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Great LawnThe Highlights
One of the world’s most famous lawns, this 55-acre area is the geographical center of the Park.
The Great Lawn was not always the Great Lawn! From 1842-1931, it was a reservoir, part of the Croton Aqueduct system that first brought fresh water to New York City. When the reservoir was decommissioned in 1931, the site was filled with excavation material from Rockefeller Center and the Eighth Avenue subway. A lush oval lawn opened on the site in 1937 with baseball diamonds added in the 1950s. Throughout the years, the Great Lawn has played host to many memorable performances including: the 1980 Elton John concert which drew 300,000 attendees, the 1981 Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert more than 500,000, and the 1982 Anti-Nuclear Rally nearly 750,000. Diana Ross performed two concerts there in 1983: the first drew 800,000 and the second 400,000 fans. Other concerts have featured such acts as Plácido Domingo, Garth Brooks, and the Dave Matthews Band. Additionally, annual concerts by the Metropolitan Opera and the New York Philharmonic have become cultural fixtures. In 1995, Pope John Paul II held open-air mass for 125,000 on the Great Lawn.Each winter, the Great Lawn closes for the season. This allows the turf crew to provide much-needed care for the landscape, ensuring that it will be ready for the influx of visitors come spring.