Beautiful New York

A Celebration of the City

The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #11

Andrew Haswell Green (1820 – 1903)


It is fairly well known that the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island were all once independent municipalities, separate from the city of New York. The city planner who masterminded the Great Consolidation of 1898 was Andrew Haswell Green. Before this, he also directly influenced the creation of many of the cities greatest institutions. As head of the Central Park Commission, Green not only was responsible for hiring Vaux and Olmsted to design the park, but also petitioned for the approval of the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art as fixtures to the park with public-private hybrid status. As executor of the Samuel Tilden estate, Green consolidated the Tilden Trust with the Astor and Lenox Libraries to help spearhead the creation of the New York Public Library. He also served as President of the New York Zoological Society which today governs and maintains the city’s five zoos plus the New York Aquarium. Spreading his wings beyond the city to the state level, he served as head of the Niagara Falls Park Commission until his death at age 83, when he was murdered by a jealous husband in a bizarre case of mistaken identity.


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