Wreath Interpretations: A Look Back

Taking a break from documenting the city’s waterfront parks and hidden waterways, I would like to share an artwork that I made last year for the NYC Parks’ 35th annual Wreath Interpretations winter holiday art show. Titled NYC Parks Now and Then, my wreath depicts some of New York’s best-known parks from the oldest to the newest.

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In a photo taken by agency photographer Malcolm Pinckney, I stand with my work which has NYC Parks’ maple leaf logo in its center. Now let’s take a closer look at its details. Click on the bold names for their histories as I take you on a citywide tour. Continue reading

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Water Garden, Brooklyn

On my previous visit to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, I reported on its historic Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. From this exotic-looking lake, a constructed brook flows through the garden through the Bluebell Wood, Rock Garden, Plant Family Collection, and the Water Garden. At its terminus, the stream first enters a forebay pond before pooling in the Water Garden pond.

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Completed in 2016, the Water Garden pond provides an environmentally sustainable solution for managing the garden’s flow of water. It was designed by prolific landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, whose works can be found across the country, incorporating waterways into postmodern park landscapes. Above is a photo of Tupelo Point which juts into the pond.

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Prospect Park waterway, Brooklyn

There was once a time when Brooklyn was a city that rivaled Manhattan and attempted to have everything that the island borough has, such as its own art museum, botanical garden, and major league baseball team. It also had its own version of Central Park, designed by the same landscape architect duo. While Central Park has numerous unconnected waterways that were adapted from natural streams on site, Brooklyn’s 585-acre Prospect Park has only one waterway, carved entirely from the landscape.

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Initially fed by water from a well, the stream emerged from the ground through the manmade Fallkill Falls. The landscape of the brook was inspired by the Adirondack wilderness with a heavily forested rocky terrain that carried the stream through numerous waterfalls, rapids and lakes. Continue reading

Photo of the Week

This week’s selected photo comes from a 1917 report on the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

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Depicted in the photo is the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden, designed by architect Takeo Shiota in 1915. The pond is the most popular attraction at this garden but its architect’s fate was quite undeserved. He died in a wartime internment camp, a victim of racism. Continue reading

Vale of Cashmere, Brooklyn

In the knob and kettle terrain of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, there is a natural valley sculpted by glaciers that was transformed by the park’s designers into a miniature Eden with reflecting pools and gardens.

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It was named after a valley in Kashmir, the mountainous region straddling the India-Pakistan border. After decades of neglect, this section of Prospect Park is receiving renewed attention with a restoration project underway. Continue reading

Photo of the Week

This week’s selected photo is a former reservoir located in Mount Prospect Park, Brooklyn. The photo comes from the Library of Congress’ extensive online collection.

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Taken in the early 20th century by Detroit Publishing Company, it was used as a postcard image. Where the central library of the Brooklyn Public Library now stands used to be an iconic Romanesque revival water tower. The photo is looking west towards the New York Harbor and on the horizon is New Jersey. Unrivaled views were once available from this hilltop reservoir. Continue reading