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Valuing Central Park’s Contributions

to New York City’s Economy

May 2009


appleseed

Douglas Blonsky

President

Central Park Conservancy

14 East 60th Street

New York, NY 10021

Dear Mr. Blonsky:

My colleagues at Appleseed and I are pleased to submit our final report on the value of Central Park to New York City’s

economy. As we had proposed, the report views the Park’s contributions to the City’s economy from several perspectives,

including:






The role of the Park as a cluster of enterprises, events and activities;

The Park’s role as a preferred location for New York’s hospitality industry and for leading cultural institutions;

The Park’s value as a resource for the surrounding community and for all New Yorkers;

The premium that Central Park adds to the value of properties in the area surrounding the Park; and

New York City tax and fee revenues attributable to the operations of the Conservancy and other businesses and

organizations operating in the Park, and to the Park’s effect on property values.

In preparing this report, we have relied on data from several sources, including:







80 Broad Street · 13th Floor · New York, NY · 10004

212.964.9711 · appleseed.inc@verizon.net · www.appleseedinc.com

Detailed data provided by the Conservancy on its own operations and investments, both in 2007 and earlier;

Data on the operations of Park concessionaires, and other companies and institutions that do business in the Park, which

the Conservancy helped Appleseed collect;

Interviews with representatives of many of the organizations and institutions that regularly use the Park;

Highly detailed data on the market and assessed values of real property in the area surrounding the Park, both for 2007

and for several previous years, which was provided by the New York City Department of Finance;

Other real estate market information provided by CB Richard Ellis;

Tax data from the New York City Department of Finance and the New York City Comptroller’s Office.

We also used the IMPLAN input-output modeling system (an economic model commonly used in local and regional


economic impact analyses) to estimate the direct, indirect and induced economic impact of the Conservancy – concessions

and other businesses and institutions that operate in the Park – and spending by non-New York City residents who visit the

Park.

Because the data used in this report are from 2007 and the early part of 2008, they generally do not reflect the impact of the

current recession on New York City’s economy. Real estate values, office and retail rents, tourist traffic and taxes derived from

real estate sales have all declined in recent months. By some measures, the value of Central Park’s contribution to the City’s

economy may thus be somewhat smaller in absolute terms in 2009 than it was in 2007. But we have no reason to believe

that in relative terms the Park’s value to the City is any less significant than it was in 2007 and 2008. Moreover, because real

property tax assessments are based on past years’ data and are phased in over time, the absolute value of real property taxes

generated by “the Central Park effect” is probably greater in 2009 than it was in 2007.

Despite the City’s changes circumstances, we believe that the principal conclusions of this report are as valid today as they

were in 2008. Central Park today retains its power as a generator of economic activity, a source of added value to the area

surrounding the Park, and a generator of tax revenues for New York City. Its value today reflects not only the foresight of

the New Yorkers who created it 150 years ago, but also the Conservancy’s and the City’s investments since 1980 in the

renovation, revitalization, improvement, maintenance and management of the Park. By preserving and building on this legacy,

the Conservancy and the City can not only maintain but enhance the value of Central Park’s contribution to New York’s

economy, and to the lives of its people.

Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to work with you on this project.

Sincerely,

Hugh O’Neill

President

Appleseed


Central Park offers no pastoral retreat from civilization. Instead it proposes a model

of what all civilized communities might contain, of what New York should cling to.”

Mireille Johnston, “Central Park Country: A Tune Within Us”, 1970, 56.


“The primary purpose of the Park is to provide the best practicable means of healthful

recreation, for the inhabitants of the city, of all classes... It should... present to the eye

a charming rural landscape, such as, unless produced by art, is never found within the

limits of a large town.”

Frederick Law Olmsted


Table of Contents

Highlights 9

Introduction 15

Part One: Central Park as an Enterprise 19

Part Two: A Venue and Magnet for Visitors 25

Part Three: Central Park as a Community Resource 33

Part Four: Enhancing Real Property Values, Attracting Investment 41

Part Five: New York City Revenue Impacts 51

Conclusion 55


Notable events in Central Park’s history

1858 The Board of The Commissioners of The Central Park choose the Greensward plan submitted by Frederick

Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux for the design of America’s first major urban public park

1858 The Park first opens for winter skating on the Lake

1863 The City extends the boundaries of the park, bringing the total acreage to 843

1873 Landscapes in the Park are completed

1876 The six-mile perimeter wall is completed

1931 The 35-acre lower reservoir is drained

1934 Robert Moses begins the longest tenure as Park Commissioner in New York City history

1937 The Great Lawn opens on the site of the former receiving reservoir

1957 Shakespeare in the Park begins

1970 The first NYC Marathon is held entirely in Central Park

1979 Elizabeth Barlow Rogers is appointed as the first Central Park administrator

1980 Central Park Conservancy begins maintaining and improving the Park; William S. Beinecke becomes the first

Chairman of the Board

1981 Sheep Meadow is opened to the public, the first major improvement to Central Park in two decades

1983 Belvedere Castle, which had become badly deteriorated due to vandalism, is reopened by the Conservancy

after an extensive restoration; the restored Conservatory Garden opens as the first landscape improvement

in the north end of the Park

1985 After three years of studies, the Conservancy publishes Rebuilding Central Park, the management and

restoration plan for Central Park; Strawberry Fields opens due to a gift from Yoko Ono Lennon

1991 The North Meadow Recreation Center and youth programs are created

1993 The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center and the restored Harlem Meer open to the public after an extensive

restoration by the Conservancy and the City of New York

1995 The Conservancy institutes the Zone Management System for Central Park

1997 The $18.2 million, 55-acre restoration of the Great Lawn and its surrounding landscapes is completed

1998 The Conservancy and the City sign a management agreement formalizing the 18-year public-private

partnership

2004 The Campaign for Central Park is launched by President Douglas Blonsky in order to complete the

transformation of the Park

2005 The Gates, an art installation by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, opens in Central Park, drawing an estimated 4

million visitors

2006 New York City extends the Conservancy’s management contract under Mayor Bloomberg and Parks

Commissioner Adrian Benepe for eight more years

2007 The Conservancy reopens the Bethesda Terrace Arcade after completing an intricate restoration

2010 Projected date of completion of the Lake, the largest and most costly restoration project in the Park’s history


Highlights

Since its creation 150 years ago, Central Park has been among New York City’s most valuable assets. The Park’s value to the

City’s economy can be viewed from several perspectives. Central Park is:






A cluster of enterprises, events and activities connected to the Park that together generated $395 million in economic

activity in 2007, and 3,780 full-time-equivalent jobs;

A public space around which the many of New York’s leading hotels, cultural institutions and corporate headquarters are

concentrated;

A source of added value to the City’s most valuable real estate; we estimate that in 2007 the “Central Park effect” added

$17.7 billion to the market value of properties near the Park – a premium equivalent to approximately 8 percent of the

total value of all Manhattan real estate;

A recreational, educational and cultural resource for the surrounding communities and for all New Yorkers; and

A generator of tax revenues for City government; we estimate that City tax revenues related to Park operations, visitor

spending and increased real estate values totaled more than $656 million in 2007 – an amount roughly equal to the total

annual cost of the entire Parks Department.

Central Park as a cluster of enterprises, events and activities


Through its spending on payroll, purchasing and construction, the Central Park Conservancy in 2007 directly and

indirectly accounted for approximately 480 full-time-equivalent jobs in New York City, and $43.5 million in overall


10





economic output.

Concessions and other businesses and organizations operating in the Park – such as Tavern on the Green, the Boathouse

and the Central Park Zoo – directly and indirectly accounted for approximately 1,679 full-time-equivalent jobs in New

York City, and $135.5 million in economic output.

Central Park attracts more than 25 million visitors each year, one-fifth of whom come from outside New York City. We

estimate that spending outside the Park by visitors who came to the City for athletic events (excluding the ING New

York City Marathon), concerts, or simply to enjoy the Park and its attractions, directly and indirectly generated more

than 1,000 full-time-equivalent jobs and more than $80 million in economic activity throughout New York City.

With its route traversing all five boroughs and its dramatic final stages and finish in Central Park, the ING New York

City Marathon is, in terms of economic impact, the single largest recurring event in New York City. In a study conducted

for New York Road Runners and the New York City Sports Commission, ERA estimates that in 2006 the Marathon

generated approximately $179 million in economic activity throughout the City.

Central Park is one of New York’s most popular locations for the production of movies, TV shows, videos and

commercial photography, with a total of more than 4,000 “location-days” each year. We estimate that in fiscal year 2007,

use of the Park as a venue for film, TV and photography directly and indirectly generated approximately 616 full-timeequivalent

jobs and $135.6 million in economic activity throughout the City.

The preferred location for some of New York’s leading industries


With 102 hotels, 47 museums and several major performing arts venues located in the surrounding area, Central Park is

in effect the front yard for the City’s hospitality industry and major cultural institutions.



Hotels in the Central Park area accounted for 37 percent of all hotel rooms in the City in 2008 – 78 percent of

those with room rates over $400 per night – and employed more than 14,000 people.

Museums in the Central Park area – including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is located within the

Park, and the American Museum of Natural History – are among the City’s leading cultural attractions. Museums


in the Central Park area drew more than 18 million people in 2006, and employed 7,000 people.

A resource for the community







Approximately 550,000 New Yorkers (about one-third of all Manhattan residents) live within a half-mile from Central

Park (for most people, about a 10-minute walk). Another 1.15 million are within a half-hour subway or bus ride. Central

Park is thus among the City’s most valuable assets in its campaign to ensure that by 2030 all New Yorkers live no more

than 10 minutes away from parks and recreational facilities.

The Park offers New Yorkers an abundance of recreational resources, such as 58 miles of walkways and paths for runners,

walkers, cyclists, and skaters, 29 baseball/softball and soccer fields, 30 tennis courts, two ice rinks, the Lasker Pool,

handball and basketball courts, fishing and boating, and both indoor and outdoor climbing walls.

The diverse opportunities for active recreation that the Park offers are especially valuable in helping the City attract and

retain the talented young adults who are so critical to its continued economic vitality – and for many of whom easy access

to outdoor recreation is an important factor in the choice of where to live and work.

Extensive research shows that easy access to parks and recreation also increases the overall level of physical fitness in the

community; and this in turn leads to better health, increased productivity and lower spending on health care.

Central Park also provides a wide range of cultural and educational opportunities for New Yorkers.




The Park is a uniquely valuable resource for the more than 100 public and private schools, with more than 48,000

students, that are located in the Central Park area.

Education programs sponsored by the Central Park Conservancy and the Central Park Zoo served more than

30,000 children, parents and teachers in 2007.

The Park also hosts cultural programs and activities that are as diverse as the communities it serves.

The Park is also a resource for building social capital in the City, through volunteer work with the Conservancy

– participation in running clubs, softball leagues and other organizations that regularly use the Park – use of the Park as

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a venue for fund-raising events such as AIDS Walk New York – and through community events of various types that

take place in the Park.

Adding value to New York’s most valuable real estate




Central Park significantly enhances the value of nearby real estate. Using data provided by the New York City

Department of Finance, we compared the average market value per lot square foot on blocks closest to the Park with

the average values for properties one block farther away, two blocks farther away, etc. We then compared these average

block-by-block values with an average value per lot square foot for all properties in a wider area surrounding the Park.

Based on these comparisons, we estimate that in 2007, proximity to Central Park increased the aggregate market

value of all properties within three blocks from the Park (as market value is defined by the Department of Finance) by

approximately $17.7 billion.



This represented a premium of approximately 18 percent over the average market value per lot square foot for

properties in a broader area surrounding the Park.

This $17.7 billion Central Park premium is equivalent to approximately 8.1 percent of the total value of all real

property in Manhattan.

The impact of proximity to the Park has grown significantly during the past ten years.


Between 1997 and 2007, the average value of properties on the blocks between Central Park West and

Columbus Avenue grew 73 percent faster than the average value of properties between Columbus and

Amsterdam.

Other statistics highlight the unique concentration of property values in the area around the Park. For example:



Of the 48 commercial office buildings that in July 2007 had achieved office rents of $100 per square foot or

more, half were located within five blocks from the Park, and another quarter just a few blocks farther away.

Of the fifty highest-priced sales of New York City apartments or homes in 2007, 41 were located in the Central



Park area, including sales of 19 properties located directly across the street from the Park.

The City’s three highest-rent retail areas are all located within a few blocks from the Park.

The “Central Park effect” has in recent years been particularly strong in the area immediately north of the Park. Between

1997 and 2007, the market value of properties north of the Park grew by 115 percent in real terms – more than double

the increase in value for all Manhattan properties.

A generator of tax revenues for New York City




Taking into account the economic activity associated with the Park, and what it adds to the value of taxable real estate

in the surrounding area, we estimate that in 2007 Central Park generated about $656 million in New York City tax

revenues.

The total value of City revenues directly and indirectly generated by Central Park is roughly equal to the total annual cost

of the City’s park system in 2007.

Conclusion

Central Park’s value to New York’s economy in 2008 reflects not only the foresight of the New Yorkers who

created it 150 years ago, but also the Conservancy’s and the City’s investment since 1980 in the renovation,

revitalization, improvement, maintenance and management of the Park.

Few other investments in New York City, public or private, have in the past 25 years produced comparable

results for the City, its economy and its people.

13


Central Park: At A Glance





Central Park is comprised of 843 acres, including 150 acres of water, 250 acres of

lawn and 136 acres of woodland.

There are more than 26,000 trees, 9,000 benches, 36 bridges and arches, 30 tennis

courts, 26 ball fields, and 21 playgrounds in Central Park.

There were 25 million visits to Central Park in 2006 – more than the number of

visits to Chicago’s Lincoln Park (20 million) or San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park

(13 million).

Since 1908, more than 240 feature films have been filmed in the Park, including two

winners of the Oscar for Best Picture.


Introduction

New York City’s Central Park is one of the world’s best-known urban parks – a favorite place

for recreation, culture, entertainment and social activity for generations of New Yorkers, and a

magnet for visitors from all over the world.

Less familiar, however – and not as readily visible – is the role that Central Park has played

in the evolution of New York City’s economy, and its ongoing contribution to the City’s

economic vitality. The Park is a significant enterprise in its own right – a magnet for visitors

to the City and for talent of all types – an invaluable resource for its neighbors and other New

Yorkers – a source of added value to New York’s greatest concentration of real estate – and a

generator of tax revenues for the City.

In order to understand more fully the Park’s impact, the Central Park Conservancy – a nonprofit

organization that manages the Park under contract with the City of New York – asked

Appleseed, a New York City-based consulting firm, to assess Central Park’s value to New York

City’s economy. This report presents the results of Appleseed’s analysis.

Part One of the report assesses the impact of the Conservancy itself and the other

businesses and organizations that operate in the Park. Part Two explores the Park’s role as

a venue for major events and a magnet for visitors – its related role as a focal point of the

City’s hospitality and industry and cultural institutions – and its role as a place for film,

TV production and photography. Part Three of the report discusses the Park’s value as a

community resource, and why this is important to the City’s economy.

Part Four explores several dimensions of the Park’s impact on real property values in the area

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16

around the Park. Part Five briefly summarizes the Park’s impact on New York City’s tax and

fee revenues. Finally, Park Six offers some comments on why the Park will continue in the

years ahead to be an essential contributor to the vitality of the City’s economy.

Completion of this report would not have been possible without the active cooperation and

assistance of many people, both at the Central Park Conservancy and elsewhere. Appleseed

would particularly like to thank Douglas Blonsky and Terri Coppersmith at the Central

Park Conservancy, Conservancy board member Michael Grobstein, and Jack Linn, Assistant

Commissioner/Senior Counselor at the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

We are also grateful to Conservancy staff who provided us with data and information about

the Conservancy, its programs and its partners. Thanks to Lane Addonizio, Jill Bristow, Terri

Carta, Anna Colletti, Mary Cregg, April Croft, Sara Cedar Miller, Kathryn Ortiz, Norma

Soto, Rachel Stephenson, and Douglas Weller.

Finally, this report could not have been completed without the assistance of some of the

groups who work in and around Central Park, its neighbors and friends. Thanks to Faustina

Osei-Owusu of New York City Parks & Recreation, Kate McIntyre and Sarah Gillman at the

Wildlife Conservation Society, Patrick McNamara from New York Road Runners, Cheryl

Huber of New Yorkers for Parks, Russ Charlton of New York Reservoir Dogs, Douglas

Hegley of New York Harriers, Dean McCann of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and

Broadcasting, Tim Sheehan of CB Richard Ellis, Stacie Mishler of the Parkinson’s Unity

Walk, John Korff of the New York City Triathlon, David Rivel of City Parks Foundation,

Barbara Livenstein of the Museum of the City of New York, Rachel Flynn of Oasis Children’s

Services, Joanne Hunt of Harbor Science and Arts Charter School, Drew Higginbotham

of Young Women’s Leadership High School, Sam Miller and Lenny Linder at the New

York City Department of Finance, and Richard Schwartz and Ken Frydman of Source

Communications.

All photographs in this report are courtesy of Sara Cedar Miller/Central Park Conservancy.


Creating Central Park: A major construction

project

Creation of Central Park was one of New York City’s greatest nineteenth-century public

works projects. During the peak construction years (1859 and 1860) the Board of

Commissioners of the Central Park was among the City’s largest employers, with as

many as 3,600 laborers working on a peak day in September 1859.

Board of Aldermen Documents, 27, no. 6 (Jan, 30, 1860) and

Board of Aldermen Documents, 28, pt. 1, no. 6 (Jan, 31, 1861).

1


“Looked at from a commercial standpoint... the Park was a success beyond all

expectations.”

Frederick Law Olmsted, “Forty Years of Landscape Architecture: Central Park,” 1928, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 95.

(Reproduced from Volume 2 of Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Architect, 1822-1903; Forty

Years of Landscape Architecture; Being the Professional Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.)


Part 1

Central Park as an Enterprise

Central Park’s contribution to New York City’s economy can at the most basic level be measured by

viewing the Park as a cluster of business enterprises, both non-profit and for-profit, that together are

responsible for its operations. In this part of our report we assess first the economic impact of the

Central Park Conservancy; and then the impact of other organizations that operate in the Park.

The Central Park Conservancy

The Central Park Conservancy is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to restore, manage

and preserve Central Park, in partnership with the public, for the enjoyment of present and future

generations.” Founded in 1980, the Conservancy focused during its early years on rehabilitation

of Park structures and landscapes after years of underinvestment, and on programs and activities

designed to bring people back to the Park. In 1998, the Conservancy entered into an eight-year

contract under which it took on full responsibility for management of the Park. The Conservancy and

City renewed the contact in 2006.

In fiscal year 2007, the Conservancy’s unrestricted revenues (those available for regular operating

purposes) totaled $50.6 million; and its expenses, $37.7 million. As Figure 1 shows, City funds

accounted for only 14.5 percent of the Conservancy’s unrestricted revenues. Other sources – primarily

private contributions generated through the Conservancy’s fund-raising efforts and revenues from

special events – accounted for more than 85 percent of unrestricted revenues.

The Conservancy as an employer

In the winter of 2006, Central Park Conservancy employed 328 full- and part-time employees and

seasonal workers, of whom 75 percent worked full-time. The Conservancy’s payroll during calendar

Other

$1,993

4%

Unrealized

appreciation

on investments

$3,358

7%

Contributions and

other net assets

released from restrictions

$14,583

29%

Gain on

sale of

investments

$4,130

8%

Interest and

dividends

$1,432

3%

Current contributions

$14,927

29%

Special

event

revenue

$2,891

6%

Contract revenue

(NYC)

$4,579

9%

Project

revenue (NYC)

$2,748

5%

Fig. 1. Central Park Conservancy unrestricted operating

revenue, FY 2007 ($ thousands)

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20

Outside New York State

22 employees

7%

Rest of New York State

127 employees

39%

New York City

179 employees

54%

Fig. 2. Central Park Conservancy employees by

location of residence, Winter 2006

Outside NY State

$7,923,510

46%

Rest of NY State

$2,608,340

15%

New York City

$6,706,381

39%

Fig. 3. Central Park Conservancy purchases by

location of vendor, FY 2007

year 2006 totaled $14.7 million. Of the Conservancy’s 328 employees, 54 percent lived within New

York City; and 40 percent lived elsewhere in New York State. The distribution of Conservancy

employees by place of residence is shown in Figure 2.

Purchasing and construction

In addition to its role as an employer, the Conservancy contributes to New York City’s economy

through its purchases of goods and services. During fiscal year 2007, the Conservancy purchased

$17.2 million worth of goods and services. Of this amount, $6.7 million was paid to businesses

located in New York City, and $2.6 million to businesses located elsewhere in New York State.

Overall, we estimate that the $6.7 million paid to New York City businesses directly supported

46 full-time equivalent jobs. Table 1 lists categories in which the Conservancy spent more than

$300,000 on purchases from New York City vendors during fiscal year 2007.

The Central Park Conservancy also spent $8.1 million on construction and renovation projects during

fiscal year 2007. Major projects completed or under way during the year included:





Renovation of the Heckscher Ballfields and the Heckscher Playground building;

Restoration of shoreline areas along the Lake;

Restoration and renovation work at Bethesda Terrace; and

Major capital improvements at the Ancient (East 84th Street), West 100th Street and West 110th

Street playgrounds.

More than 80 percent of the $8.1 million the Conservancy spent on construction in fiscal year 2007

– or $6.5 million – was paid to firms located in New York City. We estimate this spending directly

supported 21 full-time equivalent jobs with New York City contractors.

While the Conservancy’s construction spending each year provides opportunities for local contractors

and their employees, in the long run the real value of the Conservancy’s investments is their

cumulative impact on the preservation and continuing improvement of the Park. Since its founding,

the Conservancy has spent $175 million on capital construction and renovation projects in the Park

– 57 percent of which was funded by private sources.


Over time, the Conservancy has been able to reduce its reliance on City funds to finance investments

in Park facilities, infrastructure and landscapes. In fiscal year 2007, approximately 66 percent of all

construction and renovation work in the Park was financed with privately-raised funds.

During the next five years, the Conservancy expects to invest a total of $55 million in construction

and renovation of Park facilities, infrastructure and landscapes. Projects included in the capital plan

are listed below in Table 2. We estimate that this investment will directly support 181 person-years of

employment in construction and related industries.

Measuring the multiplier effect

In addition to the direct impacts described above, the Conservancy’s spending on payroll, purchasing

and construction also has an indirect impact on New York City’s economy. Some of the money the

Conservancy pays to local vendors and contractors is used by these firms to purchase more goods and

services from other local companies.

Similarly, employees at the Conservancy and of the local firms from which it buys goods and services

spend part of their earnings within the City – for housing, food, personal items, utilities and other

needs.

Using the IMPLAN economic modeling system, we can measure the impact of these “indirect and

induced” (or “multiplier”) effects on New York City’s economy.



In the winter of 2007, Central Park Conservancy employed 328 full- and part-time and seasonal

employees with a total payroll of $14.7 million. We estimate household spending by Conservancy

employees living in New York City created 37 full-time equivalent jobs and $7.8 million in

economic output.

The Conservancy spent $13.2 million in fiscal year 2007 on both construction spending and

purchasing goods and services within New York City. We estimate these expenses directly

supported 67 FTE jobs with New York City vendors and contractors; and through the multiplier

effect, created an additional 48 FTE jobs and $7.7 million in output.

Taking into account the Conservancy’s own payroll and employment, the jobs with New York City

vendors and contractors directly supported by Conservancy spending and the “multiplier effect,” we

Category Spending in NYC

Medical $ 1,706,087

Construction and maintenance 684,246

Mailings and postage 677,526

Equipment rental and purchases 537,203

Consulting 520,738

Landscaping 443,449

Catering 314,650

Table 1. Leading categories of purchases by the Central

Park Conservancy, FY 2007.

Rest of NYS

$1.3 million

17%

Outside NYS

$0.3 million

3%

New York City

$6.5 million

80%

Fig. 4. Central Park Conservancy construction

spending by location of vendor, FY 2007

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Project Cost

The Lake restoration $1.98 million

Bow Bridge $1.82 million

Lower Gill $3.82 million

Bank Rock Bay $3.66 million

Ladies’ Pond $5.03 million

Boat landings $3.12 million

Cherry Hill $2.96 million

The Point $8.32 million

Eastern Shore $2.25 million

The Met to the Meer $6.53 million

Reservoir East $2.26 million

The Playgrounds $7.85 million

Arboretum Landscape $3.6 million

Fort Landscape $2.1 million

TOTAL $55.3 million

Table 2. Central Park Conservancy planned

construction projects, 2008 – 2012

Vendor FT/PT employment

Tavern on the Green 475

Central Park Boathouse 300

Wollman/Lasker Rinks 270

Push Carts 114

Mineral Spring Snack Bar 70

Horse Carriages 68

Shakespeare in the Park 38

Central Park Zoo 25

Other 40

Total employment 1,400

Table 4. Largest Central Park concessions and

organizations and full- and part-time employment,

2007

estimate that in fiscal year 2007 the Central Park Conservancy generated 480 full-time-equivalent

jobs and $43.5 million in annual economic output in New York City.

The impact of concessions and other organizations

In addition to the work the Conservancy does in managing, maintaining and improving Central Park,

“the park as an enterprise” also encompasses the operations of a wide range of other organizations and

companies that do business in the Park and serve its users. They include:







Direct spending Indirect and induced impact of spending by

employees, vendors and contractors

Payroll Purchasing/ Impact of employee Impact of vendor and

construction

spending contractor spending

$14.7 million

328 jobs

$13.2 million

67 FTE

$7.8 million

37 FTE

Major restaurants – Tavern on the Green and the Boathouse

The Central Park Zoo

Wollman Rink

Boat rentals

Food-cart vendors

Horse-drawn carriages

$7.7 million

48 FTE

Total impact

Table 3. Direct, indirect and induced impacts of Central Park Conservancy’s spending in New York City, FY 2007

$43.5 million

480 FTE

According to data provided by concessionaires and others doing business in the Park, these operations

employed a total of 1,400 people in 2007. Using the IMPLAN economic model, we estimate that

these businesses directly generated a total of $88.4 million in economic output in New York City, and

paid $40.2 million in salaries and wages.

Like the Central Park Conservancy, concessions and other businesses in the Park also generate jobs

and economic activity through the multiplier effect. We estimate that these operations indirectly

generated $47.2 million in additional economic output Citywide, $16.8 million in wages and 280 full-


time-equivalent jobs with other New York City companies.

Summary

Taking into account the operations of the Central Park Conservancy, concessions and other

organizations doing business in the Park, we estimate that in 2007 “the Park as an enterprise” directly

and indirectly accounted for $179 million in Citywide economic output and 2,159 jobs.

While the economic output and jobs associated with the operation of Central Park are thus

substantial, it is important to keep this aspect of the Park’s impact on the City’s economy in

perspective. Viewing the Park as a cluster of business enterprises provides a way to measure the

economic impact of the Conservancy’s spending on payroll, purchasing and construction; and

the impact of the other organizations that operate in the Park. But Central Park, of course, is not

primarily a business enterprise; and there are important aspects of its role in New York’s economy that

are not captured in the analysis presented above. The next several parts of the report explore several of

these other dimensions of the Park’s value to the City’s economy.

$ millions FTE

Impact of Conservancy operations

Direct payroll 14.7 328

Payments to vendors/contractors 13.2 67

Impact of employee and vendor/contractor spending 15.6 85

Subtotal

Impact of concessions operations

43.5 480

Concessions operations 88.4 1,400

Indirect/induced impact of concessions operations 47.2 279

Subtotal 135.5 1,679

Grand total 179.0 2,159

Table 5. Impact of Central Park Conservancy operations and Central Park concessions, FY 2007

New York City Government

Operations in Central Park

The City of New York also maintains

several government operations

within Central Park employing about

450 people. The Arsenal, located

at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, is

one of only two buildings within the

Park that predates the Park itself. It

is home to the offices of the New

York City Department of Parks and

Recreation, as well as several other

local organizations. Approximately

300 people work at the Arsenal. The

Department also employs 10 Rangers

and Parks Enforcement Patrol officers

to promote proper use and enjoyment

of Central Park. In addition to the

Parks Department, the New York Police

Department operates the Central Park

Precinct, located at the 86th Street

transverse road. The 22nd Precinct of

the NYPD is located entirely within the

Park and employs 120 police officers

and other staff.

23


Drawing visitors for 150 years

Central Park has been a powerful draw for visitors since its opening. According to the

Board of Commissioners of Central Park’s Annual Reports, 2.5 million people came

to the Park in 1860. During the decade that followed, annual attendance more than

tripled – growing much faster than the fast-growing City’s total population. Over

time, the number of people using the Park has grown, with growth being particularly

dramatic during the past 30 years. In 2006, the Park’s annual attendance was about 25

million.


Part 2

A Venue and Magnet for Visitors

Central Park is a venue for some of New York’s most popular and visible events, and a magnet

for visitors from around the world. By helping to bring people to the City – whether for

specific events staged in the Park, or because it is simply one of the City’s best-known places

– the Park helps support one of the most important sectors of the City’s economy.

In this part of the report, we focus on:






The impact of visitor spending associated with recurring events, including sporting,

cultural and entertainment events;

The impact of spending by other visitors for whom the Park itself is a major attraction

– that is, those not tied to specific events;

Special events that attract out-of-town visitors to the Park;

The use of the Park as a venue for film and photo shoots; and

The Park’s role as a focal point of the City’s hospitality industry and cultural institutions.

Recurring events

Central Park provides a location for a variety of recurring popular events. The largest and

best-known of the events associated with the Park is the ING New York City Marathon, the

economic impact of which is discussed below. Other major athletic events held (in whole or in

part) in the Park in 2007 included:

2


26

The world’s largest marathon

– and the world’s most famous

finish line

The New York City Marathon was born in Central

Park in 1970, and for its first five years was run

entirely within the Park. In 1976 the course of

the Marathon was changed to the now-familiar

five-borough configuration. But the final three

and a half-mile section of the course is still within

or along the edge of the Park. Thus the most

dramatic moments of the race often occur in the

Park, as the runners approach and then cross what

has been called the world’s most famous finish

line.

Today the ING New York City Marathon is the

largest in the world, with 38,607 finishers in 2007.

Approximately 80 percent of all participants come

from outside New York City – and 50 percent from

outside the U.S. Based on a survey of participants

in the 2005 race, Economics Research Associates

estimates that the average non-New York City

participant brings four guests, and stays in the City

for four days. The Marathon thus drew more than

150,000 visitors to the City in 2006, for a total of

more than 600,000 visitor-days.

Based on this survey, ERA estimates that outof-town

participants in the 2006 ING New York

City Marathon and their guests spent a total of

approximately $110.7 million. Taking into account

the multiplier effect, ERA estimates that in 2006

visitor spending associated with the Marathon

generated $179 million in Citywide economic

output. The Marathon’s economic impact exceeds

that of any other single-day sporting event.






The New York City Triathlon (18,000 participants);

The New York City Half-Marathon (10,000 participants);

The New York Road Runners Mini 10K – the world’s oldest organized road race for

women (3,500 participants);

The U.S. men’s Olympic marathon trial; and

The U.S. 8K championship.

Entertainment and cultural events at Central Park also draw visitors from outside New York

City. Examples include:







Shakespeare in the Park, with a total audience of 85,000;

The SummerStage concert series, with audiences totaling 150,000;

New York Philharmonic concerts (66,000);

Performances by the Metropolitan Opera (15,700);

Other concerts sponsored by the Parks Foundation (72,000); and

The New York Book Festival (20,000).

Other visitors to Central Park

Visits to the Park for its recurring events make up a small part of its total annual attendance

(about 3 percent of visits in 2006-07). The Central Park Conservancy estimates that there

were 25 million visits to Central Park in 2006 – up from an estimated 20 million in 2000.

Since the Conservancy was founded, visits to Central Park have nearly doubled from 12.77

million visits in 1976.

While New York City residents account for most visits to Central Park, surveys conducted in

1989 found that 20 percent of Central Park visitors resided outside the City.

Assuming that 20 percent of the 25 million visits to Central Park were made by out-of-town

visitors and discounting spending that occurred with Park concessions, we estimate that about


$53 million in visitor spending in the City could be considered attributable to visitors to the

Park. This spending directly supported 835 jobs in tourism-related industries throughout

New York City. Through the multiplier effect, we estimate that visitor spending generated an

additional $27.7 million in output and 170 FTE jobs in the City.

A unique venue for special events

In addition to providing a site for recurring events such as those described above, Central

Park also provides a location for special, non-recurring events that can also have a significant

impact on the City’s economy. The most notable example in recent years has been The Gates,

a concept developed and executed by New York artists Christo and Jean-Claude. Mounted

during February 2005, The Gates involved installation of 7,500 fabric panels on 16-foot gates

along 23 miles of walkway in the Park. During the installation’s two-week run, the City

estimates that 4 million people came to see The Gates, including 1.5 million who came from

outside New York City. A survey of Gates visitors found that among those who had come

from outside the City, 79 percent listed seeing The Gates as their primary reason for coming

to New York. The Mayor’s Office later estimated that The Gates had generated $254 million

in additional economic activity in the City, through increased hotel occupancy and visitors’

spending on meals, shopping, entertainment, local transportation and other services.

While The Gates was a one-time event, the number of visitors it attracted and the resulting

economic impact – in both cases, much greater than had been anticipated before the event

– highlight Central Park’s unique potential as both a venue for large-scale special events, and

as a cultural icon in its own right.

Central Park has also been the location of a number of one-time concerts that have drawn

major audiences including performances by Simon and Garfunkel (1981), Paul Simon (1991),

Garth Brooks (1997), and The Dave Matthews Band (2003).

The importance of safety

in Central Park

Since 1980 when the Conservancy began

its work in the Park, crime has steadily

declined. As the figure below shows, since

1981 the New York Police Department

reports a 91 percent decrease over all

major crime categories in the Central Park

Precinct.

1,200

1,000

800

600

400

200

1981 1987 1993 1999 2005

As crime has declined in the Park and

the perception of safety has increased,

the number of visitors has increased

dramatically. Since the Conservancy was

founded, visits to Central Park have nearly

doubled from 12.77 million visits in 1976 to

about 25 million visits in 2006. The figure

below shows the growth in the annual

number of visitors to the Park since its

inception.

25,000,000

20,000,000

15,000,000

10,000,000

5,000,000

0

1863 1873 1973 1982 2000 2007

2


28

Lights, camera, Central

Park! The Park as a film

and television location

The Conservancy estimates that Central

Park has been used as a location for 240

feature films since 1908. In 2005 and 2006

alone the Park was a location for several

major studio films, including I Am Legend,

Borat, Spiderman 3 and The Devil Wears

Prada. Below is a list of notable films with

scenes in the Park.

Central Park has also been a recurring

location for long-running television series

based in the City, including Law & Order

and Sex and the City.

Film Year

Romeo and Juliet 1908

Little Old New York 1923

Gold Diggers of 1933 1933

An Affair to Remember 1957

The Manchurian Candidate 1960/

2004

Barefoot in the Park 1967

The Producers 1967

Love Story 1970

The Out-of-Towners 1970

Marathon Man 1976

Annie Hall 1977

Hair 1979

Kramer vs. Kramer 1979

Manhattan 1979

Ghostbusters 1983

Tootsie 1983

Wall Street 1987

When Harry Met Sally 1989

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York 1992

Stuart Little 1999

A venue for film, television and photography

The economic value of the Central Park’s iconic character is also reflected in its role as a

favorite venue for film and television production and for photographers.

Central Park Conservancy granted 2,500 film and television permits during 2006, involving

about 4,000 “location-days” of shooting in the Park. Based on data collected in the permit

process, the Conservancy estimates that about 63,000 workers in film and television

production worked in the Park in 2006. Assuming an average of one full day per worker

per shoot, we estimate that the Park accounts for about 250 full-time equivalent film and

television production jobs. These workers directly generate $71 million in economic output in

the City. Through the multiplier effect, we estimate they generate an additional 366 FTE jobs

and $64.6 million in economic output in the City.

The impact of the Park’s use as a venue for film, TV and photography goes beyond the

economic activity directly or indirectly generated by production. From the nearly 300 million

people who watch the ING New York City Marathon on television to millions of fans of

films like Kramer vs. Kramer, Marathon Man or Spiderman, Central Park is an important

feature of the face New York City presents to the world.

The “front yard” for the City’s hotels and cultural

institutions

Central Park’s position as one of New York City’s leading visitor attractions is simultaneously

reflected in and reinforced by the dense concentration of hotels in the area around the Park.

As shown in Figure 5, there are currently 102 hotels located in the area surrounding the park

– roughly from 49th Street to 120th Street, from First Avenue to the Hudson. Collectively,

these hotels include a total of 26,655 guest rooms – 37 percent of New York City’s total

inventory of 72,250 guest rooms.


Just as significant as the number of hotels in the area around Central Park

is the quality of those hotels. The area includes many of the City’s bestknown

and most valuable hotel properties, several of which are listed below

in Table 6. Hotels in this area account for 78 percent of all rooms in hotels

cited by Michelin with standard room rates above $400 per night. Many

of the leading hotels in the area advertise their proximity to or views of the

Park as part of their allure.

In 2006, according to the New York State Department of Labor, hotels and

other accommodations in New York City employed 38,875 workers, with

wages totaling $1.8 billion. If we assume (no doubt conservatively) that

hotels in the Central Park area account for 37 percent of this employment,

we can estimate that the 102 hotels in the area employed 14,342 workers,

Notable Central Park area hotels Rooms

Four Seasons New York 370

Jumeirah Essex House 515

Peninsula New York 239

The Ritz-Carlton, Central Park 260

The Warwick 426

The Carlyle 181

The Pierre 251

Mandarin Oriental 202

Trump International Hotel and Tower 129

New York Palace 892

The St. Regis 229

The Waldorf Astoria 1,416

Table 6 Central Park area notable hotels and number of guest rooms

Fig. 5. Hotels by number of guest rooms in the Central Park area

2


30

Fig. 6. Museums by attendance within the Central Park area, 2006

and paid total wages of more than $670.6 million.

Similarly, the area surrounding Central Park is home to some of the most

famous cultural institutions in New York City and the world. The Park

predated virtually all of the institutions, many of which made strategic

decisions to locate within or near Central Park.

Forty-seven museums are located in the Central Park area. In 2006, these

museums recorded a total of more than 18 million visitors. Two of the

museums bordering the Park – the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the

American Museum of Natural History – accounted for more than half this

total. Both ranked among the top five museums in the U.S. as measured by

attendance.

Like hotels, the museums that cluster around the Park are major employers.

In 2006, the 36 institutions for which data were available employed a total

of 7,000 people in full- and part-time positions – about 77 percent of all

museum employment in New York City.

Several of the City’s leading venues for the performing arts – including

Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and City Center

– are also located within a few blocks of the Park.

Conclusion

Central Park is a world-class athletic venue, a music performance space,

a visitor destination, a location for film and television production and

commercial photography, and an anchor for the City’s hospitality industry

and many of its leading cultural institutions. In each of these roles, it helps

form the image that New York conveys to the world.


Just as important as these contributions to the City’s economy, however, is the role the

Park plays in the daily lives of New Yorkers – in making the City and attractive place to

live and work. The next part of the report examines Central Park’s role as a resource for the

community.

Central Park is becoming

the centre of a circle of

educational institutions

of notable importance,

which are designed to have

a salutary influence upon

the growth of intelligence

and culture not only in

this neighborhood but

over the whole territory

of the United States.”

“The Park Institutions,” The New York Times,

January 6, 1878.

31


“It is the one great purpose of the Park to supply to the hundreds of thousands of

tired workers, who have no opportunity to spend their summers in the country, a

specimen of God’s handiwork that shall be to them, inexpensively, what a month or

two in the White Mountains or the Adirondacks is, at great cost, to those in easier

circumstances.”

Frederick Law Olmsted


Part 3

Central Park as a Community Resource

As popular as Central Park may be among visitors to New York City, the great majority

of the roughly 70,000 people who come to the Park on a typical day are New York

City residents. They come to run, walk, bike, rollerblade, skate, swim, rent a boat, play

softball or soccer – connect with friends or connect with nature – take in a concert, see

a performance, read – or just relax. For them as individuals and for the community as a

whole, Central Park is an invaluable resource.

A place for recreation

One of the ways in which parks contribute to the economic vitality of cities is through

their role in providing opportunities for recreation. Richard Florida of the University

of Toronto has cited access to opportunities for active outdoor recreation as being one

of the factors that affect a city’s ability to attract and retain the young, highly-talented

workers on whom its economic future depends. In The Rise of the Creative Class, Florida

writes:

...focus groups and interviews with Creative Class people reveal that they value active

outdoor recreation very highly. They are drawn to places and communities where many

outdoor activities are prevalent – both because they enjoy those activities, and because their

presence is seen as a signal that the place is amenable to a broader creative lifestyle. 1

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s long-term plan for New York City recognized the

1 Florida, Richard. (2002) The Rise of the Creative Class: And how it’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community, and Everyday Life.

Basic Books, New York. p. 173.

33


3

Making History: Ice

Skating in Central Park

“On a December Sunday in 1858 about

three hundred skaters showed up at the

newly frozen, only partially filled Central

Park Lake on West 73rd Street…Ten

thousand turned up on the following

Sunday and perhaps twice as many on

Christmas Day…

“The opening of the park unleashed what

the Post called, ‘skating mania,’ the revival

of a sport that had been fading in New York

as the growing city swallowed up existing

ponds. In the late 1850s and throughout

the 1860s ice skating drew enormous

crowds…On an average winter day about

thirty thousand additional people came to

skate or to watch others.”

The Park and the People

importance of parks to the overall well-being of the community. One of the plan’s goals

is to ensure that by 2030, no New Yorker should have to travel more than ten minutes

to reach a park.

What the Park offers

Central Park is in this respect one of City’s greatest assets. Approximately 550,000

New Yorkers live within a half-mile of the Park (about a ten-minute walk) – more than

the entire population of Atlanta or Portland, and roughly the equivalent of the entire

population of Denver. About 1.15 million more are within a half-hour bus or subway

ride.

The Park offers an extensive array of recreational resources, including:










58 miles of pedestrian walkways;

26 baseball/softball fields;

3 soccer fields;

30 tennis courts;

21 playgrounds;

Wollman and Lasker skating rinks;

Boat rentals on the Lake;

The Lasker Pool; and

Indoor and outdoor climbing walls.

All of these resources are widely used. For example:


New York Road Runners views the Park as its “home course;” in 2006, 39 of the 59

races organized by NYRR took place wholly or partly in Central Park, with a total

of more than 160,000 participants. Running clubs such as the New York Harriers,






the Achilles Track Club and the Reservoir Dogs also use the Park on a regular basis.

In 2007, the City Department of Parks estimated that approximately 12,000

permits are issued every year for organized baseball and softball games in Central

Park.

Approximately 350,000 people per year use the Park’s ice rinks.

Approximately 92,000 people use the Lasker Pool.

Nearly 65,000 people used the facilities of the North Meadow Recreation Center.

These numbers do not include the thousands of people each day who, individually or

in informal small groups, come to the Park to run, bike, rollerblade or engage in other

forms of active recreation. The Park also offers catch-and-release fishing at the Harlem

Meer, chess tables, and other resources for recreation.

The economic value of physical fitness

As one New York City’s most accessible and most popular places for active recreation,

Central Park is a major contributor to the health of the City’s people – especially those

who live nearby. A review of research on physical fitness and health conducted by the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2003 found that creating or improving

access to places for physical activity led to a 25.6 percent increase the percentage of

people in the surrounding area who exercise three or more days per week. 2

Physical inactivity is a major contributor to many of America’s most crippling diseases.

The CDC study cited above, for example, found that physical inactivity accounts for

22 percent of all coronary heart disease in the U.S., 22 percent of all colon cancer, 18

percent of all fractures due to osteoporosis, 12 percent of all type-2 diabetes and 12

percent of all hypertension.

In a paper presented to the American College of Sports Medicine in 2007, Dr. Michael

2 Centers for Disease Control, Increasing Physical Activity: A Report on Recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive

Services, October 2001.

The North Meadow

Recreation Center

Converted to recreational use in the early

1990’s and further renovated in 1998,

the North Meadow Recreation Center is

a particularly valuable resource for the

neighborhoods around the north end of

the Park. The Center includes basketball

and handball courts, indoor and outdoor

climbing walls and a community room.

The North Meadow complex also includes

twelve baseball/softball and soccer fields

that were completely renovated in 2000.

The Center offers a variety of organized

recreational programs for youth and adults;

and also makes play equipment available

for sign-out by school and family groups.

The North Meadow Recreation Center also

houses the Conservancy’s Soil, Water and

Ecology Laboratory, opened in 2006. The

Lab serves both as a research and testing

center for the Conservancy, and as an

educational resource for local schools.

3


36

Helping to improve

historic parks in Harlem

In 2006, the Central Park Conservancy

partnered with the Historic Harlem

Parks Coalition and the New York City

Department of Parks & Recreation

to begin the Historic Harlem Parks

Initiative. Through the Initiative, the

Conservancy provides horticultural support

and expertise to four Harlem parks

— Morningside Park, Marcus Garvey Park,

St. Nicholas Park, and Jackie Robinson

Park. The Conservancy’s work will help to

improve the combined 86 acres of parkland

for residents of Morningside Heights,

Manhattanville and Central Harlem.

Pratt noted that a lack of regular physical activity doubles the risk of heart disease,

type-2 diabetes, and obesity, and the risk of suffering a fatal stroke. Obesity in turn

increases the risk of suffering a wide range of other illnesses, including respiratory

problems, chronic back pain and osteoarthritis. Taking all of these effects into account,

Pratt estimates that physical inactivity currently costs the U.S. $76 billion annually in

direct spending for medical care. Adding costs associated with absenteeism and lost

productivity would easily increase this total to well over $100 billion annually. 3

Using Pratt’s cost figure as a starting point, we can estimate that if proximity and easy

access to Central Park increases by 15 percent the frequency with which residents of

the surrounding area engage in some type of physical activity (probably a conservative

assumption), then the health care and other costs associated with inactivity decline by

something like $34 to $42 million annually.

Central Park thus not only helps the City attract and retain the kind of young, talented

people who highly value opportunities for active recreation – it also helps keep them

healthier and more productive.

Educational and cultural programs

Central Park is also an important educational and cultural resource for New York.

There are 109 public and private schools with more than 48,000 students in the

Central Park area, many of whom regularly use the Park for both educational and

extracurricular activities. The Conservancy’s Education Department also provides day,

weekend, and afterschool programs for youth and teachers. In 2007, the Education

Department ran 60 Park-based classes for 1,405 K-12 students. Three classes — Dirt

on Dirt, Seneca Village, and Keeping It Green — encourage hands-on interaction

with Central Park as an environmental and historical asset. More than one-third of the

participants in the Conservancy’s Park-based classes come from schools in Harlem and

3 Medical News Today, June 8, 2007.


East Harlem.

Central Park Across the Curriculum, the Conservancy’s professional development

program for New York City teachers, trains teachers to incorporate Central Park into

their classroom curriculum. The Conservancy invites expert facilitators to instruct

teachers on topics ranging from the weather station at Belvedere Castle, to the Park’s

history, to the tiles at Bethesda Fountain. In 2007, the program ran 8 workshops,

serving 87 educators and an estimated 2,610 school children. Nearly one-third of the

participants teach at schools in Harlem and East Harlem.

The Conservancy also creates an outlet for young people to engage in after-school

and weekend activities. Central Park Scholars, for example, is a Saturday enrichment

program for 58 seventh- to ninth-graders. Students spend an average of 60.7 hours per

program year in the Park during the Scholars program. Ninth-graders involved in the

Scholars program plan and host Central Park Rocks!, an event in the Park for city youth

that attracted 300 participants last year.

The Teen Docent Program, one of the Conservancy’s Youth Leadership Programs,

supervises ten students as they create and conduct Central Park walking tours for the

public. In the spring of 2007, about 18 students participated in Spring ROOTS, an

after-school program that mobilizes youth to help restore the Hallett Nature Sanctuary.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (which runs the Central Park Zoo, along with the

Bronx Zoo and New York Aquarium) offers a variety of educational programs through

the Zoo. In 2006-07, more than 17,000 young people from 97 New York City schools

participated in the Zoo’s Auditorium and Classroom Series; and 10,600 participated in

programs at the Zoo for parents and young children.

Central Park also contributes to the City’s cultural life. As noted in Part Two,

Central Park: Serving

a growing number of

families with children

Improvements to Central Park have

helped make the surrounding area a more

attractive place for families with children.

Between 1990 and 2007, the number of

children living in the Central Park area grew

by 20.3 percent, to 89,600 – slightly faster

than the 18.8 percent increase in the total

number of children in Manhattan.

Project 843

Two Youth Development Programs offered

through the Conservancy, the Fall Youth

Leadership Project and the Spring Media

Outreach Program, form the basis of

Project 843, a documentary film series

created entirely by participating students

on the cultural impact of Central Park. This

program, offered to high school students

in the city, connects youth with experienced

filmmakers who support students in

all aspects of the film’s production.

Participants can also document the

experience publicly in Filmmakers’ Blogs.

In 2007, 25 students participated in the Fall

(Fall Youth Leadership Project) and 4 in the

Spring (Spring Media Outreach Program);

in the Summer, the Conservancy granted 3

full-time internships for students to work

on Project 843. The majority of students

who participate in the program live in

North Manhattan and the South Bronx.

3


38

The Angel of the Waters

Among the many forms of artistic

expression New Yorkers can find today

in Central Park, sculpture is among the

oldest. In 1873, Emma Stebbins was

commissioned to create “The Angel of

the Waters” at Bethesda Fountain – the

Park’s first commissioned sculpture and

the first commission for a major work of

public art ever awarded to an American

woman. Today the angel – one of 51works

of sculpture found in the Park – remains

one of the Park’s most popular figures, and

one of its best-known images.

it annually hosts major performances – Shakespeare in the Park, the New York

Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera, SummerStage and others – that together

draw hundreds of thousands of people from throughout the City and beyond. But the

Park also hosts a variety of other cultural activities serving the local community. They

include, for example:







The Harlem Meer Performance Festival, a weekly performance series by the Meer, at

the north end of the Park;

Sunday Latin, gospel and jazz concerts at the Dana Discovery Center;

A marionette theater at the Swedish Cottage;

Family music and art workshops;

Winter Jam, an annual winter festival attracting more than 10,000 participants in

2007; and

The Central Park Film Festival, featuring a different movie that was filmed at

Central Park each evening for a week at the end of August.

Building New York’s “social capital”

While the numbers on New Yorkers’ use of the Park are impressive, Central Park has

a value to the community that goes beyond what can be measured by aggregating

numbers of individuals who use its facilities at various times for various purposes.

The Park also represents a significant investment in building New York City’s “social

capital” – the collective value that arises from the “trust, reciprocity, information, and

cooperation associated with social networks.”

Central Park contributes in several ways to the development of social capital. The

Central Park Conservancy, for example – in addition to being an enterprise that

generates substantial revenue and invests heavily in the management, maintenance and

improvement of the Park – is also a focal point for volunteer activity. The Conservancy’s


volunteer programs provide opportunities for New Yorkers to work together to help

maintain the Park and assist its users. In 2007, 339 volunteers contributed a total of

21,131 hours to help meet the Park’s various horticultural, maintenance and visitor

needs.

In the past twenty years, Central Park has also become a popular venue for large-scale,

broad-based fund-raising events. Started in 1986, the annual AIDS Walk New York

has grown to become the single largest HIV/AIDS fund-raising event in the world.

The first AIDS Walk in the Park drew 4,500 participants; the 2007 Walk, 45,000.

Since its inception, the event has raised $98 million for HIV/AIDS programs and

services in the tri-state area. Other large-scale fund-raising events, as shown below

in Table 7, include the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, Making Strides Against

Breast Cancer – and (in part) the ING New York City Marathon.

Other activities in the Park also contribute to the development of social capital.

The activities of running clubs such as the New York Road Runners, the New York

Harriers, the Reservoir Dogs and the Achilles Track Club are by their nature both

athletic and social, as are the baseball, softball, and hockey leagues that play in the Park.

Central Park also offers team-building programs in the Park for both youth groups

and corporate clients, designed to increase participants’ teamwork skills, motivation,

confidence and self-respect. In 2007, there were 693 participants in team-building

programs for youth and 365 participants in the professional development program for

corporate groups.

By helping to make the Park a safer, more attractive and more engaging place for

people who live in, work in or visit the surrounding area, the Central Park Conservancy

has helped to sustain and enhance the value of real estate in the surrounding area – a

topic that is addressed in the next part of the report.

Charity event Participants Amount raised

Race for the Cure 22,000 $4.2 million

Making Strides

Against Breast Cancer

28,000 $4.66 million

Guggenheim

International Gala

550 $4.4 million

Parkinson’s Unity

Walk

10,000 $1.6 million

AIDS Walk NY 45,000 $6.957 million

YAI 5K Run 6,000 $1.3 million

Total 111,550 $23.1 million

Table 7. Selected fundraising events held in Central Park:

2007

3


“[T]he financial condition of the city continues to be better for all it has expended and

is expending on the Park, as is indicated by the successive valuation of real estate in

the 3 wards adjoining the Park since 1856, and in the amount of taxes raised in these

wards.”

Second Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Public Parks

for the Year Ending May, 1872, 7.

In 1856, before the Park was begun, the assessed valuation of the real estate in the

Twelfth, Nineteenth, and Twenty-Second wards amounted to $26 million. In 1872, after

the Park had been completed, the valuation rose to $186 million – an increase of $160

million.

Second Annual Report of the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Public Parks

for the Year Ending May 1, 1872, 8-9.


Part 4

Enhancing real property values,

attracting investment

Among the most notable aspects of Central Park’s impact on New York City’s

economy is its role in enhancing the value of real property surrounding the Park, and in

attracting new investment. As the report cited on the preceding page suggests, within

just 20 years of its completion the Park had already had a significant effect on property

values in the surrounding area.

The common-sense notion that proximity to parks enhances property values has been

confirmed during the past thirty years by a wide range of studies, both in New York

City and elsewhere. A recent survey of studies conducted in the U.S. and the U.K., for

example, found that:

The studies reviewed present strong evidence that open space has a statistically

significant and positive impact on the sales price of neighboring residential

properties…. From the studies reviewed, a property located on or close to an area of

open space could expect to see a premium of between 5% and 20%, and higher in some

exceptional cases (34% was noted in a U.K. context). 1

In New York City, a report by New Yorkers for Parks and Ernst and Young on the

impact of park renovations on property values found that in Park Slope, the persquare-foot

sale prices of single-family homes located within one to two blocks of

Prospect Park were 32 to 153 percent higher than the prices of homes that were three

to four blocks farther away. For multi-family residential buildings, per-square-foot

1 Neil Dunse, Michael White and Carolyn Dehring, Urban Parks, Open Space and Residential Property Values (RICS, September

2007),.p. 17.

1


2

Rest of New York City

$456 billion

68%

Central Park Area

$114 billion

17%

Rest of

Manhattan

$104 billion

15%

Fig. 7. Department of Finance real estate market values,

by area, 2007

$2,000/sf

$1,500/sf

$1,000/sf

$500/sf

Central Park area average: $979/sf

Manhattan average: $462/sf

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12

Fig. 8. Average market value of block per lot square foot,

by number of blocks from Central Park, 2007

prices on the blocks closest to the Park were 20 to 84 percent higher than the

prices of those farther away. 2 And in 2006, a study conducted for the Friends of

Hudson River Park found that the Park increased the value of nearby properties by

15 to 20 percent. 3

Although Central Park’s impact has varied over time, reflecting both the condition

of the Park itself and underlying conditions in the City’s economy, the power of the

“Park effect” has been particularly evident during the last ten to fifteen years.

In order to gauge the size of the Park effect, Appleseed analyzed data provided by

the New York City Department of Finance on the market value of properties in the

Central Park area, both for 2007 and for prior years.

(It should be noted that “market value” as measured by the Department of Finance

is not a property’s true market value, in the sense of a price that the owner could

realistically hope to obtain under current conditions. Instead, it is best viewed

simply as a step in the process of determining assessed value for purposes of the

City’s real property tax. Department of Finance market values are, generally

speaking, lower than true market values. They can nevertheless be useful for

analyses such as ours, since they make it possible to compare relative values from

one location to another, and to explore how differences in value change over time.)

In 2007, the total Department of Finance market value for all properties within the

Central Park area was $114 billion. For Manhattan as a whole, the total value of all

properties was $218 billion. Real property in the Central Park area thus accounted

for 52 percent of the total market value of all property in Manhattan, as defined

by the Department of Finance. Manhattan in turn accounted for 32 percent of the

total market value of all real property in New York City.

2 New Yorkers for Parks and Ernst & Young, Analysis of Secondary Economic Impacts Resulting from Park Expenditures,

2002.

3 Friends of Hudson River Park, Annual Report 2006, p. 3.


Figure 7 illustrates the distribution of market values in New York City.

Defining the value of proximity to the Park

In order to take a finer-grained look at how proximity to Central

Park influences market values, we used block-level data obtained from

the Department of Finance (DOF). We classified each block in the

Central Park area, based on distance (measured in tax blocks) from

the Park’s edge. The resultant grouping of blocks is shown in the map

on the next page. Those labeled 1, for example, include the blocks

between Central Park West and Columbus on the West, between

Fifth and Park Avenues on the east, between Central Park South and

58th Street on the south, and between 110th and 111th Streets on the

north.

For each group of blocks – those one block from the Park, two blocks

from the Park, three blocks from the Park, etc. – we calculated an

average market value per lot square foot. For the entire Central Park

area, the average market value per lot square foot in 2007 was $979.

(For all of Manhattan, the average market value per lot square foot

was $462.)

As Figure 8 shows, the average values are highest for the blocks closest

to the Park (groups 1, 2 and 3). At $1,603 per lot square foot, the

value of properties on the blocks closest to the Park (group 1) was on

average 20 percent higher than the value of those one block farther

from the Park (group 2); and 44 percent higher than the average value

of properties yet another block farther from the Park (group 3).

Fig. 9. Map showing each block’s distance from Central Park

3


Block

groups

Lot square

feet

Premium per

square foot

Total premium

1 17,823,641 $624 $11.12 billion

2 11,141,666 $355 $3.95 billion

3 18,996,278 $137 $2.60 billion

Total $17.67 billion

Table 8. Central Park’s market value premium, 2007

Market value per lot square foot

$1,200

$1,000

$800

$600

$400

$200

0

$575

1997

$583

$1,200

2007

$951

Central Park West to Columbus Ave

Columbus Ave to Amsterdam Ave

Fig. 10. Market value per lot square foot, 1997 and 2007

(2007 dollars)

In order to calculate the market value “premium” associated with

proximity to Central Park, we calculated the difference between each set

of blocks’ average market value per square foot and the $979 average for

the wider Central Park area. For each of the three block groups closest to

the Park, we then multiplied this per-square-foot difference by the total

number of lot square feet within the block group.

Based on this analysis we estimate that, as of 2007, proximity to Central

Park contributed nearly $17.7 billion in additional market value to the

properties in the three block groups closest to the Park. The results of

this analysis are show in Table 8. Overall, proximity to the Park increases

the value of properties in the three block groups closest to the Park by

approximately 18 percent – a result consistent with the findings of other

studies.

Based on this calculation, we can further estimate that the “Central Park

effect” accounts for approximately 8.1 percent of the total market value of

all Manhattan property.

The Central Park effect: increasing over time

In addition to being more valuable than those that are farther away,

properties closer to the Park have appreciated more rapidly during the

past ten years.

For example, in 1997 the blocks from 59th Street to 110th Street

between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue had an average

market value of $575 per lot square foot; the blocks from 59th Street to

110th Street between Columbus Avenue and Amsterdam Avenue had an


“...direct proximity to a park is one of the three most important factors in real estate; if the park is Central, it’s the

first. Location, location, and location. Properties with direct views of Central Park have always achieved premiums.

For example, recent condominium sales activity in the Plaza and 15 Central Park West illustrates premiums of 67% to

75% above otherwise similar non-park view units in these properties.”

Martin Levine, Metropolitan Valuation Services

From Michael Stoler, “City’s Parks Attract Exciting Residential Development,” New York Sun, August 30, 2007.

Fig. 11. Map of all Manhattan office buildings with base rent greater

than $100 per square foot, 2007

Fig. 12. 50 top townhouse and apartment sales, Manhattan, 2007


6

Fig. 13. Map of high-rent retail corridors, spring 2007

Retail corridor Average asking rent

Madison Avenue $ 1,158

Fifth Avenue $ 932

57th Street $ 675

Upper East Side $ 155

Upper West Side $ 128

Manhattan $ 107

Table 9. High-rent retail corridors and average asking

rents, 2007

average market value of $583 per lot square foot.

By 2007, the same blocks along Central Park West had increased

in value by 109 percent, while the blocks between Columbus and

Amsterdam Avenues increased by 63 percent. The change in market

value for the two sets of blocks is illustrated in Figure 10.

There are several factors that could have contributed to the more rapid

appreciation of property values close to Central Park. But it logical to

infer that proximity to the Park has over time become more attractive

at least in part because the Park itself has become more attractive.

Rising values around the Park thus reflect the cumulative impact of

25 years of investment in Park facilities, infrastructure and landscapes

– in improved maintenance and greater safety – and in more extensive

programming and services for Park users.

Anchoring New York City’s most valuable

properties

Just as New York’s leading hotels and museums are clustered near

Central Park, so are many of its most prestigious corporate addresses,

its most valuable residential properties and its highest-rent retail

districts.

Midtown Manhattan has the highest commercial office rents in

the United States, with average asking rents in the summer of 2008

exceeding $85 per square foot, and rents in many buildings exceeding

$100 per square foot. The office buildings with the highest rents

are not evenly distributed throughout Midtown, however. With


unobstructed views and light – and easy access to the amenities Central Park and its

environs provide – most of the highest-rent office space is located in buildings within a

short walk of Central Park.

Of the 48 buildings that had achieved base rents in excess of $100 per square foot as of

July 2007 (as shown on Figure 11), half were located within five blocks of Central Park;

and another quarter were just a few blocks farther from the Park.

Data on the sale of residential properties shows the same clustering of high values

around the Park. Of the 50 highest-value apartment and townhouse sales in Manhattan

in 2007, 19 were directly across the street from the Park, and another 22 were located

within six blocks of the Park. Sales prices of the 19 residences across the street from the

Park ranged from $1,400 to $7,200 per square foot and averaged $4,200.

The City’s highest-rent retail districts are also clustered near the Park. As Table 9

shows, the average asking rent for retail space in Manhattan in the spring of 2007

was $107 per square foot. Rents were generally higher on the Upper West Side and

Upper East Side – $128 and $155 respectively. But in three prime retail corridors near

Central Park, rents were much higher, reaching an average of $1,158 per square foot on

Madison Avenue between 57th and 72nd Streets.

Contributing to the revitalization of Harlem

Among the most notable developments in New York City during the past fifteen years

has been the continuing revitalization of Harlem – a process that has encompassed

both commercial revitalization and a renewed recognition of Harlem as an attractive

place to live. Central Park has played a part in that process, enhancing the value of the

blocks north of the Park and helping to attract new investment to the area.

$350/sf

$300/sf

$250/sf

$200/sf

$150/sf

$100/sf

$50/sf

1

2

3

4

5

6

North side of the Park average: $165/sf

7

8

9

10

Number of blocks from Central Park

Fig. 14. Average market value per lot square foot, by

number of blocks from Central Park, 2007

11

12


8

120%

100%

80%

60%

40%

20%

0

Blocks north of

Central Park

Central Park

area

Manhattan

Fig. 15. Percent increase in market value, 1997-2007

In Harlem as elsewhere, the market value of properties on the blocks closest to the

Park is higher than the value of properties on blocks that are farther away. Using the

same approach we used in calculating the overall premium associated with proximity

to the Park, we estimate that in 2007 the value per lot square foot of properties on the

blocks that border the north side of the Park was roughly two-thirds greater than the

value of properties one block further north. Overall, we estimate that the Park effect

added approximately $328 million to the market value (as measured by the Department

of Finance) of properties north of the Park.

Moreover, property values on the north side of the Park rose faster than values in the

Central Park area generally, and much faster than market values for Manhattan as a

whole. Between 1997 and 2007, the market value of properties north of Central Park

increased by 115 percent, compared with 65 percent for the entire Central Park area,

and 54 percent for Manhattan overall. (This comparison is summarized in Figure

15.) Sales through the spring of 2008 confirmed this trend. In April 2008, a condo at

111 Central Park North sold for a price of more than $1,400 per square foot. The $8

million sale set a record for a Harlem apartment.

After 150 years, still sparking investment

The historical record shows that within a few years of its completion, Central Park

was attracting investment and spurring new development in the surrounding area.

In the 150 years that have passed since then, the area around the Park has continued

to attract new investment – and despite its being located in the heart of the nation’s

most densely-developed City, it has continued to do so. Just between 1993 and 2008,

major projects completed or under way in the Central Park area have included the

construction of the Time Warner Center and 15 Central Park West; and the sale and

renovation of the Plaza Hotel and Jumeirah Essex House.


Investments in new construction and renovation at various sites around the Park have a

direct impact on the City’s economy. Combined, the sample of real estate investments

in Table 10 represents about $3 billion in sales and $4 billion in construction and

renovation spending. Using the IMPLAN model, we estimate that $4 billion in

construction and renovation spending directly supported 13,000 person-years of

employment in construction and related industries.

Just as important in the long run, these investments confirm the position of the area

around the Park as America’s most valuable concentration of real estate.

“Although the committee

do not think it proper for

municipal corporations

to purchase lands on

speculation, yet it cannot

be concealed that the

Central Park has been,

and will be, in a merely

pecuniary point of view,

one of the wisest and most

fortunate measures ever

undertaken by the City of

New York. It has already

more than quadrupled the

value of a large extent of

property in its vicinity.”

From New York State Senate Report, 1861

in Frederick Law Olmsted, “Forty Years of

Landscape Architecture: Central Park,” 1928,

MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 173.

(Reproduced from Volume 2 of Frederick Law

Olmsted, Landscape Architect, 1822-1903;

Forty Years of Landscape Architecture; Being

the Professional Papers of Frederick Law

Olmsted, Sr.)


“The Park... has had a very marked effect in making the city attractive to visitors, and in

thus increasing its trade, and causing many who have made fortunes elsewhere to take

up their residence and become tax payers in it... It has also induced many foreigners

who have grown rich in the country, and who would otherwise have gone to Europe to

enjoy their wealth, to settle permanently in the city.”

Frederick Law Olmsted, “Forty Years of Landscape Architecture: Central Park,”

1928, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 172-173.

(Reproduced from Volume 2 of Frederick Law Olmsted, Landscape Architect, 1822-1903; Forty

Years of Landscape Architecture; Being the Professional Papers of Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr.)


Part 5

New York City Revenue Impacts

Central Park also produces revenues for New York City – through taxes and fees generated by

the operations of the Central Park Conservancy and other businesses in the Park – through taxes

generated by visitor spending – and through property and other taxes generated by real estate in the

Central Park area.

Taxes generated by institutions and businesses in Central

Park

The Central Park Conservancy and other institutions and businesses in Central Park generate New

York City taxes directly through their employees’ personal income taxes, sales taxes and business taxes;

and indirectly through tax revenues associated with other economic activity generated through the

multiplier effect.





In fiscal year 2007, Central Park Conservancy paid $279,602 in New York City personal income

taxes on behalf of its employees.

Through the multiplier effect, we estimate that the Central Park Conservancy’s operations

generated another $377,000 in indirect and induced New York City tax revenues.

Based on employment data supplied by concessions and other organizations that operate in the

Park, we estimate that these organizations directly generated $4.2 million in New York City

income, sales, and business taxes.

Through the multiplier effect, we estimate that spending by concessions indirectly generated $1.4

million in additional New York City tax revenues.

As Table 10 shows, we estimate that in fiscal year 2007 the Conservancy, concessions and

organizations operating in the Park directly and indirectly generated $6.22 million in City tax

revenues.

1


2

Direct Indirect/

induced

Total

NYC Taxes

Property tax - $ 305,641 $ 305,641

Sales tax $ 1,462,400 $ 376,255 $ 1,838,655

Personal income tax $ 1,465,779 $ 659,167 $ 2,124,946

Business taxes (incl. GCT) $ 1,538,695 $ 415,469 $ 1,954,163

TOTAL $ 4,466,874 $ 1,756,532 $ 6,223,406

Table 10. Tax revenues generated by the Conservancy and Central Park concessions

Type of fee Revenue

Special events permits $1.1 m

Concessions permits $ 8.7 m

TOTAL $ 9.8 m

Table 11. Special event and concession permits, fiscal year

2007

Fees for event and concession permits

In addition to the tax revenues cited above, the New York City Department

of Parks & Recreation collects fees from concessions that operate in the Park,

and permit fees for events held in the Park. As Table 11 shows, in fiscal year

2007, the City collected $8.7 million in concessions revenues and $1.1 million

in permit fees.

Tax revenues generated by visitor spending

Spending outside Central Park by visitors who come to New York City for

events held in the Park or for other Park-related reasons also generates tax

revenue for the City. We estimate that in fiscal year 2007, visitor spending

directly and indirectly generated $3.8 million in City tax revenues.

Real property and related taxes

The Central Park “premium” on real estate discussed in Part Four also

translates into higher property taxes and taxes on real estate transactions.

Based on data from the New York City Department of Finance on billable

assessed values and tax rates for various property classes (adjusted to take

into account amounts actually billed, as reported by the New York City

Comptroller’s Office), we estimate that taxes due on all taxable real property

in the Central Park area in fiscal year 2007 totaled $3.447 billion – 42.6

percent of all Manhattan property taxes, and 26.3 percent of all property taxes

Citywide.

Based on our previous estimate of the value of the “Park effect” as a share of

the total market value of all property in the Central Park area, we estimate that

the Central Park effect accounts for 15.5 percent of the total value of taxes due

in 2007 on real property in the Central Park area – a total of $535.4 million

dollars. Just as our previous calculation provided a rough estimate of what

proximity to the Park adds to the market value of property in the Central Park


area, this figure – $535.4 million – provides a rough measure of the additional

property tax revenue that New York City derives from the increased property

values attributable to the Park.

The property tax is not, however, the only New York City tax that is affected

by the value of real property.




We do not have data on commercial rent taxes attributable to specific

buildings. However, if we assume for purposes of this analysis that the

geographic distribution of commercial rent tax payments broadly reflects

the distribution of billable assessed values for Manhattan office space,

we can estimate (probably conservatively) that commercial rent taxes

attributable to the Park effect totaled $31.0 million in 2007.

In 2007, the City collected more than $1.72 billion in real property

transfer taxes, of which we estimate (based on the Central Park area’s share

of sales) that $34.0 million was directly attributable to the “Central Park

effect.”

Similarly, we estimate that in 2007 the Central Park effect accounted for

$35.8 million in mortgage recording tax revenues.

Summary of New York City revenues

Taking into account the operations of the Conservancy, Central Park

concessions, visitor spending at businesses outside the Park, the property tax

premium, and other real estate-related tax premiums, we estimate that Central

Park accounted for approximately $656 million in New York City tax and fee

revenues in 2007. This revenue total is, coincidentally, roughly equal to the

total cost of the City’s park system in 2007, including direct costs, overhead

and the Parks Department’s share of debt service costs.

A summary of tax revenues attributable to Central Park is shown in Table 13.

Direct Indirect/

induced

Total

NYC Taxes

Property tax - $ 130,550 $ 130,550

Sales tax $ 1,688,599 $ 160,712 $ 1,849,311

Personal income tax $ 494,012 $ 250,430 $ 744,442

Business taxes (incl. GCT) $ 871,649 $ 177,461 $ 1,049,110

TOTAL $ 3,054,260 $ 719,154 $ 3,773,414

Table 12. Tax revenues generated by visitor spending, 2007

Tax or fee Revenue

($ millions)

Central Park Conservancy direct/indirect $ 0.7

Concessions direct/indirect $ 5.6

Visitor spending direct/indirect $ 3.8

Special event and concession permit fees $ 9.8

Property tax premium $ 535.4

Real property transfer tax premium $ 34.0

Commercial rent tax premium $ 31.0

Mortgage recording tax premium $ 35.8

TOTAL $ 656

Table 13. Summary of Central Park tax and fee revenues, 2007

3


“The Park is so potent a force in the life of the City that its renaissance may yet become

a symbol of New York’s vitality and power of survival through a belief in itself.”

Elizabeth Barlow Rogers, New York Magazine, August 2, 1976, 6.


Conclusion

As this report has documented, Central Park contributes to the strength of New York

City’s economy through its role as a cluster of businesses enterprises – as a venue

for major events and a magnet for visitors from around the world, and a location

for film and television production and commercial photography – as a resource for

the communities the Park serves – by enhancing the value of real estate in the area

surrounding the Park – and by generating hundreds of millions of dollars each year in

revenues for the City.

The economic impact of the Park as an enterprise, as a magnet for visitors, as a venue

for film, TV and photography and as a generator of tax revenues can all be defined in

current-year terms. Based on our analysis, we estimate that:



Spending by Central Park enterprises and visitors to the Park directly and

indirectly accounted for $395 million in economic activity in New York City in

2007; and that

This economic activity, along with the increase in real property values attributable

to proximity to the Park, generated $656 million in tax revenues for the City in

2007.

Yet if there is an overriding conclusion to be drawn from this report, it is that the

real value of Central Park to the people of New York City and to the City’s economy


6

is not something that is fully captured by a snapshot of a single year’s activity.

Central Park as it exists today is the product of 150 years’ investment in the creation,

preservation and continuing improvement of the Park.

Similarly, the area around the Park – the most valuable concentration of residential,

office, retail, hotel and cultural real estate in the U.S. – is the product of 150 years of

investment by property-owners, developers and institutions that recognized the value

of proximity to the Park.

This is not to say that the Park alone determines the value of these properties, or the

location of households, businesses and institutions that occupy them. It means rather

that the creation of Central Park started a process of development and a continuing

series of investment decisions that made the surrounding area what it is today. Each

decision built on those that came before it. The concentration of so much high-value,

high-quality housing makes the Central Park area one of the country’s most desirable

corporate office locations; the concentration of homes and offices, and the presence

of so many cultural institutions make it an especially attractive location for high-end

hotels; and all of these things together help make the Central Park area one of the

world’s premier shopping districts.

But it is likely that none of this would be there today, had it not been for the creation

of the Park 150 years ago. Without the Park, there would be no concentration of

high-priced residential real estate along Fifth Avenue – no Museum Mile – no

concentration of luxury hotels along Central Park South.

This connection between Central Park and the amazing economic ecosystem that

surrounds it is not just a historical artifact. The evidence clearly suggests that the Park

continues to enhance the attractiveness of the surrounding area as a place for living,

working, doing business, visiting, shopping, recreation and cultural activity.


The evidence further suggests that the ongoing process of

renovating, revitalizing and improving Central Park that

started in 1980 with the creation of the Conservancy has

played a central role in the growth of property values in the

Central Park area, in attracting new investment to the area

– and in making the Park itself a more valuable resource for

New Yorkers and a more powerful magnet for visitors.

Central Park’s value to New York’s economy thus reflects not

only the foresight of the New Yorkers who created it 150

years ago, but also the cumulative impact of the Conservancy’s

and the City’s investments since 1980 in the renovation,

revitalization, improvement, maintenance and management of

the Park.

Few investments in New York City, public or private, have in

the past 25 years produced comparable results for the City, its

economy and its people.

Tax or fee Revenue

($ millions)

Central Park Conservancy direct/indirect $ 0.7

Concessions direct/indirect $ 5.6

Visitor spending direct/indirect $ 3.8

Special event and concession permit fees $ 9.8

Property tax premium $ 535.4

Real property transfer tax premium $ 34.0

Commercial rent tax premium $ 31.0

Mortgage recording tax premium $ 35.8

TOTAL

Summary of Central Park tax and fee revenues

$ 656

Direct, indirect and induced

Output ($

millions)

Jobs (FTE)

Conservancy as an enterprise $ 43.5 480

Concessions operations $ 135.5 1,679

Visitor spending $ 80.7 1,005

Film, television and photography $ 135.6 616

TOTAL

Summary of economic impact

$ 395.3 3,780


8

About Appleseed

Appleseed is a New York City-based consulting firm that provides economic analysis and

economic development planning services to government, non-profit and corporate clients.

The firm was founded in 1993 by its President, Hugh O’Neill. Prior to starting Appleseed,

Mr. O’Neill had served as Deputy Secretary for Economic Development under New York

Governors Hugh L. Carey and Mario Cuomo, and as Assistant Executive Director of the

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Appleseed has had extensive and varied experience in economic impact analysis. Our work

has included:

• Analyses of the regional economic impact of several U.S. universities, including Columbia,

Harvard, Brown, Cornell, and Notre Dame;

• For NYC2012, an analysis of the immediate and potential long-term economic benefits

to New York City from hosting the 2012 Olympic Games;


Analyses of the economic impact of a wide range of development projects, large and

small, throughout New York City, from redevelopment of the World Trade Center site to

development of a cruise ship terminal in Red Hook, mixed-use projects in Harlem and

Flushing, and industrial projects in the South Bronx and Sunset Park.

Other Appleseed team members participating in this analysis of Central Park’s value to New

York City’s economy have included Jordan Anderson, Vice President; Cassondra Mehlum,

Senior Consultant; Scott Hong, Senior Consultant; Abby Slovin, Senior Consultant; and

Nishita Dewan, Consultant.

Additional information about Appleseed is available at www.appleseedinc.com.


appleseed

80 Broad Street, 13th Floor

New York, NY 10004

www.appleseedinc.com

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