A century before Summerstage and free shows by Diana Ross and Simon and Garfunkel, Central Park hosted free concerts.
First given in the Ramble, “concerts soon moved to the Mall, where the tradition grew into the 20th century,” states nycgovparks.org.
“At the northern end of the Mall, an elaborate cast-iron bandstand once stood (on the present site of the bust of composer Ludwig von Beethoven). Thousands of people would attend open-air performances. To prevent the landscape from being damaged during musical performances, fences that also provided seating for concertgoers were cleverly designed by Calvert Vaux.”
The men in these crowds look like sitting ducks for the Straw Hat Riot instigators!