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1980-1988

1980-1981

The Dairy is restored by the City of New York.

The missing loggia is rebuilt and the Dairy becomes a visitor center under the supervision of the Conservancy.

Owl Sculpture Before

Owl sculpture at Bethesda Terrace before and after it was restored.

Owl Sculpture After

The Conservancy begins to "program" the Park; exhibitions, music series, and educational programs for children begin at the Dairy.

Initial restoration of Cherry Hill Fountain

Restoration of Bethesda Fountain

Restoration of all three fountains at the Conservatory Garden

Restoration of the Sheep Meadow by the City of New York with funds from the City of New York and the New York State Office of Parks & Recreation

Initial resodding of Pilgrim Hill

The reconstruction of rustic pergolas

1982

Restoration of Belvedere Castle

Restoration of Bethesda Terrace

Relandscaping of the 5-acre site around the Dairy

Bethesda Before Restoration
Bethesda before it was restored
to its present grandeur.

Landscape restoration of the landscape surrounding the Obelisk

Restoration of Greywacke Arch

Restoration of the last remaining rustic shelter in the Ramble

Graffiti removal crew is launched

The Falconer is returned to its pedestal after a 25-year absence.

Restoration of the Point in the Ramble, including complete shoreline repair and replanting

Conservancy promotes safety lighting and designs a new and improved luminaire for the Park's 1,500 lamp posts

The Conservancy begins work on its restoration master plan, under the direction of Betsy Rogers. The goal of the plan was to produce up-to-date surveys of the Park's topography, hydrology, architectural features, circulation, drainage utilities, trees and other vegetation, along with a security analysis and Park user study.

1983

The Conservancy Women's Committee is formed after the success of the first annual Frederick Law Olmsted (FLO) Awards Luncheon. The first FLO luncheon takes place on May 3, 1983 at Tavern on the Green, and raises $172,000 for the Conservancy.

Public programs expand by leaps and bounds, with the opening of a restored Belvedere Castle on May 1, 1983. Through its public programs, the Conservancy serves 5,000 elementary school students.

Restoration of Heckscher Ballfields

May 14 and 15, 1983 marked the first "You Gotta Have Park" weekend in Central Park.

An inventory is taken of Central Park's 26,000 trees. A computerized record is created of all trees, describing their size, age, condition, and species distribution.

25 American Elms are planted on Fifth Avenue between 90th and 105th Streets to replace trees that had died over the years.

New plantings and infrastructure renovations are made on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

New landscaping at Engineers' Gate (Fifth Avenue at 90th Street).

A new rustic shelter is built at 67th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Garden designer Lynden Miller forms the Friends of the Conservatory Garden and begins to oversee the Garden's design and care.

A lawn care crew of twelve staff members, along with ten mowers and eight other pieces of lawn equipment service all of Central Park's lawns. (At the time, this was the largest fleet in years. By comparison, by 1999, the Conservancy employed a horticulture staff of 66 with a fleet of 54 lawn mowers.)

The Learning and Involvement for Volunteers in the Environment (L.I.V.E.) volunteer program begins.

A 1983 user survey reports that 80 percent of Park visitors said they came to the Park for "passive recreation" – people-watching, relaxing, thinking, reading, wandering, sunbathing, and picnicking.

1984

Restoration of Chess & Checkers House

Initial restoration of "Frisbee Hill," the landscape to the south side of the 72nd Street transverse, just north of the Mineral Springs concession.

The Chess and Checkers House 
The Chess and Checkers House
atop the Kinderberg.

Initial restoration of the East Green, the landscape on the south of the 72nd Street transverse, on the Park's east side.

In an effort to replenish the Park's understory vegetation, the Conservancy plants almost 12,000 plants, wildflowers and shrubs throughout the Park.

Complete reconstruction of the Girls' Gate entrance at 102nd Street and Fifth Avenue.

1,916 volunteers worked 4,091 hours in the Park.

The Frederick Law Olmsted Luncheon raises more than $200,000.

1985

The management and restoration plan, Rebuilding Central Park, is published by the Conservancy. This represents the culmination of three years of comprehensive, systematic study and analysis of the Park.

Strawberry Fields is dedicated by Mayor Koch, October 9, 1985.

The Conservancy initiates a Chess Camp.

By 1985, the Conservancy's grafitti removal crew had removed all of the accumulated graffiti of prior years, leaving it free to focus only on "fresh hits."

Repainting of the loggia at the Dairy, the ornate wrought iron gates at Conservatory Garden, and the polychrome cast-iron Ladies Pavilion at Hernshead.

Cleaning and repatinating of the sculptural gates at the Children's Zoo entrance, the statues of Romeo and Juliet and the Tempest in front of Delacorte Theater, as well as Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Anderson at Conservatory Water.

Rebuilding of Cop Cot, the fanciful rustic shelter mid-Park at 60th Street.

Restoration of the Gill – the stream running through the Ramble – including the reconstruction of a rustic bridge.

Steps at Conservatory Garden repointed.

Various sections of the Park wall repaired.

Renovation of eroded lawns at West 62nd Street entrance.

Planting of more than 1,400 understory trees and shrubs, 3,500 groundcover plants, and 7,500 wildflowers.

Conservancy volunteers log a total of 8,202 hours in the Park.

Bow Bridge repainted.

Clay surface installed on Rumsey Playfield.

1986

A new picnicking area is created when the cracked, derelict and abandoned game courts on the Great Hill, at 106th Street and Central Park West, are cleared away and a new meadow is seeded.

SummerStage, originally a Conservancy-sponsored entertainment series, begins at the Bandshell.

Heckscher Ballfields receive a facelift.

The closed roadway or "Dead Road" on the east side of Sheep Meadow is repaved with 1,650 square yards of asphalt, for disco-dancing roller skaters.

Reconstruction of the Billy Johnson Playground at East 67th Street.

Restoration begins at Engineers' Gate – 90th Street and Fifth Avenue.

Installation of new sod, 50 new trees, 3,500 shrubs and 3,000 ground cover plants at Bethesda Terrace.

The statue of Polish King Wladyslaw Jagiello on the Great Lawn at 79th Street is cleaned and repatinated.

Rebuilding of the pergola at the Mall.

Rebuilding of the pergola at Conservatory Garden.

William S. Beinecke steps down as Chairman of the Central Park Conservancy, and James H. Evans steps up to the plate as the new Chairman.

1987

Conservancy volunteers log a total of 9,713 hours in the Park.

The initial restoration of Cedar Hill.

Restoration of the East 76th Street Playground (James Michael Levin Playground).

Restoration of the West 81st Street Playground (Diana Ross Playground)

Installation of new playground equipment at the East 67th Street Playground.

At Bethesda Terrace, two magnificent banner poles bearing gonfalons – a sight New Yorkers had heretofore seen only in nineteenth century paintings and prints – were refabricated and reinstalled by the edge of the Lake.

The Fifth Annual Frederick Law Olmsted Luncheon raises more than $300,000.

The Campaign for the Central Park Conservancy begins, and is chaired by Henry R. Kravis.

The campaign to restore Grand Army Plaza begins.

1988

Restoration of Inventors' Gate and its surrounding landscape (East 72nd Street).

The restoration of the boat landing at Hernshead, including the restabilization of the shore edge and the reconstruction of the paths and the drainage system from the West Drive to the Lake.

Ongoing restoration of the Kinderberg, or Childrens' District, surrounding the Dairy.

The Conservancy initiates the redesign and reclamation of the Harlem Meer.

Conservancy volunteers log a total of 13,000 hours in the Park. The Conservancy's volunteer program wins a citation for excellence from the White House.

The Conservancy's restoration crew restores Glade Arch, north of Conservatory Water. The crew repairs the arch's sandstone balustrade, retools its remaining stonework and replaces approximately 6,500 damaged bricks.

The Shakespeare Garden is redesigned and expanded. The Conservancy's restoration crew repaves pathways and stairs, installs rustic wooden benches and rustic cedar railings.

The Conservancy cleans and repatinates Angel of the Waters, the statue at Bethesda Fountain, which had become encrusted with corrosive copper sulfate.

To help secure the Park from future cycles of decline and to reduce the subsequent demand for capital restoration, the Conservancy establishes the Greensward Trust, an endowment fund, with income dedicated to Park maintenance.

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