The North Meadow: The ‘Great Midwest’ of Central Park

North Meadow

Olmsted and Vaux sought to create an unlimited vista in their design of the North Meadow

Before the advent of baseball, the North Meadow in Central Park was an unbroken vista intended to give a sense of infinite space and relief from the cramped spaces of the city.

In order to enhance the illusion of unbounded space, Olmsted and Vaux used a visual trick. They created a slight bottleneck in the middle of the meadow so the viewer would then see one vista opening into another.

By coincidence or intent, their design formed a figure eight, the mathematical symbol of infinity.

Christopher Middleton also heads to the North Meadow to escape the confines of the city and stare at the endless line of clouds passing overhead in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story.

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