March/April 1999, p.11

Cars Have Had Their Century in Central Park

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the introduction of cars to Central Park's loop drive. On November 13, 1899, Parks Commissioner George C. Clausen presented R.A.C. Smith with the first official permit allowing a motorist on the drive, which was reserved exclusively for touring carriages, equestrians, bicyclists and walkers. The idea was that Smith and other motorists would use the drive strictly for "recreation." Obviously, this understanding didn't last long.

T.A.'s Auto-Free Central Park Campaign is now debating how to observe this tragic milestone, a potential opportunity to galvanize support for the newly rejuvenated campaign. The working plan is to hold some sort of observance in the park this summer, but the details are still to be worked out. Your ideas and assistance are welcome. Reach the Auto-Free Central Park Campaign at (212) 787-PARK or e-mail to help out. For more history on the park, check the web at

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