Central Park Trees and Landscapes: A Guide to New York City's Masterpiece (Paperback)

Central Park Trees and Landscapes: A Guide to New York City's Masterpiece By Edward Barnard, Neil Calvanese Cover Image
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This is the ultimate field guide to the trees and landscapes of Central Park, with a lively, authoritative text and over 900 color photographs, botanical plates, and extraordinarily detailed maps.

Under the direction of the Central Park Conservancy, the park's landscapes have been painstakingly restored to achieve the effects envisioned more than 150 years ago by the park's designers, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. This book highlights the leading role that trees play in defining 22 of these landscapes and chronicles the history of each of more than 200 tree species and varieties present in the park--where it came from and where the most outstanding specimens are located.

Besides being a superb guide to the world's greatest center-city park, this book is a highly informative guide to most of the tree species commonly encountered in the eastern United States. Anyone who loves trees will find this book a very rewarding read, full of fascinating details and beautiful illustrations.

Central Park Trees and Landscapes is divided into two major sections:

"The Landscapes" opens with a geological account of Manhattan Island--from its position 500 million years ago on the edge of the proto-North American continent to its emergence about 15,000 years ago from the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The effects that human inhabitants had on the ecology of the island are described--from the burning of field stubble by Native Americans to the clearing of forest trees by Europeans. Next, the narrative focuses on the land that would eventually become Central Park--how it was saved from being dissected by John Randel's rigid street grid and how Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux became the park's designers. The heart of the section is devoted to the construction of the park in the late 1850s and 1860s. Twenty-two of the park's grand landscapes are pictured in dozens of photographs and in seven detailed maps pinpointing nearly 20,000 trees. Readers can identify each tree on the maps by species using the Tree Maps Key (located on the back of the front flap).

"The Tree Guide" contains informative essays full of intriguing botanical and historical facts on over 200 of the park's tree species and varieties. Each two-page entry features illustrations of leaves, fruits, flowers, and bark as well as a striking portrait photograph of a park tree. The entries are organized into groups by leaf shapes shown on an easy-to-use identification key (located inside the front cover).

About the Author

Edward Sibley Barnard is an editor and an author of several books on natural history, including New York City Trees. He lived near Central Park for over 40 years, frequently bicycling on the Drive and often stopping to photograph his favorite trees and landscapes. He now lives with his wife in Philadelphia. Neil Calvanese was the Central Park Conservancy's vice president for operations. With a staff of 200, he oversaw all horticultural work in Central Park. He began working as an arborist in 1981 and participated in the park's renaissance. He retired in 2014 and moved with his wife to the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780231152877
ISBN-10: 0231152876
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication Date: May 17th, 2016
Pages: 336
Language: English