NYC to bring sheep back to Central Park Sheep Meadow
The Sheep Meadow in Central Park is best known now as a place to bring a book and a blanket, or throw around a frisbee, but there was a time when sheep did in fact graze there, giving the meadow its name. Although today the Park’s largest lawn features sunbathers, it was originally the home to a flock of sheep from 1864 until 1934. The sheep and shepherd were housed in a Victorian building that later became the Tavern on the Green in 1934.
Now comes word that the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation has tentatively approved a plan to convert the Sheep Meadow back into, well, a sheep meadow! Working with the Central Park Zoo, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the American Dairy Council and in collaboration with several upstate sheep dairies, the plan calls for the Sheep Meadow to be used for sheep grazing twice a day, from 5-7AM and from 4-6PM every day, starting May 1st and ending October 1st. The meadow will be closed to public use during this time to protect the sheep, and will be patrolled by a staff of apprentice shepherds working with herding dogs. In addition, a half-mile stretch of the central park loop will be closed to cars, pedestrians and cyclists for 30 minutes, twice a day, to allow for the sheep to be herded back to their barn.