Posts Tagged ‘Central Park 1900’

Listening to the orchestra play in Central Park

November 9, 2015

A century before Summerstage and free shows by Diana Ross and Simon and Garfunkel, Central Park hosted free concerts.

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First given in the Ramble, “concerts soon moved to the Mall, where the tradition grew into the 20th century,” states nycgovparks.org.

“At the northern end of the Mall, an elaborate cast-iron bandstand once stood (on the present site of the bust of composer Ludwig von Beethoven). Thousands of people would attend open-air performances. To prevent the landscape from being damaged during musical performances, fences that also provided seating for concertgoers were cleverly designed by Calvert Vaux.”

The men in these crowds look like sitting ducks for the Straw Hat Riot instigators!

The Mall: the only straight path in Central Park

March 16, 2015

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux set out to recreate nature when they designed Central Park, laying out windy paths and serpentine walkways that would follow the woods and pastoral settings they had planned.

But they did allow one formal concession, the only intentional straight line in the park: a quarter-mile “promenade,” as they called it in the 1850s, where New Yorkers could mingle.

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The Mall was “specially designed to accommodate the width of carriages passing through its bounds,” explains centralpark.com.

“Around the turn of the century, these carriages would drop off their wealthy inhabitants at the Mall’s starting point, where they could enjoy the natural scenery and mingle with people of lesser status. When these visitors finally reached the Bethesda Terrace, their carriages would be waiting to bring them to their next destination.”

And for the little ones, goat and donkey cart rides!

What happened to Central Park’s Swan Bridge?

November 7, 2011

This vintage postcard, stamped July 1928, shows off a really breathtaking part of Central Park, with boaters and swans on the lake and people sitting along benches.

But wait, isn’t that Bow Bridge—the one the postcard calls Swan Bridge? As far as I can tell, there’s never been a Swan Bridge or Swan Island in the park.

Bow Bridge was always the name for the 60-foot cast-iron bridge that gets its moniker from its gentle bow shape, reminiscent of the bow of an archer or violinist, explains centralparknyc.org.

The monuments of Columbus Circle

August 16, 2010

There’s no traffic at all in this postcard view of Columbus Circle looking toward Central Park, which makes it easier to see the Christopher Columbus statue, built in 1892 as part of the city’s commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus sailing to America.

The Maine monument is in the middle of the postcard. Unveiled in 1913, it honors the 262 seaman who died when the battleship Maine mysteriously sank in 1898 off Havana.

Interestingly, the statue was the winning design in a contest co-chaired by none other than William Randolph Hearst.