I asked everyone to hold still … but nobody obliged :-( Sheep’s Meadow used to be simply called, The Green – hence the name of the infamous former restaurant on it’s western edge, Tavern on the Green.
From Central Park’s website:
“This 15-acre lush, green pasture began as something very different. The 1858 design competition for Central Park required a parade ground for military drills. Winning landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux reluctantly included the parade ground. However, they convinced the Park’s Commissioners that military use conflicted with their vision of the Park as a quiet escape.
Although these days you’ll mostly find sunbathers lounging on the lawn, the meadow was actually home to a flock of sheep from 1864 until 1934. The sheep and shepherd were housed in a fanciful Victorian building nearby – what became the famous Tavern on the Green restaurant.
In the 1960s and 70s, thousands of people came to Sheep Meadow for large-scale concerts. Even the first landing on the moon was televised to a crowd at the Meadow on July 20, 1969. But these events, and the lack of management and maintenance, led to the lawn becoming severely eroded –a virtual dustbowl.
In 1980, it was restored and has been maintained by The Central Park Conservancy since then. The meadow became the Park’s first Quiet Zone – which means it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.”
* The sheep were ejected at Robert Moses’ request and were transplanted to Prospect Park … also designed by Olmsted & Vaux :-)