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April 27, 2013

Vintage Photos Show the Life in Central Park in Summer 1961

New York’s Central Park has been around, in various incarnations, for roughly 150 years. In that time it has been hailed as a masterpiece of landscape design; has served as a punchline in jokes about muggings and violent crime; provided the setting for key scenes in countless books, plays and movies; and remains, for New Yorkers and for millions of visitors to Gotham every single year, one of the world’s great urban wonders — 800 acres of tree-lined paths, public plazas, open fields, gardens, ponds, lakes, bridges, performance spaces, a castle on a hill, arguably the world’s greatest museum and a small, quite charming zoo.

Here, a series of photos life in Central Park from 1961, taken by photographer Leonard McCombe.

Dancers in Central Park, 1961

Unicyclist in Central Park, 1961

Warming up before a soccer match, Central Park, 1961

Scene in Central Park, 1961

A painter finds a secluded spot, Central Park, 1961

Central Park's Bethesda Fountain, 1961

Rowers on 'the lake' in Central Park, 1961

Fishing in Central Park, 1961

Sunbathers cool their feet, Central Park, 1961

Scene near the Boat House, Central Park, 1961

Model sailboats in Conservatory Pond, Central Park, 1961

Nelson's flagship Victory gets a tender launching by its builder, Arthur Langton

Dogs in a fountain, Central Park, 1961

Chess players, Central Park, 1961

Water fountain, Central Park, 1961

In a wonderland for climbers a bronze Alice is cluttered with children who have scrambled over Mad Hatter and other Lewis Carroll creatures

A trio of newly graduated students strolls soberly past a trio of figures dancing ring-around-a-rosy at a fountain

The park's carriage trade, out for a morning ride, moves in conversational formation along a broad pavement

Scene in Central Park, 1961

Elephants in Central Park, 1961

Seals in Central Park, 1961

Kodiak bears, Central Park, 1961

Couple on a bench, Central Park, 1961

A young woman is helped down from a horse-drawn carriage, Central Park, 1961

Scene in Central Park, 1961

(Photos by Leonard McCombe—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images)


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