Central Park: An Anthology

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A wild night outdoors with Bill Buford. A football tradition with Nathaniel Rich. A jog around the reservoir with Mark Helprin as he "protects" Jacqueline Onassis from imagined harm. The 843 carefully planned acres of Central Park have not only crept into the hearts of its 38 million annual visitors, but also into the life and work of a diverse array of writers who come to revel in its natural remedy for urban chaos.

In Central Park, a dozen exclusive pieces commissioned especially for this book are accompanied by a handful of beloved classics. Francine Prose reflects on open-air performances by Nina Simone and James Brown; Jonathan Safran Foer writes a creation myth of the park; Buzz Bissinger meditates on how the park defined his early life; and Marie Winn definitively answers Holden Caulfield’s question of where the ducks go when the ponds freeze over.

This vibrant collection presents Central Park in all its diverse glory, with an ode on every page to a fifty-one-block swath of special New York magic. A must-read for the thousands who consider the park their own, and a keepsake for the many more who visit, it will be a standard for years to come.


Introduction by Adrian Benepe
The meadow by John Burnham Schwartz
Goodnight moon by Ben Dolnick
Through the Children's Gate by Adam Gopnik
Framed in silver by Mark Helprin
Carp in the park by David Michaelis
The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead
Some music in the park by Francine Prose
The sixth Borough by Jonathan Safran Foer
Squawkeye and gang on the Dendur Plateau by Nathaniel Rich
Fogg in the Park by Paul Auster
Sunday in the park with mother by Susan Sheehan
Negative space by Thomas Beller
The hidden life by Alec Wilkinson
My little bit of country by Susan Cheever
The falconer of Central Park by Donald Knowler
About those ducks, Holden by Marie Winn
Lions and tigers and bears by Bill Buford
Beastie by Brooks Hansen
The goodbye by Buzz Bissinger
Epilogue by Doug Blonsky

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