Marble Arch – Lost Bridge of Central Park

Marble Arch – loveliest of the “Lost Bridges of Central Park“. It was once located at the latitude of 66th Street, providing a crossing under the Drive, with a stairway up to the southern entrance of the Mall. It was demolished in 1938, a victim of Robert Moses’ automobile-centric vision of  20th century New York City.

Clarence Cook wrote of this graceful underpass in A Description of the New York Central Park, published in 1869:

This is one of the pleasantest and most elegantly built of all these cool places for rest and refreshment. It is entered at one end of a level with a foot path; at the other a double stairway to the left and right leads to the level of the Mall and to the carriage-road which this archway is designed to carry. It is called the marble archway to distinguish it, all other structures of this sort in the Park being built either of stone, or brick, or of brick and stone combined. The marble employed is the coarse limestone from the Westchester quarries. . . . A marble bench runs along each side, and at the end . . . a semicircular niche accommodates those who prefer the fuller light that reaches from the stairway. In this niche there is to be placed a suitable marble basin with drinking cups, but, present water is obtained from a common hydrant. The interior of this archway is peculiarly light and attractive, and far more cheerful than other structures of a similar sort in the Park. Here, on a warm day, the children and their nurses gather with their luncheon-baskets, or the reader with his book and sandwich.

Marble is a stone subject to erosion with time. But neglect and new priorities were more to blame — if in fact the archway was in bad condition — when it was demolished.

Marble Arch was found to be obsolete when the plan of the Center Drive and the East Drive was realigned for speedier automobile traffic. The arch was collapsed and is presumed to still exist beneath the ground. The precise location is known but, to date, no archaeological effort has yet been made to unearth it.

 

Marble Arch exemplified another functional purpose of the many pedestrian arches in Central Park — that of a shelter. Somewhat similar to Willowdell Arch, Marble Arch had continuous benches on both sides and a drinking fountain. Its freer detail reflected a similarity with the aesthetically complete interiors and ceilings of some bridges and archways, most notable among them the Terrace Bridge.

Marble Arch was the only archway built of marble in Central Park. Its demolition was unnecessary. It must be remembered that the 1930s, and for several decades after, was very much an era of tearing down and building anew.

Parks Department policy reflected the era’s outlook. In the 1930s, with the ever-increasing number of cars, the drives were straightened in various places. Marble Arch fell victim to fashion. Today, preservation is a force. Were Marble Arch still extant, it would be preserved.

From “Bridges of Central Park”

 

Winter Jam 2019!

Time again to enjoy all the fun of a ski weekend in the Catskills right in Central Park! The Parks Department reminds us why we should love the colder months thanks to Winter Jam, its annual winter sports festival in Central Park. Families can learn or take part in snowshoeing, skiing and sledding. Bring your own snow sports gear or borrow the equipment on load at no cost, then while away the hours sipping hot chocolate and enjoying the outdoors during this ultimate snow day. The rain date for the 2019 event is Feb 2. Enter the park at 72nd St, as the festivities will take place in the Bandshell area. All ages.

Saturday, January 26, 2019* 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Central Park Bandshell Area Enter at 72nd Street *Rain Date: February 2, 2019

Presented by NYC Parks, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, I Love NY, and I Ski NY, Winter Jam is a free winter sports festival for New Yorkers of all ages! Our partners at Gore Mountain will blow lots of snow in the heart of Manhattan, creating an urban snow field for all to enjoy!

Featured Venues Lake Placid Snow Field Learn to Ski Sledding Hill Live Ice Carving Ice Sculpture Garden

Please note: Activity lines are subject to close early, so come early!

Participants in the Learn to Ski and Sledding activities must sign a waiver and provide photo identification before participating in any of these activities. The waivers will be provided at the event. . . . → Read More: Winter Jam 2019!

Post Apocalyptic Central Park

An international design competition was launched last April LA+Journal that charged artists, architects, planners, and designers with reimagining and redesigning New York’s Central Park for the 21st century. There were 382 entrants from 30 different countries, with a total of 193 designs. In the end it was five entries submitted from Australia, China, the United Kingdom, and the United States that won. Each of the winners will receive a $4,000 cash prize and publication in LA+Journal’s LA+ICONOCLAST issue. The ICONOCLAST Design Competition, as it was called, was inspired by a hypothetical eco-terrorist attack carried out in protest to the loss of the world’s forests. Through this scenario, the design competition provokes artists to “tackle big questions about how we represent and manifest ideals of public health, democracy, and nature.” You can view the extraordinary winners here.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Viewing

Time for the 92nd Thanksgiving Day Parade and all the insane fun of watching it live from the streets of Manhattan. Here are some tips on the best vantage points along the route as it marches around Central Park – and a link to Macy’s official Parade Route Page.

Central Park West — if you’re an early bird Each year, Central Park West between 59th and 75th streets is filled with excited parade viewers before most people have gotten out of bed. Macy’s says people will start lining up along this section of the parade route at 6 a.m.

Columbus Circle Head up to the second and third floors of the Shops at Columbus Circle for an elevated — and warmer — view of the parade.

Central Park South at Sixth Avenue The intersection of Central Park South and Sixth Avenue is another spot with several vantage points. It also offers a great view of the parade as it heads south toward Herald Square.

Sixth Avenue between West 59th and 38th streets Macy’s suggests parade viewers stay above 38th Street; the closer you get to Herald Square, the less space there will be for the public.

Worst spots for viewing: 77th Street and Central Park West: The start of the parade offers little to no public viewing options. Sixth Avenue between 34th and 38th streets: The national television broadcast limits space in this area. 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues: The national television broadcast limits space in this . . . → Read More: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Viewing

Celebrate Halloween in Central Park!

Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla Date: October 28, 2018, 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM Location: Charles A. Dana Discovery Center (inside the Park at 110th Street between Fifth and Lenox Avenues.

Bring the whole family and celebrate Halloween in Central Park. Enjoy pumpkin carving, Halloween crafts, spooky stories, a costume parade, and most of all the Conservancy’s signature Pumpkin Flotilla, which sets sail across the Harlem Meer at twilight!

This event is free and open to all ages. Tickets are not required.

Schedule of Events 4:00 pm – 5:45 pm Pumpkin Drop Off* Pumpkin Carving by Hugh McMahon Halloween Crafts Spooky Stories 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm Halloween Costume Parade 6:30 pm Pumpkin Flotilla Launch Halloween: Bats at Belvedere

Step into the mysterious world of bats & explore their benefits, habitats and nocturnal strategies in this live animal encounter program with conservation biologist Rob Mies.

When: Oct 26, 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM