Paulson Gives $100 Million To New York's Central Park

Oct 23 2012 | 1:22pm ET

John Paulson may have hit on hard times—but not that hard.

The Paulson & Co. founder has enough left in the bank to scratch up $100 million for the Central Park Conservancy, by far the largest ever gift to a public park. The donation was announced this morning at a news conference by Mayor Michael Bloomberg at Central Park's iconic Bethesda Terrace.

"Walking through the park in different seasons, it kept coming back that in my mind Central Park is the most deserving of all of New York's cultural institutions," Paulson, who lives just a few doors from the park on East 86th Street, said. "And I wanted the amount to make a difference. The park is very large, and its endowment is relatively small."

Paulson's gift will increase that endowment by more than one-third, to almost $200 million. Half of the donation will be used for capital improvements.

Paulson, who was born in Queens and said he remembers coming to a dilapidated park as a teenager, said in particular he'd like to see the park's North Woods restored and its most-heavily used entrance, at Columbus Circle, improved.

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