Posts Tagged ‘Scholars Gate’

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.

Where was “Boys Lake” in Central Park?

April 15, 2010

Some areas and structures in Central Park still hang on to their antiquated names, such as Scholar’s Gate (at Fifth Avenue and 60th Street) and the Ladies’ Pavillion (that cute Victorian-era shelter in the center of the park).

But I’d never heard of Boys Lake until I came across this postcard. Looks like it’s where the northernmost tip of the Lake is now. 

The postcard also offers a glimpse of pre-apartment building lined Fifth Avenue as well as Temple Beth-El, a gorgeous, Moorish-looking synogogue that once gleamed on Fifth Avenue at 76th Street.

Built in 1891, it was demolished in the 1940s. An apartment house now occupies the site.