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Grand Army Plaza, at the corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue in 1927, with the Sherry-Netherland and Savoy-Plaza Hotels. (Photo: Museum of the City of New York/Corbis)

In 1916 Grand Army Plaza opened at the southeast corner of Central Park, designed by Carrère & Hastings as a grand outdoor room in the manner of a French garden — New York’s version of the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

Designated a landmark in 1974 and considered by many to be one of the most formal public spaces in the city, the plaza has nonetheless fallen into disrepair — its bluestone surface cracked, the gilded statue of Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman eroded.

Now the Central Park Conservancy is proposing a $2 million restoration of the plaza’s trees and pavement. The work planned is what that nonprofit organization says it can afford, having raised $1.5 million.

But preservationists and others say the plan does not go far enough, and that the plaza should undergo a complete overhaul that restores historical details like the original lights, benches, balustrades and columns, which have been changed or removed over the years.

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Robin Pogrebin
New York Times

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