the day-to-day maintenance and operation of the Park.


Photo: centralparknature

The map can be bought as a waterproof, folding two sided map or as a poster from the Central Park Nature's web site. They have already sold about 1,100 copies since January. It includes a tree legend that can used for identifying all the species. It also includes 200 illustrations of bridges, cafes, trails and playgrounds.

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Tags: Conservation | Deforestation | Designers

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