Writing the City: Essays on New York

  • The Naming of the Park

    You don’t have to live in a grand English mansion on a huge country estate to name the place according to its antiquity, design distinction, prestige of its proprietors, and pleasure for visitors who appreciated the fusion of nature and art as a pinnacle of cultural tourism exemplifying the Romantic movement’s influence on landscape design. In opposition to this aristocratic attitude is the ideal of a democratic landscape such as the one you find in the heart of New York City’s borough of Manhattan. To advocate an infusion of non-urban rurality as a counterbalance to the bustling city surrounding the park Frederick Law Olmsted appropriated the epithet “rus in urbe, to denote the countryside within the city. Although no Latin linguist, I was sufficiently in accord with the characterization of the park as place where countryside fused with the city to create a landscape in which farm fields and forested lands could be incorporated into a metropolitan setting that I decided to honor Olmsted’s observation in the following sonnets.

  • Part Five: Central Park as An Outdoor Museum

    Central Park is a great work of land art in its own right, which during the course of time has become a showcase for memorial statues honoring literary, cultural, and political figures famous in the public eye and other sculptures including ones of animals inspired by the park as a setting for display or famous in the popular imagination as characters in children’s stories.