Favorite gate so far!
Do you know why Central Park has gates? The original plan of the commissioners of the Park included functional gates which would be closed every night at midnight. When they couldn’t agree on designs for the gates, they punted the decision down the road, thus leaving us with imaginative gaps in the Park’s exterior wall.
The theme for the gates (which the commissioners were able to agree on) was “work.” The names of the gates were to prevent people from relying upon the city’s grid for arranging meeting places within the Park. They didn’t want people saying “Meet me at Central Park West and 96th Street.” Instead they wanted people to say “Meet me just inside of Warriors’ Gate.”
The construction of the Park has been easily achieved, because the industrious population of New York has been wise enough to require it, and rich enough to pay for it.
The names of the gates are arranged this way:
- Scholars - Fifth Avenue
- Artists - Sixth Avenue
- Artisans - Seventh Avenue
- Merchants - Eighth Avenue
The rest of the gates are dedicated to New York City laborers, past and present: Pioneers, Farmers, Woodsmen, Miners, Mariners, Engineers, Inventors, Warriors (men of the Army and Navy), Saints (religious workers), Strangers (immigrants), Children (future workers), and Women (especially as domestic workers).
The names of the gates were added recently in the stead of a series of statues that the commissioners had intended. The only two gates that have these statues are Inventors’ Gate (F.B. Morse) and Naturalists’ Gate (Alexander von Humboldt). The gates were intended to be a reminder to all who entered that a visit to the Park was a reward the comes only to those who work hard and earn their just deserts. (All details gleaned from the wonderful little book, Seeing Central Park, by Central Park Conservancy’s official photographer and historian, Sara Cedar Miller).
Now, what do you think about that?