Early designs for Central Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
When thinking of influential creators of New York City’s most memorable places, it’s hard not to imagine Frederick Law Olmsted near the top of the list. Considered to be the founder of landscape architecture–he was also a writer and conservationist–Olmsted was committed to the restorative effects of natural spaces in the city. Perhaps best known for the wild beauty of Central and Prospect Parks, his vast influence includes scores of projects such as the Biltmore estate, the U.S. Capitol grounds and the Chicago World’s Fair. In preparation for the bicentennial of Olmsted’s 1822 birth, the Library of Congress has made 24,000 documents providing details of Olmsted’s life available online, Smithsonian reports. The collection includes journals, personal correspondence, project proposals and other documents that offer an intimate picture of Olmsted’s private life and work. The collection is linked to an interactive map at Olmsted Online showing all Olmsted projects in the United States (and there are many). You can search the map according to project name, location, job number and project type.
Explore the documents and map
Photo by Tia Richards for 6sqft
Coinciding with the 170th Anniversary of the Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention, members of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony Statue Fund unveiled on Thursday the official design of the first statue of non-fictional women in Central Park. Designed by Meredith Bergmann, the sculpture includes both legible text and a writing scroll that represents the arguments that both women — and their fellow suffragists — fought for. There is also a digital scroll, which will be available online, where visitors are encouraged to join the ongoing conversation. The sculpture of Stanton and Anthony will be dedicated in Central Park on August 18, 2020, marking the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote nationwide.
Learn more about this monumental monument
Via Central Park Conservancy
Central Park’s Lasker pool and ice rink is set to undergo a major makeover, funded collectively by the Central Park Conservancy and the city. As first reported by the Daily News, the pool and rink will close for construction in 2020 for three years. The refurbishment will better connect the North Woods and the Harlem Meer, both currently blocked from one another by the rink.
Get the details
Executive director of Transportation Alternatives Paul Steely White drives a vintage Mustang as the last car in Central Park. Via NYC Parks.
At 7pm last night, the last car to ever drive through Central Park marked all of the park’s loop drives being permanently closed to traffic. Mayor de Blasio first made the announcement in April that after banning cars north of 72nd Street three years ago, the city would now prohibit them south of 72nd. Although vehicles will still be able to travel along the transverses, the new policy frees up a significant amount of space for pedestrians, runners, and bikers. To that end, Transportation Alternatives, a nonprofit advocacy group that has been pushing for the car ban since the ’70s, teamed up with city officials last night to host a celebratory bike ride that trailed the last car to drive through the park.
More info ahead
While visiting the major, most popular attractions of New York City can be fun, it can also be stressful, overwhelming and full of selfie-taking tourists. However, the great thing about the Big Apple is that plenty of other attractions exist that are far less known or even hidden in plain sight. To go beyond the tourist-filled sites and tour the city like you’re seeing it for the very first time, check out 6sqft’s list ahead of the 20 best underground, secret spots in New York City.
More this way
Image: Andrew Batram via Flickr
The Central Park Boathouse restaurant has been spruced up with $2.9 million in renovations and upgrades and is perfect-date-ready just in time for outdoor weather. The New York Post reports that the familiar structure near the park’s Fifth Avenue entrance at East 72nd Street has gotten much needed capital improvements like more seats (185 instead of 160) a new flood-proof tile floor and insulated glass that keeps the lakefront chill out along with a contemporary new look, new colors and lighting and better sightlines of the Central Park West skyline and rowboats gliding by. Even better, there’s more room for customers at the new ADA-compliant bar.
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Photo via Jeffrey Zeldman/Flickr
Last night Mayor de Blasio teased us by tweeting, “We’re making a BIG announcement tomorrow on the future of Central Park. Stay tuned.” This morning he announced, “Central Park goes car-free in June. 24/7, 365 days a year — because parks are for people, not cars.” That is BIG news. After banning cars north of 72nd Street three years ago, the city will now prohibit them south of 72nd.
All the details right this way
Statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims in Central Park. Image: Wikimedia Commons.
New York City’s Public Design Commission voted unanimously Monday in favor of removing a statue of 19th century surgeon J. Marion Sims from its Central Park pedestal, the New York Times reports. It was recommended that the statue of the controversial doctor, who conducted experimental surgeries on female slaves without their consent (and without anesthesia), be removed from its spot at 103rd Street in East Harlem after Mayor Bill de Blasio asked for a review of “symbols of hate” on city property eight months ago. 6sqft previously reported on the request by Manhattan Community Board 11 to remove the East Harlem statue of Sims, who is regarded as the father of modern gynecology. The statue, which will be moved to Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery where the doctor is buried, represents the city’s first decision to make changes to a prominent monument since the review.
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Photo via Wikipedia
To get to Central Park’s Ladies Pavilion, it is necessary to go on, by New York City standards, a bonafide nature hike. Perched at the edge of the Lake, in a far corner of the Ramble, the cottage-like, open-air, Victorian-style structure was built in 1871 to serve as a “shelter for the horsecar passengers” near Columbus Circle, according to the New York Times.
It was once destroyed
Photos via Central Park Conservancy
The Belvedere in Central Park was conceived as a miniature castle by Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the park, in 1869. It opened with some of the best views of the city’s prized green space–the name Belvedere was chosen as it is Italian for “beautiful view.” But the years have taken their toll on the stone structure, which has not been renovated since 1983. Now the Central Park Conservancy will close it to address issues like cracked pavement, a leaky roof, and plumbing issues. Starting this Monday, February 26th, Belvedere Castle will be off-limits to the public for its restoration, and will not reopen until 2019.
More details of the reno