When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux were just about done building Central Park in the early 1860s, there was one more thing to consider: the entrances.
While rich New Yorkers desired grand, ornate gates like in the urban parks in London and Paris, Olmsted and Vaux opted for low sandstone openings—symbolizing an accessible city refuge that would be open to all.
They chose names for the 20 planned entrances that referenced who would use the park, reports an 1864 Harper’s article:
“The first broad generalization will be something like this: Artisan, Artist, Merchant, Scholar. Descending to subdivision of these heads we shall have Cultivator or Agriculturalist, Hunter, Fisherman, Woodman, Minor, Mariner, Warrior, Engineer, Inventor, Explorer.”
Actually almost all did end up as official names, though most weren’t carved into the sandstone entrances until the 1990s.
Women’s Gate is at 72nd Street and Central Park West; Scholars’ Gate at Fifth Avenue and 60th Street. A complete list is here.
Tags: Artists' Gate, building Central Park, Calvert Vaux, central park, Central Park entrances, Frederick Law Olmstead, gates to Central Park, New York in the 1860s, Scholars Gate, Strangers' Gate, Women's Gate