As does “John Paulson’s Central Park.” Or simply: “Paulson Park.” Or, at the very least, some kind of life-size bronze statue, possibly inspired by his most famous photo-shoot. He’d never explicitly ask for it, so let’s make something happen. 1) Because he’s been really quite generous and 2) This year’s been tough. We all need our pick-me-ups.
At a news conference at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park on Tuesday morning, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Central Park Conservancy announced that John A. Paulson, the hedge fund billionaire, along with the Paulson Family Foundation were giving $100 million to the Central Park Conservancy. It is believed to be the largest gift ever to a public park, more than doubling the $40 million given this year to build a cycling track in Brooklyn Bridge 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 park’s current endowment stands at $144 million. 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.