Posts Tagged ‘Central Park sheep’

The sheep pen turned restaurant in Central Park

January 30, 2014

From 1934 to 2010, Tavern on the Green was the kind of touristy New York restaurant that a lot of city residents shunned.


But the place had surprising roots in post–Civil War New York.

The gabled Victorian building where diners once feasted and danced (in the 1950s, at least, according to the back of this postcard) was constructed as sheepfold for a flock of sheep that grazed, yep, today’s Sheep Meadow.


Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the park’s designers, created a pastoral landscape—and 200 or so sheep hanging around and keeping the grass clipped certainly gave the park the feel of a retreat from urban life.

In 1934, the sheep got the boot by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, who had other ideas about how Central Park should serve the city.


Plus, on a more gruesome note, apparently there were fears that the hungry, desperate men who built a Depression-era Hooverville in the park would kill and eat the flock!

[Bottom photo: sheep grazing and cutting the lawn, about 1910]

The farm animals of New York

July 25, 2008

Since the early days of Central Park, sheep grazed in—where else—the Sheep Meadow. Lazing around munching grass all day in New York City? Not a bad way to pass the time.

Too bad the flock was kicked out and relocated to Prospect Park in 1934, where they joined a different flock of sheep that had been grazing Long Meadow since at least 1922, when park commissioner John Harmon brought them in.

Sheep weren’t the only hoofed creatures snacking on New York City. This undated photo shows cows chilling out in Inwood. Hard to believe Manhattan was once so pastoral.