Welcome to my Blog! Here’s What To Expect…

Welcome to my Blog! I’m very excited to have you on board! Central Park Story is a young adult adventure series whose main character is a sixteen-year-old boy named Christopher Middleton.  It’s also a treasure hunt/romance/historical adventure/fantasy/humorous tale all rolled into one! I put a lot of time researching the backdrop to the series which […]

Olmsted’s Final Commission: The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC

George Washington Vanderbilt, the youngest son of the railroad magnate, Cornelius Vanderbilt, fell in love with the magical mountains of Asheville, North Carolina, on a visit there with his mother, and commissioned Richard Morris Hunt to build a 175,000 square foot home on the banks of the French Broad River (yes, those are three zeros!). […]

Central Park: A Gallery of Images

In the original plan for Central Park (called ‘the Greensward Plan’) Olmsted and Vaux’s desire was that visitors would feel as though they were walking through a gallery of images, not unlike a series of paintings. This was no accident. It ran in tandem to what was already going on in the art world since […]

World Columbian Exposition of 1893: Olmsted’s Last Hurrah

The World’s Columbian Exposition was held in Chicago in 1893 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the New World in 1492. The iconic centerpiece of the fair, the large water pool (to the right), represented the voyage Columbus took to the New World. The Exposition was an influential social and cultural […]

Jervis McEntee–One of the Not-So-Colorful Stars of the Hudson River School

The landscapes of Jervis McEntee are known for their melancholy and poetic mood. The sky is often cloudy, the season autumn with the leaves faded and falling from the trees. “Some people call my landscapes gloomy and disagreeable,” McEntee wrote in his well-kept journal. “They say I paint the sorrowful side of nature…But this is […]

Olmsted’s Personal Life–Not Exactly a Bowl of Cherries by any Stretch of the Imagination

Olmsted’s only brother (and closest friend) John died of tuberculosis in 1857, the same year that Olmsted won the competition to design Central Park. Two years later, on June 13, 1859, Olmsted married Mary Cleveland (Perkins) Olmsted, the widow of his brother. Mary was a practical and simple woman and the decision to marry appeared […]

Are There Really Eight Gates That Meet in Central Park?

Anyone who has read up to books Three and Four of my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, will know that Christopher Middleton, the main character, goes in search of a key that is buried where ‘the eight gates meet’ (something that he reads in his great grandfather’s diary). But are there really eight […]

Is Something Really Buried Under Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park?

The Obelisk, nicknamed Cleopatra’s Needle, is the oldest man-made object in Central Park…by around four thousand years! It is one of a pair that were commissioned for Heliopolis on the banks of the Nile in 1450 BC by an Egyptian pharaoh who wished to celebrate his 30 years of reign. The twin monuments were then […]

Emma Stebbins and the Angel of the Waters Statue in Central Park

The eight-foot bronze statue that stands on top of the fountain in the Bethesda Terrace, also known as the Angel of the Waters, shows a female winged angel walking on water, after which the water cascades into an upper basin and into the surrounding pool. It is a striking and exquisitely beautiful piece of art. […]

Central Park Zoo: a Stroll on the Wild Side

One of the reasons I deliberately avoided mentioning the Central Park Zoo, both in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, and thus far in my blog, is that it wasn’t a part of Olmsted and Vaux’s original design. Like the sculptures in the Mall and the baseball fields scattered throughout the rest of […]

Crime in Central Park…Enough to Make You Think Before Walking In the Park After Dark

Crime in Central Park started out modestly and then spiraled out of control into the 1970s, over a century later. With the establishment of the Conservancy in the early 1980s, however, the crime rate took a sudden and dramatic nosedive, perhaps for the first time ever. I happened to be walking through the Mall toward […]