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Official Website of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation

Parks Library

The Parks Library is open for business by appointment only. Students and researchers seeking an appointment should email or call (212) 360-8240.

The Parks Library, located in the historic Arsenal in Central Park (64th Street and Fifth Avenue), is the first public library devoted to urban parks. This research facility appeals primarily to university students and authors with specific interest in New York City Parks.

Pristinely preserved and readily accessible to our users are the Minutes and Annual Reports of the Park Board of Commissioners. From the inception of Central Park in 1856 through 1930, these volumes document the evolution of parks in New York City. Starting before the design competition that discovered Olmsted and Vaux, to the creation of the Bronx Park system, to the advent of playgrounds, and for any park historical information before 1930, this is the place to look.

January 19, 1934 marked the beginning of the Robert Moses dynasty over New York parks. The library houses the complete Moses-era Department of Parks correspondence (on microfilm), as well as dozens of brochures and pamphlets outlining Moses's projects including: parkways, highways, bridges, and tunnels, all in addition to parks reports and information on each New York Worlds Fair.

To augment your primary research on parks, the library also houses a collection of 2,500 books, periodicals, and videos on parks, nature, urban studies, architecture, New York City history, and politics. Whether you want to learn about the history of one of New York City's 1,700 parks, playgrounds, or recreation centers, go to the sources on an episode of Moses history, or understand how the Parks Department operates today, you should be sure to make an appointment to come up to the Parks Library.

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