A Forum for Diary Entries, Essays, Observations, Poetry, News, and Reviews

The Life and Times of Garth Fergusson, Poet

Back in 1976, when the vision of a restored and well-managed Central Park was still a pipe dream, its chief workforce consisted of a few random volunteers and a group of summer interns assigned duties to help improve its horticultural welfare. One of them, Garth Fergusson, became a lifelong friend of mine as well as my daughter Lisa’s and son David’s. You might call Garth a born poet, which is how I think of him. Recently he sent me his most recent series of poems, which are thematically centered on the Covid pandemic. They are copied here in this draft journal posting, which is prefaced with the following brief biography that I asked him to write. READ MORE >

Budding Poets in the Park

When I look back on the summer of 1976 my sentiments are ones of great happiness when I recollect the group of high school students who had been selected by a member of the administration of the high school they attended to sign up for a summer-jobs-for-youth program offered by Central Park Task Force. Their chief duty was to perform useful menial chores such as weeding shrub beds, painting benches, and shoveling silt from the park’s muddy water bodies.  Unusual, but especially memorable for me was the fact that on their work breaks their supervisor conducted a poetry workshop that encouraged them to express in free verse their observations about what they were discovering in their immediate surroundings. READ MORE >

Central Park Conservancy 40th Anniversary

For the past thirty-eight years in the first week in May the Central Park Conservancy’s Women’s Committee has hosted the Frederick Law Olmsted Award Luncheon in the park’s Conservatory Garden. In the same venue in September 2021 a special anniversary party was held to celebrate the Conservancy’s birth in 1980, which was for me an event filled with pride and nostalgia. READ MORE >

Writing the City

My latest book Writing the City: A Collection of Essays on New York, was launched on June 3, 2022 at the New-York Historical Society and further publicized in the following talk I gave on September 8 at the New York Society Library. My remarks about the book and its publisher, the Library of American Landscape History, can be read here or heard in a live video recording. READ MORE >

Nine-Eleven Remembered

To have lived through a catastrophic event of dire danger inevitably produces personal recollections of a time and place in history in which one was either a firsthand or secondhand spectator, if not a victim, of an immediate transformative disaster, the anniversary dates of which prompt recollection. In the case of the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, New York City itself remains emblematic of a nation imperiled by an ideology given expression through terrorism. Having watched at a lofty distance and then taken stock among the scattered coteries of shocked citizens who, like me, were finding solace in the balm of nature within its green heart, I was prompted this year to write a narrative of what I experienced on that terrible day. READ MORE >


A Forum for
Diary Entries, Essays, Observations, Poetry, News, and Reviews



Venice Revisited

Wainscott: Cherishing Memories of my Former Home in a Non-Hampton Hamlet in the Hamptons

Hill Country Journal

Budding Poets in the Park

Central Park Conservancy 40th Anniversary

Nine-Eleven Remembered


An Analysis of the Sonnet as a Form of Poetic Expression


Part Five: Central Park as An Outdoor Museum

Part Four: Bethesda Terrace, Arcade, and Fountain

Part Three: Central Park as An Outdoor Museum

Part Two: Central Park as An Outdoor Museum

Part One: Central Park as An Outdoor Museum

Designing the Central Park Luminaire: Nature as Ornament

“The Gates” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude, 2005

Jacob Wrey Mould: Central Park’s Third Designer

America’s Greatest Example of Land Art

Summit Rock, the Tallest Point in Central Park as a Palimpsest of Multi-generational History

Discovering Central Park’s Above-ground Bedrock Foundations


The Naming of the Park

The Life and Times of Garth Fergusson, Poet


Writing the City


Lee County: The Setting of Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead and Land of my Pioneer Ancestors

The Wind in the Willows