John Paulson, a hedge fund manager nicknamed “the sultan of subprime,” made billions betting that people would default on their mortgages in 2007. Yesterday, he and his family’s foundation pledged $100 million to help ensure New York’s Central Park stays on firm financial footing. The gift to the Central Park Conservancy “is believed to be the largest gift ever given to a public park,” writes Lisa Foderaro in the New York Times. And yet in some ways, it may also be the most humble: nothing in the park will be named after Paulson.
This is particularly refreshing considering another story that has made news in recent weeks. Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park, which was designed by Louis Kahn nearly four decades ago, opened today amidst considerable controversy. At the focal point of the four-acre park, right near the bust of Roosevelt himself, there will be an inscription honoring Vera and Samuel Rubin, care of their son, Reed Rubin, and the Reed Foundation, which gave $2.9 million toward the $53 million project.