Bow Bridge: A Symphony in Stone

Bow Bridge, named for its graceful shape, is reminiscent of the bow of an archer or violinist. This handsomely designed bridge spans the Ramble Lake, linking Cherry Hill with the woodlands beyond. When the park was in its initial planning stages, the commissioners requested a suspension bridge (yikes!). Calvert Vaux, the designer of the 36 […]

Baseball in Central Park–a Real Home Run for the Game

It was sometimes difficult for nineteenth century baseball players to enjoy their newfangled game in Central Park due to competition from cricket players, but by the 1930s, when recreation became a top priority of the Parks Commission, the game was finally embraced. In 1934, it was formally announced that the informal playing fields in Central […]

Summerstage, New York Marathon, Rock Concerts, Shakespeare–How Much More Can You Fit Into a City Park?

How many different free cultural activities can you fit inside a city park? If you want to know the answer, you needn’t look any further than Central Park in Manhattan. First, you have all of the free performing arts festivals such as Central Park Summerstage and the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival, which take place every […]

Boss Tweed and the Unwinding of Central Park…What a Mess!

Though the majority of the construction of Central Park was completed during the time that ‘Boss’ Tweed was in control of the city government, few people did more damage to it in such a short period of time. He handed out thousand of unnecessary jobs in park maintenance in return for political favors, resulting in […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]