Central Park, the first public park built in America, attracts over 25 million visitors each year. Within its 843 acres, the Park contains 50 fountains, monuments and sculptures, 36 bridges and arches and more than 9,000 benches.
In 1986, the Central Park Conservancy devised an innovative way to raise the money required to maintain the benches. The program, called Adopt-A-Bench, provides donors with a small touch of immortality via engraved plaques affixed to benches.
The donor selects both the inscription and the bench on which it will be placed, and the Conservancy promises to care for the bench and surrounding plantings for the life of the Park. Most benches can be adopted for $7,500, but hand-made rustic benches in select locations can be adopted for $25,000.
To date about 2,000 benches have been adopted, and their plaques commemorate the joyous, humorous, tragic, puzzling, poignant and mundane moments that occur every day in this great park.