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Thread: Central Park turns 150

  1. #61

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    Fill in all but a small portion of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. It's not much of an asset as it is.

  2. #62
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Whaaaaaaa ??? ^^

    Big asset for the birds

  3. #63

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    There's still Harlem Meer and several other lakes, all of which have much better shorelines for birds.

  4. #64

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    Whoa! Can't do that, ablarc.

    The Reservoir is on standby, but still part of the city water supply. In one of the stages of a drought emergency, I think just before the Chelsea Pumping Station draws water out of the Hudson, it is brought back into service.

    At present, the Reservoir water is used to maintain water levels in the Pool, Meer, etc.

    If you run on the Reservoir track, you know how much the water cools the surrounding area.

  5. #65

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    Sure, and those fairly modest functions can probably be taken up by newly-built facilities elsewhere outside the city. It would take money and the will, but what doesn't?

  6. #66

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    As per a 1997 agreement, the city is already expanding water supply facilities upstate. Removing the Reservoir, which is probably the easiest water source to control, would needlessly take a billion gallons out of the system. A waste of money.

    I don't know how you would cool the park from outside the city.

  7. #67

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    Well, just a suggestion for how to have both a lawn and a gathering place for half-a-million...

    Everyone's got their priorities. Some folks want their lawn, some want their gatherings, some want their park cooler by a degree or two, some want lower taxes, on and on...

    Can't please everybody.

  8. #68
    Disgruntled Optimist lofter1's Avatar
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    Default Heckscher Playground Re-Opened

    The renovated Heckscher Playground has re-opened and it's beauty ...

    New benches, great rubberized asphalt around the play areas and under the climbing structures, huge sand pit with new swings, and other great amenities.

    Some of he plantings around the perimeter as well as the pergola have yet to be finished.

    Should be a fun summer!

  9. #69

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    May 7, 2006
    Op-Ed Contributor
    Close the Loop
    By KENNETH M. COUGHLIN

    THIS Tuesday, the New York City Council has scheduled a hearing on proposed legislation that would end motor vehicle traffic within Central Park — for the summer, at least — and it's about time.

    New York City, like many urban areas, sacrificed much during the 20th century to make way for the automobile. Expressways destroyed thriving neighborhoods. Streets were widened, sidewalks steadily narrowed, and the playground was born as a substitute to what had been children's natural play space: the street outside their homes. But of all the sacrifices to suit the needs of automobiles and their drivers, few have been more incongruous than the invasion of that most hallowed of public spaces, New York's Central Park.

    In the 1850's when a design contest was held for Central Park, one of the requirements was the inclusion of at least four public streets that traversed the park. Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won the competition in large part because of their ingenious scheme for meeting that requirement in a design that created the illusion of countryside within the city.

    As Olmsted's biographer, Witold Rybczynski, tells us, Central Park's architects knew that "city traffic would have been a noisy and dangerous intrusion and would have destroyed the effect of country scenery," so they placed the four required public streets in large excavated trenches, eight feet below ground, creating what we now call the transverses.

    Olmsted and Vaux also created a winding, bucolic carriage road that was as vital to the overall feel of the park as its lakes, woods and verdant expanses. But they had no idea that with the coming of the automobile, their pastoral drive would be transformed into a crowded, noisy thoroughfare. Soon after automobiles gained access to the north-south carriage road in 1899, the park essentially became a convenient shortcut to Midtown.

    Today, those who come to Central Park seeking a refuge from the city to walk, run, cycle or skate on the park's loop road find themselves restricted to a narrow lane during prime recreational hours. With the constant jockeying for position that occurs among the lane's users, collisions between users or with cars that edge into the lanes are frequent.

    Over the last few decades, as the recreational use of Central Park's loop road has boomed, public officials have been slowly returning it to the city dwellers for whom it was intended. Car-free hours have been increased and some vehicle entrances closed. But in a city of constant traffic, noise and toxic emissions, it is a shame that our elected officials haven't let Central Park be one area where their constituents can get away from it all.

    The legislation that will be heard this week to ban vehicles during the summer, when traffic is lightest, is a step in the right direction, but ideally, the Central Park loop should be closed to cars all year round. Those who object to this idea claim that it will worsen congestion on surrounding streets. But that's not true.

    In fact, closing the park to cars should alleviate the city's congestion woes because of what traffic researchers call "shrinkage." Right now, the Central Park loop is an enticement to drive to Midtown. If the loop were closed for a sustained period, experts predict, the traffic would shrink. According to the Regional Plan Association, closing the loop would eventually induce 20 percent to 60 percent of the drivers who now use the park to switch to other transportation or significantly modify their driving patterns.

    In 2001, Mayor Michael Bloomberg campaigned on a platform of reducing private automobile use. He should acknowledge that closing Central Park's loop is one painless way to accomplish this by supporting the legislation and even calling for a year-round ban. Yes, a few drivers will be inconvenienced and may well have to consider alternatives like mass transit, but isn't that good public policy? Moreover, ridding Central Park of traffic would be an important symbol to the rest of the country and the world that New Yorkers are willing to place sensible limits on the use of cars.

    New Yorkers owe an incalculable debt to the people who ran our city in the mid-19th century. When they carved out and carefully designed great tracts of open land amid a growing and bustling city, they understood that every resident, rich or poor, young or old, needed an occasional respite from the unremitting din of urban life. Central Park is a glorious example of this enterprise. But sadly, we have squandered this gift by allowing it to do double duty as a traffic artery. It is now up to us to reclaim that gift.

    Kenneth M. Coughlin is a board member of Transportation Alternatives, a cycling, walking and public transit advocacy group.

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  10. #70

  11. #71

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    Spring at the Conservatory Garden

  12. #72

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    July 16, 2006
    Central Park
    Restoring Vaux’s Vision, One Tile at a Time
    By JAKE MOONEY

    OF the joggers, stroller-pushers and tourists who passed the Bethesda Fountain on Central Park’s 72nd Street Drive on a humid morning last week, few noticed all the activity going on just below their feet, in the cavernous sandstone passage known as the Bethesda Terrace Arcade.

    Of course, there hadn’t been much to notice in the space since 1984, when workers removed the nearly 16,000 intricately patterned clay tiles from the ceiling, directly under the transverse, for restoration.

    The tiles, which were designed in part by Calvert Vaux, were in worse shape than anyone had thought, and the Central Park Conservancy, the nonprofit group that manages the park, lacked the money to restore them. The 49 ceiling panels, which were completed in 1868 and were part of the original park plan, went into storage, where most of them stayed for 20 years.

    The conservancy restored and remounted two of the panels in 1998, and in 2002, Evelyn West, a Brooklyn Heights resident with a longstanding interest in historic preservation, bequeathed $3.5 million to the conservancy to finish the job. Now, workers have added new waterproofing to the roof and are hanging three more of the restored one-ton panels this month for inspection by city agencies.

    Meanwhile, conservancy technicians are working in a shed and a trailer in the park just north of the Ramble, inspecting each tile, with an array of cleaning fluids, paints and putties at the ready. The restored arcade should be open to the public by the end of the year.

    “It’s a rare thing to be able to say you’re doing a preservation undertaking of this magnitude — and we’re doing it right here in the park,” Douglas Blonsky, the conservancy president, said last week.

    In the trailer, one technician, Elizabeth Saetta, said the hardest tiles to clean were those stained with rust from the roadway supports — removing the rust can take a month. Fixing a chip with putty can take two or three days. On average, the restoration team has cleaned four 324-tile panels a month; because some tiles, handmade in England by the Minton Company, are damaged beyond repair, the ceiling will include several panels of new tiles made with the same techniques.

    In general, though, the original roof is in good shape. “It lasted 140, 150 years — that ain’t bad,” Mr. Blonsky said, “considering there was a lot of water, a lot of salt, a wet location that never dried out.”

    James Reed, the project’s director, named another hazard that has been an inescapable part of Central Park life: “Kids throwing Spaldeen balls against it.”

    Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

  13. #73

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris
    May 7, 2006
    Op-Ed Contributor
    Close the Loop
    By KENNETH M. COUGHLIN

    THIS Tuesday, the New York City Council has scheduled a hearing on proposed legislation that would end motor vehicle traffic within Central Park — for the summer, at least — and it's about time..
    The City's refusal to deal with the vehicular traffic issue, while taking roads away by closing the park loop, creating more bike lanes, etc. etc., is totally outragous...

  14. #74

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    ^ Greatest good of the greatest number.

  15. #75

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    Eliminating some of the cars coming in to the business district would be the greatest of all greatest goods, for all New Yorkers.. But that's not politically correct.... Closing the Central Park to vehicles is..

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