It took a special kind of mind to design the Central Park Entire app. That mind belongs to artist Ken Chaya, an obsessive who, working with tree expert Edward Sibley Barnard, has identified nearly 20,000(!) trees in Central Park.
The fruit of their labor can be found in an amazing smartphone app called Central Park Entire.
Central Park Entire ID’s an Elm
How it works: Go anywhere on the 843 acres, open the app and press “Find Me.” The map zeros in on your location. (That alone is worth the $2.99 charge.)
But here’s the magic: See a tree to your right? Press the tree outline on the screen and up pops the tree’s ID.
So we’re entering the park just north of E. 69th Street and there on the right is this enormous tree. We have no idea what it is. Touch the tree outline on the screen. It’s an Elm.
Do I want every tree? Of course, but I’m crazy. You can’t have every tree. There’s great hubris in wanting every tree. But we got the big ones, we have the important ones.
They have 20,000 ones.
There’s more, there’s more. The app has a “Find It” button, whereby you can access a list of features in the park — Glen Span Arch, The Loch, Great Hill, the monument to Alexander von Humbolt and so on — plus various services. Need a restroom? The app will tell you where to go.
Finding food and shade at the zoo
Hungry? There’s a list of eateries. And as one would expect from a fanatically detailed guide, clicking the name offers a description of the facility, hours of operation and available seating.
We are told, for example, that the Dancing Crane Café, off E. 63rd Street in the zoo, is open year-round, with indoor and outdoor seating. And while there, ask the app to ID the tree giving you shade. It may very well be a Honeylocust (Gleditsia triacanthos).
Something you ought to know. Chaya and Barnard undertook the mapping project without a penny from the Central Park Conservancy. They furthermore spent $40,000 of their own money on the project. So go plunk down the $2.99 for the app. That’s Central Park Entire.
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