Imagine a world of nature, of peace and relaxation. No busy streets surrounding us with loud noises of cars honking, but just the sound of birds singing beautiful melodies, and the wind whistling as it flies past tall swaying trees. This is what Central Park is like. On June 29th, the third day of our journey in New York City, we had the opportunity to visit Central Park, and also interview one of our tour guides, Jim McGuire.
McGuire is Director of Volunteer Services at Central Park Conservancy, but before he worked at Central Park, he was a part of the air force and he also worked in the financial industry. Out of the three careers he had in his life, working at Central Park is his favourite thing to do.
He said that his favourite part of Central Park was the northern part of the park, where there are less visitors. “The more further north you go in the park, the look of the park kinda changes and it becomes much more rustic and rural.”
Our tour guide Jim McGuire was once a volunteer himself, and he says that recruiting volunteers at the park is actually not at all hard and it is very easy to find people to help out at Central Park, in fact the park is so popular that a lot of people like to volunteer. Volunteers here at the park have the chance to help gardeners, tour guides, kiosks, and even dogs!
McGuire told us a little about the history of the park and the building of the park. “There were a number of men who wanted a park here in New York, but actually the first man who started campaigning for a park was a newspaper editor, his name was William Cullen Bryant.” He wrote editorials about having a park in New York, and finally the city bought the land here which later became Central Park. The two men who designed the park were Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. The construction took approximately two thousand people and 15 years to build.
Apparently a while before, there were many things banned in Central Park like picnics and ballgames. According to McGuire, he believed that it was because the designers had different ideas of recreation then from what people do now, and they expected people to just come and relax and enjoy the nature.
McGuire also believes that the biggest challenge of central park is keeping it clean. Every day there are people picking up garbage that visitors have left. He also thinks that the biggest concern of maintaining the wildlife at the park are the Elm trees which could have Dutch Elm disease which spreads between the Elm trees.
Jim McGuire was a very nice tour guide and made our experience at Central Park very comfortable and enjoyable. If you’re going to New York City one day, you definitely have to check it out!