Here's how the ceiling looked about two years ago ...
New tiles aren't the original pattern, but maybe they're better than the original.
A model from the Robert Moses exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York showing an unbuilt pavilion for Central Park near the corner of CPS and Fifth Avenue, sponsored by Huntington Hartford and designed by Edward Durell Stone ...
Happened to be on holiday when the fire was in progress.
Last edited by ZippyTheChimp; March 15th, 2007 at 09:38 AM. Reason: Removed quote
Manhattan horse stable set to close after 115 years
April 24, 2007, 5:33 AM EDT</SPAN>
NEW YORK -- A stable where horses have lived among Manhattanites for more than a century will close this weekend, the owner said.
A living memento of 19th-century New York, the Claremont Riding Academy will close down at 5 p.m. Sunday, said owner Paul Novograd.
Claremont offers riding lessons and hires out horses for riding on Central Park's six miles of bridle paths. So many pedestrians now use the paths that riding has become difficult, Novograd said.
Claremont opened as a livery stable in 1892 and became a riding academy in the 1920s, he said.
Its West 89th Street building features a riding ring, with stalls on floors above and below. Horses make their way up and down on ramps.
Over the years, United Nations ambassadors, fashion models, actors, tourists and many others have ridden at Claremont. A chase scene in the 1981 movie "Eyewitness," which starred William Hurt and Sigourney Weaver, was shot in the stable. Some of the horses have appeared in soap operas and posed for magazine ads.
^I just read that article. It's too bad, because I'm sure it was like a fantasy to be able to ride in Central Park.
April 30, 2007
A Vestige of the Past Shutters Its Stalls
James Estrin/The New York Times
Mothers, some of them in tears, watched as their children took their final lessons
Sunday at the Claremont Riding Academy.
The owner, Paul Novograd, in one of the stalls on the Upper West Side.
By MANNY FERNANDEZ
The horses relaxed upstairs in their wooden stalls as the radio played, munching on hay and oblivious to history, controversy and other human concerns. Downstairs, in an old office lined with dusty saddles, Paul Novograd pulled out a black-and-white photo from the 1930s. It was a picture of his father.
Mr. Novograd’s Polish-born father, Irwin, started working at the Claremont Riding Academy during the Depression, as a bookkeeper. He took over the business in 1943, and his son, who grew up playing hide-and-seek among the hay bales, eventually became the owner.
Yesterday, Paul Novograd, 63, ended the family tradition, closing the stables for good. Were this some other place, some place out West maybe, the shuttering of one old riding school might have gone unnoticed. But what made Claremont unique was not so much what it was but where it was: in the heart of Manhattan, on the Upper West Side, a few steps from a Papa John’s pizzeria at the corner of Amsterdam Avenue and West 89th Street, and less than two blocks from Central Park.
The academy was the oldest continuously operated stable in New York City and, according to Mr. Novograd, the oldest in the United States, offering riding lessons and the renting and boarding of horses. It was a patch of un-Manhattan in Manhattan, definitive proof that the city indeed had it all — skyscrapers, a nearly naked cowboy in Times Square and horses you could rent for $55 an hour.
Mr. Novograd’s decision to close the academy shocked many of his customers and even many of his 30 employees. All day yesterday, the last official day of business at Claremont, people stood around as if at a wake.
Upstairs, Chelsea Roberts, 47, who started riding the horses at Claremont in the early 1970s, said goodbye to one of her favorites, Bach. She brought along her 10-year-old son, Maxwell Roberts-Pereira, who learned how to ride at the academy. Downstairs, in the main office just outside the riding ring, someone taped a letter to Claremont to the glass panes of the door: “You are more than brick, mortar, wood, dirt and hay. Your soul is made of all those souls that have come through your doors.”
And down a muddy, cleated ramp on the sidewalk outside, Christina Valauri snapped a picture and shook her head.
“I’ve ridden here, my daughter’s ridden here,” said Ms. Valauri, a research director at a brokerage firm. “This is a real loss. I actually feel like I am at a funeral.”
The riding school was formed in 1927, in a tan-brick building erected in 1892 as a public livery stable. It had escaped death before, when the city condemned and took over the property from Irwin Novograd in the 1960s as part of an urban renewal program. The city never followed through on its plans for public housing at the Claremont site, and in the late 1990s Mr. Novograd’s son bought it back.
But insurance costs, payments on a loan for a $2 million restoration and taxes had become too costly, Paul Novograd said, while business decreased over the years by hundreds of riders on an average weekend.
“It’s a wonderful institution,” he said. “It’s a shame it has to go. But I can’t go into bankruptcy. I’ve taken out a second mortgage on my house to put money into this place.”
He said that the popularity of nearby Central Park worked against him and the horses. Riders could take the horses for a stroll on the scenic bridle path in the park, but as the path became more congested with joggers and other pedestrians, the path’s upkeep decreased, as did the number of customers willing to navigate the crowds, he said. “The bridle path has become like an obstacle course, with dogs nipping at horses’ heels, people pushing baby strollers,” Mr. Novograd said.
He declined to answer questions about what would happen to the building, which would be worth millions on the market. “I can’t say anything about the future,” Mr. Novograd said, though he added that the building could not be torn down because it is a registered national and city landmark.
The parents of many children who were Claremont regulars expressed frustration with Mr. Novograd and the speed with which he announced the closing. Mr. Novograd told his employees last Sunday evening that the academy was shutting its doors, and many customers found out about it the next day. There was an awkwardness at the stable yesterday, as Mr. Novograd walked among so many of his critics, some quietly and others not so quietly making their frustrations known.
Mary Hanlon, whose 11-year-old daughter has been to the riding school twice a week, said she found it hard to believe that all the options to keep the stable open had been exhausted, from seeking help from nonprofit groups to creating a public-private partnership. “I can’t believe one person can take this away,” she said. “It’s a community center.”
Councilwoman Gale A. Brewer of Manhattan and Scott M. Stringer, the borough president, condemned the closing at a news conference at the academy on Saturday, but it is unclear what, if anything, riders and city officials could do. Yesterday, as former and current Claremont riders flocked to the academy for one last look or one last ride, the nostalgia for New York City’s equestrian anachronism was everywhere. There are other nearby places to go horseback riding, including in Riverdale in the Bronx, but they said they went to Claremont not out of habit but out of love.
Ms. Roberts, who visited Bach in the stalls upstairs, remembered riding a Claremont horse through Central Park after her grandmother died. “Horses listen to you,” she said. Riders young and old spoke of Claremont horses as a means of escape from city life, however temporary.
Claremont horses were 1,500-pound New Yorkers who had a way of making fans and making news. Casco, a 17-hand gelding, starred in “Aida” at the Metropolitan Opera. On an annual spring ride, waiters from Tavern on the Green used to serve the horses carrot treats on silver trays.
Some were caught up in tragedy and drama. Escargot threw off its rider in Central Park in November 1983 and struck a 71-year-old woman on a bicycle. The woman later died from her injuries. In 1969, a state court ruled that a civil rights law did not apply to horses, after a complaint was brought against the academy for refusing to stable a horse.
Mr. Novograd said the academy’s roughly 45 horses will be sent to good homes. Some are going to the Potomac Horse Center, which Mr. Novograd operates in Gaithersburg, Md. Others are being sold privately or donated to the Yale University riding team.
Sean McManus contributed reporting.
he Claremont Riding Academy, located on the Upper West Side, is closing.
The academy was the only remaining public stable in Manhattan.
The stable opened in 1892 and became a riding school in 1927.
The academy says the closing resulted from financial pressures and the declining usefulness
of Central Park's bridle path, which in recent decades has become crowded with joggers,
dog walkers and stroller pushers.
Saying farewell to a riding partner.
Most of the stable’s approximately 40 horses will be distributed among a riding school in
North Potomac, Md., a home in Roscoe, N.Y., and Yale University’s equestrian program.
Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
The oldest now is Kensington Stables, just off the southern tip of Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
At one time, the eastern mall of Ocean Parkway was a bridle path, and you could ride from Prospect Park to Brighton Beach.
Car Ban May Be Enforced In Central Park
BY Special to the Sun
June 5, 2007
The city is considering banning cars from Central Park 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the summer, the recently appointed transportation commissioner, Janette Sadik-Khan, told a group of about 2,000 cyclists on Sunday.
The statement by Ms. Sadik-Khan, herself an avid cyclist, marks a departure from her predecessor, Iris Weinshall, who had vetoed a similar plan arguing that closing the park's roadway loop to motorists would worsen congestion and pollution throughout Manhattan.
Cars were first allowed to drive on the roadway in 1899, and by permit only, according a spokesman for the advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, the group that has been leading the campaign for a car-free Central Park. A poll by Transportation Alternatives found that among respondents one in 10 visitors to the park were injured by a vehicle, and 64% would use the park more if vehicles were banned.
A spokesman for the transportation department said the city was considering the plan after receiving several requests from City Council and transit advocates. It was too early to say when the program might begin, he said. The president of Manhattan, Scott Stringer, five Council members, and the public advocate, Betsy Gotbaum, have all endorsed the initiative.
But surely not in the park itself!!A poll by Transportation Alternatives found that among respondents one in 10 visitors to the park were injured by a vehicle, and 64% would use the park more if vehicles were banned.
A dishonest statistical citation?
That sounds like a manipulated statistic.
If someone in the running lane was spooked by a passing car, moved over and stepped on the someone's foot, you could say the car caused a foot injury.
But it's obvious that the relatively small percentage of traffic that uses the park drives affects the park environment out of proportion to the actual number.