The land for New York City's Central Park cost $5 million when it was appropriated by the state legislature in 1853 and cleared of about 1,600 impoverished residents.
The park itself was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead in 1857, and it's construction continued uninterrupted during the Civil War.
By the time the park was completed, more than a million carts of rock had been removed, and more than 18,000 cubic yards of good soil from New Jersey had been imported into which more than four million trees, shrubs and plants, representing 1,500 species, were transplanted.
Today, New York City's Central Park is the most visited urban park in the world. Despite the fact that the park is only 840 acres (640 acres is a square mile), it houses a pretty impressive breadth of species from raccoon and fox to turtles, hawks, eagles, owls, possums, falcons, fish, turtles, bats, rabbits, groundhogs, and squirrels, as well as many kinds of resident and transient song birds, ducks, and geese. Coyotes even turn up every once in a while!