Archive for the ‘Central Park Story – Book Four’ Category:

Famous Revolutionary War Uniforms

georgewashingtonuniform

General Washington’s uniform. Size 60 long perhaps?

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 on the right, Washington’s uniform is a far cry from the uniforms of revolutionaries like Lenin or Mao!

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:

 

The Guggenheim Museum…A True Masterpiece of American Architecture

Guggenheim Museum

The curvilinear form of the museum stands in stark contrast to the surrounding buildings.

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 building itself embodies architect, Frank Lloyd Wright’s, desire “to render the inherent plasticity of organic forms in architecture.”

In an equally subtle manner, this masterpiece of architecture embodies the same principle Olmsted himself espoused in the construction of his beloved park; that nature rules supreme.

Guggenheim Museum

…while it’s interior is reminiscent of the inside of a nautilus shell.

I attempt to echo these same sentiments in the thoughts and actions of Christopher Middleton, the protagonist of my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, who uses nature as a catalyst for change in his own life.

The Seven of Spades…Lucky or Not?

The-Playing-Cards-Painting-The-Rose-Bush,-Illustration-From-Alice-In-Wonderland-By-Lewis-Carroll-1832-9

The Spades in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland discussing how to paint the white roses red.

In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Alice first meets three cards (the 2, 5 and 7 of Spades) in the Queen’s garden.
One of them explains that they accidentally planted white roses. Because the queen hates white roses they have to paint them red or the Queen will behead them. After the Queen arrives, she finds white roses and orders the execution of all three of them!
In my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, I take a gentler approach by having the seven of spades appear in the Queen’s losing hand against the King, only to be vindicated and return to the Queen’s favor.

The Mayflower Compact: The First Truly Democratic Document in America

mayflower-compact

Though the original has been lost, this copy, written a few years later, still exists.

.The Mayflower Compact was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. It was written by separatist Congregationalists (later referred to as Pilgrims) fleeing from religious persecution by King James of England.

It was signed aboard ship on November 11, 1620 by 41 adult male Pilgrims (out of 101 men, women and children on board).

It reads in part as follows:

In the name of God, Amen. We, whose names are underwritten, the loyal subjects of our dread Sovereign Lord King James, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, King, defender of the Faith, etc.

Having undertaken, for the Glory of God, and advancements of the Christian faith and honor of our King and Country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia, do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God, and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politic; for our better ordering, and preservation and furtherance of the ends aforesaid; and by virtue hereof to enact, constitute, and frame, such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices, from time to time, as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony; unto which we promise all due submission and obedience.

I have included a reference to this in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, both in recognition of its importance as the first democratic document written in America (by a non-native, that is) and to point out the inherent flaws in the democratic institution that it professes to embody.

 

Olmsted and the Creation of a City Identity

Frederick Law Olmsted

Olmsted may have had numerous occupations but the driving force behind them all was his love and respect for Nature

In 1849, Frederick Law Olmsted became secretary of an organization of farmers on Staten Island called the Richmond County Agricultural Society, and wrote the following:

“We ask you, then, Fellow Citizens, one and all, to associate in this Society. We entreat you to support it. We believe it will increase the profit of our labor–enhance the value of our lands–throw a garment of beauty around our homes, and above all, and before all, materially promote Moral and Intellectual Improvement–instructing us in the language of Nature, from whose preaching, while we pursue our grateful labors, we shall learn to receive her Fruits as the bounty, and her Beauty as the manifestation of her Creator.”

If you forget that this was written during his tenure on Staten Island as a farmer, and re-read it with his work on Central Park in mind, you can catch a glimpse of the philosophical undercurrent that informed Olmsted throughout his life: he knew that the only way a community, be it a farm or a city like New York, could thrive was to bring the beauty of Nature that is outside of its confines back into its heart for everyone to enjoy.

Such a philosophical undercurrent ran through all of Olmsted’s projects, from Central Park in New York to the preservation of Yosemite Valley in California, and in that sense became his manifesto.

I have tried to bring out this same underlying principle in my young adult adventure series, Central Park Story, when Christopher attempts to establish a community of his own.