Ephemeral New York dug up a New York Times article from 1918 (PDF), pictured above, which details some wholly bizarre features and structures some folks wanted to build in Central Park in the 61 years since the park had opened. The map that some savvy infographic designers of yore created of what the park would have looked like should those ideas have come to fruition is a scary sight indeed, kind of like a creepy amusement park with commercial and residential development (!) rather than a serene natural space, and we're as glad as ENY is that they were never actually built. Here now, 10 of these ideas.
10) A 100,000-seat theater. SummerStage this surely is not.
9) A sports stadium. Go Central Park Yankees?
8) A burial ground for the city's "distinguished dead." Cemeteries are eerie and lovely in their own way, but beside the boat pond?
7) Grant's Tomb, which is the mausoleum for Ulysses S. Grant and his wife that ended up in Riverside Park, where it still stands.
6) Paving the entire lower end of the park. Those horses and buggies really preferred cement to clop/roll upon, of course.
5) Free swimming baths. What is this, Turkey?
4) A speedway that would have encircled the entire park. So that the Indy 500 would have been called the NYC 500, naturally.
3) Eliminating the circular or elliptical paths already laid down throughout the park in order to turn the walkways into more of a checkerboard. The neat 'n' tidy grid system of streets outside the park apparently quite compelling.
2) A "street railway" that would have run through the park. All aboard!
1) Last but not least, some brilliant bozos wanted to divide up the park and turn it into lots for buildings. Hey now, let's not give today's land-hungry developers any ideas...
· If "Improvement" Plans Had Gobbled Central Park [NYT (PDF)]
· Thankfully, these were not built in Central Park [ENY]
· Curbed's Could Have Been archive [Curbed]