From centralpark.org: Central Park was the first landscaped public park in the United States. Advocates of creating the park--primarily wealthy merchants and landowners--admired the public grounds of London and Paris and urged that New York needed a comparable facility to establish its international reputation.
A public park, they argued, would offer their own families an attractive setting for carriage rides and provide working-class New Yorkers with a healthy alternative to the saloon. (This is still true.)
the day could not have been more lovely, as shown above: beautiful blue skies over boaters on the lake, on the west side of the park.