The first uptown site that was considered was Jones's Wood, a popular wooded area that extended from the East River to Third Avenue between 66th and 75th Streets.

Nearby property owners favored its development because they assumed it would encourage people to move uptown and so their property values would increase.

It already attracted private clubs and churches for outings, sporting events, and festivals, and there were bowling alleys, dance halls, and beer saloons, as well as a magnificent entertainment hall.

But many of the area residents did not like the idea of a big park in their neighborhood, and when the city announced its decision to take over some of Jones's Wood, they protested forcefully. The decision was overruled in 1854.

That left an undeveloped section of upper Manhattan above 59th Street. The area was described in the newspapers and by the men who wanted to create a park as a "dreary wasteland." As this photo shows, the area was less densely populated, often rural. The small houses and farmland in this valley were later flooded to create Central Park.