Why I decided to make
“ Central Park The People's Place ”
By Martin L. Birnbaum
Welcome to Central Park, a major treasure of
New York, an American work of art, one of the world’s greatest
urban parks, and a National Historic Landmark.
Central Park has touched me personally in many ways. My apartment overlooks the Park, and the Park makes it possible for me to live in the city. Without it, the tensions of city life would be overwhelming. Twenty-four years ago I was married in the Park and my wife and I contributed to a restoration of that part of the park. Our connection with the park is reflected in our plaque, which quotes from a poem by William Wordsworth: “My heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils…,” Park Lovers Martin Birnbaum and Myra Weiss.
The Park is a great outlet for my photographic
hobby. This interest
in photography grew in 2005, when The Gates, by Christo and Jean Claude,
were temporarily installed in Central park. The Gates inspired
me to make my first non-commercial documentary film, “Central Park
Celebrates The Gates”.
My second film, "Central Park: The People's Place," has a deeper
a Professor Emeritus of social work, I am particularly
interested in the way the film expresses the social dimension of the
Park – such
as the way people of diverse backgrounds and interests participate and
peacefully enjoy the park together. The film follows groups that
flourish within the boundaries of the park, including birdwatchers, sportsmen,
animal lovers and artists. It also takes you on a journey through
the Park, and attempts to display its varied landscapes and architectural
features. It leads through woodlands where people can roam and
feel they are out of the rush of the city, in the depths of nature.
It is easy to take the park for granted, not
realizing that this 843 acre landscaped park is totally man made. The
film explores the physical ecology of the park, which requires the
constant care, restoration and vision of the dedicated, tireless staff,
whose commitment to all its horticultural, soil and water needs, offsets
the pressures of 25 million visitors to the Park each year.
Appreciation of Central Park calls for recognition
of its vibrant history, how it was created, designed and how it has
evolved into the People’s
Park it is today.