The Central Park Arsenal, designed to resemble a medieval castle, has been used for just about everything. It has been a munitions depot, a police precinct, a museum (that would later turn into the Natural History Museum), a weather bureau, a zoo, and an art gallery.
Constructed in 1851 as a munitions depot for New York State's national guard, it is the second oldest building in the park. And located at 64th and Fifth Avenue, it was considered to be at an ideal position to deploy troops to the city or to either coastline.
The Building was taken over by the famous Robert Moses in 1934 as his command center and currently remains as the office of the parks commissioner.
I got a chance to tour of the building as part of the last Open House New York. The building has clearly been recently restored, as everything was a little too clean and pristine for my historical tastes. Swords, Cannonballs and Muskets line the entrance to the building, and the entryway is filled with large and ancient murals of troops in military formation and Central Park life in the 19th century.
The interior is more cramped than I had imagined, but it holds a treasure trove of historical memorabilia, including old statues, maps, paintings, an old weather vane and an old merry-go-round horse. But the crown jewel of the collection is the Greensward Plan, the original blueprint for Central Park that was created by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
The roof of the arsenal holds a tiny garden and chairs and tables for workers to relax on. The views here overlook the Central Park Zoo, right at the treeline of the park and are simply amazing.
Entrance to the Arsenal
Entryway murals painted by Allan Saalburg
The Greensward Plan, with each individual type of tree chosen and numbered
View from the main conference room
The Central Park Zoo and the view from the rooftop
In my quest to give you a photo of something related to Judaism for Passover, here is a random Hasidic man walking down 5th Avenue.
I always thought there were some racial undertones to this image. The black man, dressed in all black, sitting before the white mannequin, dressed in all white, as he cleaned her space. With the harsh red representing the conflict.
This is an old wedding photo I found of one of my relatives, taken probably around 1960. Such a gorgeous photo and spectacular dresses. My mother is the young girl on the left.
I really need to make this blog bigger so that I can put in larger photos. One of these days...
This was taken from one of the coves that you can sneak into and away from the other boats to relax and have lunch.
At 11:30, there weren't too many boats around, but by the time we left at 1:30, there was a long line to get in a boat and Bethesda Terrace was absolutely packed with people. I guess that's what you get on the first nice Saturday of the year.
Above: Crowded Bethesda Terrace
Above: Under Bow Bridge
Above: Getting Engaged
We saw at least 2 or 3 engagements in the couple of hours we were there.
To celebrate the first (and an unusually warm) day of spring, I decided to surprise Sara by taking her row boating in Central Park.
Row boating in the park is one of those things that you see people do and think "that would be fun", but never actually do. At least that's how I was until yesterday.
In reality, it's a very affordable $12 an hour and the lake is extremely large, with a couple of bridges and numerous coves. Just make sure to get there at 11:30 to avoid a line.
Anyway, I'm headed to watch Wisconsin dispense of Cornell in the NCAA tourny, so I'll post a lot more of the photos tomorrow. There are a couple of very funny ones.
Above: Sara smiling at how wonderful and attentive her boyfriend is.