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Friday, May 21, 2010

Trapped in Paradise






Heaven may not be what you hoped for if you are unable to relax, let go and appreciate the seraphim and cherubim. Otherwise, you may find yourself like Woody Allen in a taxi in Manhattan - "You look so beautiful I can hardly keep my eye on the meter."

I felt very conflicted sitting in the Conservatory Garden - I had an loose agenda for the day, but sitting in this garden just made it nearly impossible to entertain leaving. I was truly trapped in paradise.

This is one of New York City's "secrets" - few will make it this far north on Fifth Avenue. The formal garden was designed by Gilmore D. Clarke, the landscape architect for Robert Moses. The main entrance is through the Vanderbilt Gate at Fifth Avenue and 104th Street. The gate once served as an entrance to the chateau of Cornelius Vanderbilt II, the grandest of the Fifth Avenue mansions - see photo here. It stood at 58th Street and Fifth Avenue near the Plaza Hotel. It was demolished in 1927. The gardens are divided into 3 styles - French, Italian and English. From the Central Park website:

Conservatory Garden began as a large, E-shaped greenhouse, or conservatory in 1898. It featured an indoor winter garden of exotic tropical plants and outdoor decorative Victorian flowerbeds. In 1937, the deteriorating structure was demolished and this six-acre formal garden was designed in its place.The Central Park Conservancy began its restoration of the area in 1981, starting with the Garden’s fountains.

Conservatory Garden is divided into three distinct styles – French, Italian, and English.The northern French-style garden features an ellipse of meandering boxwood and pansies, and showcases spectacular seasonal displays of tulips in spring and chrysanthemums in autumn. In the center is the charming Three Dancing Maidens fountain by German sculptor Walter Schott.The central Italian garden features a wisteria pergola, a large lawn surrounded by clipped hedges of yews, a 12-foot-high jet fountain, and two exquisite allées of pink and white crabapple trees. On the walkway under the wisteria pergola are medallions inscribed with the names of the original thirteen states. The Italian garden serves as a backdrop for hundreds of wedding photography sessions.

I hope you visit. I'm sure you will enjoy being trapped in paradise :)

11 comments:

tanyach said...

Your blog was the first thing I wanted to see after a draining day at work ;) Hmmm & this satisied. Thanks ;)

hokgardner said...

I've only seen this area in the winter, but even then it's a lovely place.

Brian Dubé said...

Tanyach - Knowing that makes it worthwhile for me.

Hokgardner - Many say that it is wonderful in any season.

Mary said...

The fountain in the English Garden, with the girl and boy (and the goldfish pond) is a tibute to "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It is my favorite part of the Conservatory Garden. (This garden is a welcome respite when you have someone in Mt. Sinai or one of the other hospitals in the immediate area.)

Mary P.

Annie said...

It certainly is a truly wonderful spot isn't it? I have thoroughly enjoyed being there a couple of times...and yes, it is hard to leave!

Annie said...

And I still can't get over that building in your post below. It is such a lovely thing...and you have the light perfect!

Juan Miguel said...

Brian I really love not only these heavenly photos but also the composition that you created with them, thanks a lot!

NYfan said...

WOW!! Well, this is a pic which remembers me a song by Damian Rice: "I can´t take my eyes of you" It´s GREAT. Thank you, Brian!!!! My next visit in New York will lead me to this paradise. That´s for sure!!!

Glayki said...

amazing pics!

afkenner said...

Never knew about this magical place until I saw your post - went to visit it yesterday morning and it was everything you said and more - it's a photographer's paradise too, and I can only imagine how it would look in all the different seasons. I'll go back again and again!

Voyager à New York said...

Nice pictures !