The lush 843 acres of Central Park will be getting some more green—in the form of a $100 million gift from hedge fund executive John Paulson. Paulson is giving the money to the Central Park Conservancy, the non-profit that that oversees maintenance of the park, through the Paulson Family Foundation. He said, "It’s simply impossible to imagine what New York would be without Central Park."
Mr. Paulson, a lifelong New Yorker, said that as an infant he was pushed around in a baby carriage in the park and that he later remembered going to Bethesda Fountain as a teenager and seeing it covered in graffiti, with no water flowing.
When asked at the news conference what prompted the gift, Mr. Paulson said: “Walking through the park in different seasons, it kept coming back that in my mind Central Park is the most deserving of all of New York’s cultural institutions. And I wanted the amount to make a difference. The park is very large, and its endowment is relatively small.”
The endowment is $144 million, and, according to the Times, " Half of Mr. Paulson’s gift will go to the endowment, while the other half will be used for capital improvements. Mr. Paulson mentioned two that he considered important: Restoring the park’s North Woods, and sprucing up the Merchant’s Gate entrance at the park’s southwest corner, the most heavily used entrance."
Central Park Conservancy CEO Doug Blonsky said, "John is a man who knows a good investment when he sees one. Central Park is fundamental to the economic and cultural health of New York City and the quality of life of its residents."