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"Map of New York City from 50th Street to 127th Street: showing Central Park, Bloomingdale Village, Yorkville, and the southern part of Harlem," 1870. Courtesy of The New York Public Library.

New York City's Central Park was, in some ways, the park that "started it all."

The first large landscaped public park in the nation, its creation grew out of democratic ideals of equal access, and it had a social and economic impact on the city that came to see it as an identifying focal point, as well as inspiring cities around the country to create their own urban parks.

In turn, it launched the landscape architecture career of Frederick Law Olmsted, a multi-talented, visionary thinker who would go on to design many more public parks and shape the approach of other park designers around the nation.