8. You Can Adopt a Bench and Write Whatever You Want on It
Of Central Park’s more than 9,000 benches, nearly half of them have been adopted and emblazoned with a personalized plaque. The adopt-a-bench program was established in 1986 to help fund the care and maintenance of the park’s landscape and benches. Any person or group can adopt a bench for the price of $10,000. Donors get to choose the location of the bench they want to adopt, though many areas are sold out, and add a 120 character inscription.
From marriage proposals and simple memorials to witty quotes and inside jokes, donors can write virtually anything on the plaque (though the Central Park Conservancy can deny inscriptions it deems inappropriate). Plaques can be customized with four different typefaces and different sized fonts. The New York Times ran a piece in 2016 highlighting some of the most unique bench inscriptions like the mysterious “We Would Make the Same Mistake All Over Again! Vic & Nancy Schiller. Still Best Friends,” and “Two Red Foxes and a Pup,” a plaque that would make sense only to the members of the May family. If you’re not into benches, you can also endow a tree which comes with an engraved paving stone at the southern end of Literary Walk.