Home Morningside Events - Morningside Area Alliance Talks “Before Central Park” presented by Sara Cedar Miller
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May 15 2024


6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

Formats (virtual, in person, hybrid)


“Before Central Park” presented by Sara Cedar Miller

Central Park is an urban masterpiece. But, before it became a model for city parks worldwide, the land was the site of farms, businesses, churches, wars, and burial grounds – and home to many different kinds of New Yorkers.

Miller will chronicle two and half centuries of history: the 17th and 18th century Dutch and English landowners; three wars—Kieft’s War, the Revolutionary War and the War of1812; the land divisions of the 19th century; New York’s Common Lands; the land that became Seneca Village with new research on the landowners and renters of the Black community; the immigrant experience, the reservoirs, and lastly, the system behind the monetary awards made.


The presenter: Sara Cedar Miller has been the Historian emerita of the Central Park Conservancy since 2017. She was the Conservancy photographer from 1984 and also its historian from 1989 to 2017. Miller is the author of Central Park: An American Masterpiece (2003), Strawberry Fields, Central Park’s Memorial to John Lennon (2011), Seeing Central Park: The Official Guidebook: Updated and Expanded (2021) and most recently, Before Central Park (2022).

Her photographs have been distributed world-wide and she has appeared on radio, TV and in many documentaries on Central Park. She gives specialized tours and lectures on the prepark and the Park’s history and art.

In 2020, Miller was honored with the “Preservation Hero” award by the Library of American Landscape History and was an honoree at the Conservancy’s Frederick Law Olmsted Awards Luncheon in May. Before Central Park has received the 2023 John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize, University of Virginia Center for Cultural Landscapes.  https://divinestone.org/.