Northern Central Park: A Visual Journey

Jan 18Feb 24, 2022
Photographs by William E. Lyons

When an editor tells you to take a hike it’s generally not a good thing. That is unless that editor is Steve Zaffarano and he has just assigned you to take black and white photos of New York City’s Central Park for the Staten Island Advance. That is how Bill Lyons recalls this body of work began on the morning of August 9, 2017.

They had decided on a two day project that split the park into north and south as divided by the Jacqueline Onassis Reservoir. This body of work represents the northern section of Central Park and is rich with wildlife and different landscapes. The southern half is concurrently on display at the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, OH.

To the northeast of the northern section is Harlem Meer, which acts as a huge reflecting pool on a calm day. To the northwest is the North Wood, which contains the park’s oldest structures including the Blockhouse built in 1814, the Ravine, the Loch and the Pool. It is home to many species of birds. The Great Hill is a large open fields surrounded by trees and the North Meadow is home to ballfields and tennis courts. To the East is the Conservatory Garden and Fort Clinton.

Central Park was designed by landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903)and Calvert Vaux (1824-1895) in 1857 to offer urban dwellers an opportunity to escape from the stresses of urban life and to commune with nature and fellow New Yorkers. The combined 843 acres comprise what is now the most visited park in the country with more than 42 million visits a year.

The southern section will be concurrently displayed at The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH

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