In the center of Central Park lies the Great Lawn, a green pasture of 55-acres that is considered one of the most famous lawns in the world. Located mid-park from 79th to 85th Streets, the Great Lawn is a wonderful place to have a picnic on a spring afternoon or to catch some rays in the summer sun. It is open from mid-April until mid-November.
Historically, the Great Lawn was not in the original plan of Central Park. The space was instead occupied by the rectangular Croton Reservoir, constructed in 1842. However, in 1917, the reservoir was made obsolete when a new water tunnel was built and all of its water was drained in 1931. During the Great Depression the area served as the home of displaced residents and surplus supplies and materials leftover from the construction of a subway line and Rockefeller Center.
Over the next few years there was much debate about what would be done with the space. Options on the table included everything from a WWI Memorial to an opera house to underground parking garages.
Eventually the debate concluded in 1937 and grass was planted, creating the oval styled-field now known as the Great Lawn. Then, during the 1950s, eight baseball diamonds were installed along the outer rim of the lawn.
This splendor did not last long, though, and in the 1960s and 1970s the Great Lawn became overused and unkempt. However, in 1995, with a large-scale restoration effort from the Central Park Conservancy, the Great Lawn was once again lush as ever and has remained that way since.
While it is a wide and vast serene greenery in the city, the Great Lawn is famous not just for its beauty. It has been the long time host to annual concerts such as the New York Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera, as well as other memorable performances by world-class acts such as Diana Ross, Bon Jovi and Garth Brooks.