In 2012, the Waldorf-Astoria built six beehives in a rooftop garden. Twenty stories above Park Avenue, 300,000 bees pollinated flowering apple and cherry trees, and produced jugs of honey. Its flavor depended on the season: in the spring, it was light and minty; come fall, it darkened as bees foraged on aster and goldenrod. This miel de Manhattan made its way into cocktails, bread, and gelato served in the hotel restaurants.
By Alexander Wood
The reign of Beaux-Arts architecture reshaped the landscape of the city at the turn of the century with grand public buildings that projected a new found sense of national power. The architects who embraced this style emphasized classicism, monumentality, and embellishment in their work, and were skilled at adapting historical precedents for modern building types. Following this mission to create civic symbols, Cass Gilbert conceived the custom house as a gateway to the nation. From its triumphal arched entry, and honorific statuary, to the heraldic imagery on its facade, it was expressly designed to evoke a passageway into a walled city. The allusion to a gate reflected a desire to proclaim the identity of the nation to the world, but it also suggested a point of controlled access through a border. It thus offered a suggestive precedent for the headquarters of the most important district of the federal customs service, which served as the guardian of the nation’s chief port of entry.
By Benjamin Serby
The leafy Brooklyn neighborhood of Carroll Gardens is nestled between Degraw Street (or Sackett, depending on your source) to the north and Hamilton Avenue to the south, bounded to the east by either Hoyt or Bond Street (again, answers may vary) and Hicks Street to the west. It’s just a small slice of the borough’s “brownstone belt,” but it packs a wallop, as any pizza enthusiast will tell you. With its deep front lawns, stoop-sitters, and tiny pasticcerias, Carroll Gardens is a unique corner of the city, to be sure — but, in many respects, its past and present tell us much about New York City as a whole.
By Dianne Durante
The only sculpture originally slated for the Park
In Olmsted and Vaux’s Greensward Plan, the only sculpture was one atop the fountain at the center of Bethesda Terrace. The commission for the sculpture was given in 1863 to Emma Stebbins (1815-1882), an American-born sculptor working in Rome who happened to be the sister of a member of the Board of Commissioners of Central Park.
Stebbins’s eight-foot-tall fountain figure is an allegory for the life-saving, clean water of the Croton Aqueduct. According to Scripture (John 5:2-4), at Bethesda, near Jerusalem, an angel occasionally came down to stir the waters of a certain pool. The first person to step into the pool afterwards was cured of anything that ailed him. The main figure of Bethesda Fountain is the Angel of the Waters, about to stir. The four-foot-tall putti below her represent Purity, Health, Temperance, and Peace.
This post is an excerpt from the author's new book, Central Park: The Early Years.
Excerpted from Lincoln and the Irish: The Untold Story of How the Irish Helped Abraham Lincoln Save the Union
with author's permission. Copyright © 2018 Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Copyright © 2017 SUNY Press. Excerpted from Beauty in the City: The Ashcan School with the author's permission. All rights reserved.
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