The construction of Central Park was truly the beginning of a cultural movement – it's a landmark that remains one of the most visited parks in the United States today. This expansive patch of green within Manhattan's concrete jungle attracts over 25 million visitors a year, but did you know it was almost a whole lot different?
In 1857, New York City held a design competition to choose a plan for a plot of city-owned land. Out of 33 entries, the city chose the "Greensward Plan," which was created by Frederick Law Olmsted, a landscape architect, and Calver Vaux, an architect. Their submission eventually evolved into the Central Park you know today, with winding foot trails and grassy patches for sunning and sports. But what if Olmsted and Vaux never won?
John Rink isn't the guy who designed Central Park, but he was a true visionary. His failed designs for Central Park show a much different idea – one that goes against the park's current-day organic feeling. John Rink's Central Park designs are orderly and geometric, and they feature a whole lot of topiaries. Check out the Central Park that's more akin to the gardens of Versailles than it is to a city park below.
John Rink's Plan Was Almost Lost Forever
In Rink's Plan, The Park Was Totally Devoid Of Open Green Spaces
The Parade Ground
Rink's Park Featured Geometric Paths And An Abundance Of Topiaries
The Grounds Were Heavily Detailed – Down To The Names
A Two-Wing Museum Was To Be Placed Around The Reservoir