The Central Park Cave and the Mark Twain Cave

Although there is no material connection between the two, the Central Park Cave made me think of Tom Sawyer’s cave in Twain’s famous, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The Mark Twain Cave in Hannibal, Missouri, covers some six and a half miles consisting of four entrances and 260 passages, while the Central Park Cave consists […]

Bergdorf Goodman: Not Your Typical Department Store

Situated at 58th Street and Fifth just opposite Central Park, Bergdorf Goodman is about as iconic a store as you could imagine. Just prior to the purchase of the property by Mr. Goodman, it was the Cornelius Vanderbilt estate, whose massive gate now graces the entrance to the Conservatory Garden at 106th Street. So many […]

Famous Revolutionary War Uniforms

In my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, Christopher Middleton, the main character, introduces some revolutionary ideas into his new school. Picking up on the idea, his clothes-minded girlfriend decides to design a uniform that he can wear. Naturally, she turns to General George Washington for inspiration. As you can see from the picture […]

Mixing Potassium Permanganate and Ethanol…Better Think Twice!

As Christopher Middleton’s chemistry teacher learns in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, it’s probably best not to mix potassium permanganate and ethanol or you might experience the following:   Link to this post!

European Parks vs. Central Park . . . A World Apart!

European parks had their not-so-humble origins as playgrounds for royalty. Olmsted visited many of these parks on his overseas tours and took voluminous notes of what he saw. Much of what he saw he tried to avoid in his design of Central Park. Rather than massive fountains, overbearing statues, and cleverly manicured gardens, he and […]

Olmsted and Vaux’s Three Separate Ways: Their Greatest Innovation

Probably the most influential innovation in the Central Park design was the “separate circulation” system for pedestrians, horseback riders, and carriages along with the sunken traverse roadways that allowed commercial traffic to pass to the other side of the city unnoticed. The overpasses along the traverses allowed visitors to walk from south to north end […]

Emerson’s ‘Nature’ and it’s Subtle Influence on Central Park

“Nature” is an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, published in 1836. In it, Emerson put forth the foundation of Transcendentalism, which suggests that the divine, or God, suffuses nature, and that reality can only be understood by studying nature. Emerson explains that to experience the “wholeness” with nature for which mankind is naturally suited, we […]

Education in America…in Crisis Mode

It is well-known that, ever since the 1950s, American schools have been in crisis mode, falling behind other countries such as Russia and Japan and China in core subjects such as mathematics and science. Congress passed the National Defense of Education Act in 1958, and over the ensuing years, a series of other legislative acts, […]

The Guggenheim Museum…A True Masterpiece of American Architecture

The Guggenheim Museum at 89th Street and Fifth was first conceived as a “temple of the spirit” that would facilitate a new way of looking at modern art. Numerous locations in Manhattan were considered, but Mr. Guggenheim felt that the site’s proximity to Central Park was important. The park afforded relief from the city, while […]

The Cheshire Cat in Central Park: A Head Without a Body

In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice first encounters the Cheshire Cat while visiting the Dutchess’ house, then later outside on the branches of a tree, where it appears and disappears at will. The cat sometimes raises philosophical points. When sentenced to death, it baffles everyone by having made its head appear without its body […]