Posts Tagged ‘Frederick Law Olmstead’

Who named the gates of Central Park?

May 15, 2010

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.

Apartments for rent on Riverside Drive

September 8, 2008

Or “The Drive” as this turn-of-the-last-century newspaper ad calls it. Riverside Drive was designed in the 1870s by Frederick Law Olmstead to run alongside Riverside Park, another Olmstead project.

After the street and park opened, developers built beautiful townhouses and apartment houses, making Riverside Drive one of Manhattan’s most scenic streets . . . which it still is today.

And look at those rents: an 8-room apartment for $1600 a year. Seems small now, but a hundred years ago, that kind of money ensured that Riverside Drive would be within reach of only the wealthiest New Yorkers.