Oh the torn up ticket stubs
From a hundred thousand mugs
Now washed away with dead dreams in the rain;
And the car-park's going up
And they're pulling down the pubs
And it's just another bloody rainy day
[The Pogues, "White City," 1989]
c. 1300, "wheeled vehicle," from Anglo-French carre, Old North French carre, from Vulgar Latin *carra, related to Latin carrum, carrus (plural carra), originally "two-wheeled Celtic war chariot," from Gaulish karros, a Celtic word (compare Old Irish and Welsh carr "cart, wagon," Breton karr "chariot"), from PIE *krsos, from root *kers- "to run." The Celtic-Latin word also made it into Greek, as karron "wagon with four wheels."
"From 16th to 19th c. chiefly poetic, with associations of dignity, solemnity, or splendour ..." [OED]. Used in U.S. by 1826 of railway freight carriages and of passenger coaches on a railway by 1830; by 1862 of streetcars or tramway cars. The extension to "automobile" is by 1896, but between 1831 to the first decade of 20c. the cars meant "railroad train." Car bomb is attested from 1972, in a Northern Ireland context. The Latin word also is the source of Italian and Spanish carro, French char.
mid-13c., "tract of land enclosed as a preserve for beasts of the chase," from Old French parc "enclosed wood or heath land used as a game preserve" (12c.), probably ultimately from West Germanic *parruk "enclosed tract of land" (source also of Old English pearruc, root of paddock (n.2), Old High German pfarrih "fencing about, enclosure," German pferch "fold for sheep," Dutch park).
Internal evidence suggests the West Germanic word is pre-4c. and originally meant the fencing, not the place enclosed. It is found also in Medieval Latin as parricus "enclosure, park" (8c.), which likely is the direct source of the Old French word, as well as Italian parco, Spanish parque, etc. Some claim the Medieval Latin word as the source of the West Germanic, but the reverse seems more likely. Some later senses in English represent later borrowings from French. OED discounts the notion of a Celtic origin: Welsh parc, Gaelic pairc are from English.
Meaning "enclosed lot in or near a town, set aside and maintained for public recreation" is attested from 1660s, originally in reference to London; the sense evolution is via royal parks in the original, hunting sense being overrun by the growth of London and being opened to the public. It was applied to sporting fields in American English from 1867.
New York's Park Avenue as an adjective meaning "luxurious and fashionable" (1956) was preceded in the same sense by London's Park Lane (1880). As a surname, Parker "keeper of a park" is attested in English from mid-12c. As a vehicle transmission gear, park (n.) is attested from 1949.
1812, "to arrange military vehicles in a park," from park (n.) in a limited sense of "enclosure for guns, wagons, horses, provisions, etc." (attested from 1680s). General non-military meaning "to put (a vehicle) in a certain place" is first recorded 1844. Related: Parked; parking. Park-and-ride is from 1966.