Leased for 1 pepper corn a year

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A ‘manicured lawn bowling court` created by the Common Council and funded by Peter Jay, John Chambers and Peter Bayard was the 1st park in New York, landmarked in 1970. The land had been under city control since 1686, but in 1733, the Common Council leased a portion of the parade grounds to three prominent neighboring landlords - John Chambers, Peter Bayard, and Peter Jay, for one peppercorn a year, who were tasked with maintaining and improving the land for the - upon their promise to create a park that would be for the "Recreation and delight of the Inhabitants of the City" and add to its "Beauty and Ornament"; the improvements were to include a "bowling green" with "walks therein". The surrounding streets were not paved with cobblestones until 1744.In 1819, the park underwent a private transition similar to today's Gramercy Park, where wealthy residents bordering Bowling Green could plant trees and accept responsibility for the park in exchange for exclusive access to the park grounds. This was changed by the mid-1800s and the public was again able to use the park. The park has changed greatly over the years and through multiple renovations, but one piece of original iron fencing from 1771 remains at the southwest corner of the park and was designated a New York landmark in 1964.

Documented, Mar 12, 1733

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