2. Van Cortlandt Park is Bigger than Central Park
At 1,146 acres, Van Cortlandt Park is the third largest park in New York City, larger than Central Park. The only two parks in the city bigger than Van Cortlandt are Pelham Bay Park, also in the Bronx, and the Greenbelt on Staten Island. When purchased from the Van Cortlandt family, who owned the land since 1691, the pristine landscape was characterized by dramatic ridges, sweeping hills and open meadows. The idea for a park was originally borne out of a concern that the City’s urban expansion was threatening the area’s natural heritage. John Mullally, an influential figure in the community began the New York Parks Association in 1881 to garner support for the initiative to turn the property into a city park.