Central Park

Central Park Sledding, 1935

Central Park Sledding, 1935

In this black and white photograph, taken in the winter of 1935, we see Central Park from about West 72nd Street, transformed into a Winter Wonderland, with kids sledding and skaters on the sailboat pond.

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Fifth Avenue and East 65th Street, c. 1902

Fifth Avenue and East 65th Street, 1902

Looking North along Fifth Avenue from just south of East 65th Street, we see two horse carts pass in front of 840 Fifth Avenue, the Astor Mansion.  Designed in 1893 by architect Richard Morris Hunt to be the twin residences of John Jacob Astor and his family and his mother, Caroline Astor. After the elder Mrs. Astor died in 1907, John Jacob had the house renovated into single residence, making it one of the largest mansions in Gilded Age New York.

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Belvedere Castle, Central Park, 1905

Belvedere Castle, Central Park, 1905

Belvedere Castle was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1869 as a Victorian "folly," a whimsical structure having no practical function. It has since acquired the practical function of housing meteorological equipment for the National Weather Service. Its turret is the highest point in Central Park with views of (at the time of this photo) the Reservoir to the north and the Ramble to the south.

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Bicycle Parade in Central Park, 1895

Bicycle Parade in Central Park, 1895

Central Park and Bicycles have a long history together, coming into existence in roughly the same era. In this late Nineteenth Century photograph, you see an early bicycle club, composed mostly of young men, pedalling their way along the unpaved roads of Central Park.

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Aerial Overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Croton Reservoir, 1929

Aerial Overview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Croton Reservoir, 1929

This aerial photograph, taken in the late 1920s, offers a view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lower Reservoir in Central Park, and the skyline of Central Park West. The Lower Reservoir was drained in 1930, having become redundant some years before, and was filled in to create the Great Lawn. During the early years of the Depression, the site became a Hooverville, until Robert Moses ushered the project along in the mid-1930s.

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The San Remo Apartments, seen from Central Park, 1932

The San Remo Apartments, seen from Central Park, 1932

The San Remo Apartment building, with its twin tower construction, epitomizes Upper West Side luxury. Construction began in 1929 and completed shortly before this photograph was taken in 1932. Many of the larger apartments had to be subdivided during the Great Depression to make them more affordable to renters. Since then, the New York real estate market has changed dramatically, and now the San Remo is amongst the most expensive locations in Manhattan, housing many wealthy business tycoons and celebrities.

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Skaters on the Lake in Central Park, circa 1890

Skaters on the Lake in Central Park, circa 1890
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The Photographer on Bow Bridge, 1875

The Photographer on Bow Bridge, 1875

In this 1875 photograph, the photographer himself is the subject. He stands on Bow Bridge in Central Park above a placid lake, which reflect both him and the bridge. The leaves on the trees are sparse, indicating that this could be late fall or early spring. The image almost has an Impressionistic quality, as if the photographer were trying to mimic the work of Monet.

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Central Park near East 62nd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1940

Central Park near East 62nd Street and Fifth Avenue, 1940

It's a beautiful summer day in 1940, and from where you stand in Central Park, you can see two of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Sherry Netherland and the Plaza. The Plaza is perhaps the better known of the two, but sadly will eventually become a luxurious residence. The Sherry Netherland, however, will remain the pinnacle of New York City luxury for some time to come.

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