NYC celebrates Frederick Law Olmsted’s bicentennial birthday with a month of parks programs

Posted On Fri, April 8, 2022 By

Posted On Fri, April 8, 2022 By In Events, Green Design, History, Urban Design

All images courtesy of Daniel Avila / NYC Parks

Throughout April, the city’s parks will celebrate the 200th birthday of Frederick Law Olmsted, the landscape architect whose visionary work on Central Park, Prospect Park, and many other public parks helped influence the future of urban green space design. The Parks Department will be teaching New Yorkers about Olmsted’s influence on urban design with an exhibition at the Arsenal Gallery, tours led by the Urban Park Rangers, and much more.

On view through June 2, Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery will be hosting “Parks Now: Honoring the Olmsted Legacy,” an exhibition that highlights projects of Olmsted’s throughout each borough with renderings, photos, site plans, and other artifacts. Sites depicted in the exhibition include:

  • Bronx: Hugh Grant Circle/Virginia Park, Concrete Plant Park
  • Brooklyn: Lincoln Terrace Playground, Sunset Park Playground
  • Manhattan: Monsignor Kett Playground, Central Park’s Harlem Meer Center (formerly Lasker Rink and Pool)
  • Queens: Elmhurst Park, Bayswater Park
  • Staten Island: Faber Park, Richmond Terrace

“Frederick Law Olmsted was the visionary force behind some of New York City’s most beloved and iconic parks. He believed that parks are essential, and our landscape architects continue to find inspiration in his ideas about urban greenspace design,” Sue Donoghue, NYC Parks Commissioner, said.

From April 23 to 30, the Urban Park Rangers are hosting a number of guided tours throughout a selection of Olmsted’s most famous parks in NYC. The tours include:

  • Bronx: Walk With Olmsted in Van Cortlandt Park, April 26 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • Brooklyn: Prospect Park Super Hike, April 30 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Manhattan: Heart of Central Park Hike, April 23 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
  • Queens: Forest Park Hike, April 23 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Staten Island: Silver Lake Park DesignApril 30 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

More information on the walking tours can be found on the Park’s website.

On April 12 from 12:30 pm. to 1:15 p.m., the Prospect Park Alliance and Turnstile Tours are hosting a virtual tour of Central Park and Prospect Park, two of Olmsted’s most iconic creations. Tour guides will point out notable aspects of each park’s architecture, landscape, and natural features, comparing the similarities and differences in features between the two areas and how some highlights of each park have been better adapted for the modern-day. In-person tours will be held on April 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and on April 24 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 and advanced registration is required.

On April 23 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., the Alliance will host ‘B’Earthday Bash’ in celebration of Earth Day, Olmsted’s 200th birthday, the birthday of naturalist James Audubon, and the 20th anniversary of Prospect Park’s Audubon Center. Guests of all ages will be able to participate in fun activities that celebrate the influence of Prospect Park’s design.

On May 28 from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., the Prospect Park Alliance and American Wild Ensemble will be hosting Lungs of the City: Olmsted’s Parks in Music, a program consisting of chamber music that commemorates Olmsted’s bicentennial. American Wild Ensemble will perform eight newly-composed works co-curated and co-commissioned with Juventas New Music Ensemble, Landscape Music, and the Michigan Technological University Department of Visual and Performing Arts.


All images courtesy of Daniel Avila / NYC Parks

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