the serenity of central park west

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Photo credit: Centralpark

The Pool

From West 100 to West 103rd Streets, the Pool is one of the most idyllic and tranquil spots in Central Park. Designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux constructed the Pool by damming up a natural spring just inside the west wall around West 102 Street. They sent the water along a northeastward course to form both the Loch and the Harlem Meer. Today, New York City residents are fed their drinking water by a hidden pipe coming from the Reservoir in the rocks of the grotto on the Pool’s southern border.

With its grassy banks, weeping willows, and rushing waterfall the Pool is home to many species of birds, fish, and amphibians. In 2003, Central Park Conservancy completed a restoration of the Pool, making it a healthy environment for wildlife and a picturesque landscape for visitors.

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Photo credit: magical-planet.com

The Loch

Just north of 102 Street and winding through the Ravine is the Loch. Scottish for "lake," the Loch is partially fed by a natural watercourse, known in the 17th and 18th centuries as Montayne's Rivulet. It flows under the Glen Span arch at its southern end and the Huddlestone arch on its northern border before connecting to the Harlem Meer. The stream, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux and rebuilt by the Central Park Conservancy in the 1990s, is dammed in several places to create three breath-taking cascades.

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Photo credit: centralparknyc.org

The North Woods

The serenity of the North Woods is just a few steps from the front door of The Central Park View. Considered by many to be the most secluded and peaceful section of Central Park, the North Woods brings the Adirondack Mountains to Manhattan.

The North Woods is one of three of Central Park’s woodlands. Along with the Ramble and Hallett Nature Sanctuary, North Woods is an oasis of nature for both people and wildlife to enjoy. The heart of the North Woods is the Ravine. Fallen trees remain where they land, providing nutrients to surrounding plants, homes to wildlife and a natural look to the landscape.  The North Woods, spanning from West 101 Street to West 110 Streets, is a favorite spot of birdwatchers and hikers.

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Photo credit: MichaelMinn.net

Glen Span Arch

Designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, Glen Span was built in 1865. It originally featured wooden trestles, rock pier supports, and a wooden railing. The arch was reconstructed in the 1880s, at which time the wooden parts were replaced with rustic light-gray gneiss rock, a high-grade metamorphosis of granite. The Glen Span Arch is decorated with geometrically shaped stones and has small hollowed grottos embedded in its underpass.

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Bloomingdale

“Bloomingdale” first appeared in1688 public records but the name was probably in use much earlier.   The Dutch colonists of New Amsterdam may have adopted the name since the Dutch town of Bloemendaal (which means “vale of flowers”) is northwest of Amsterdam and a few miles west of Haarlem. While Bloomingdale is the name dedicated to West 96th to West 110th Streets between Central Park and the Hudson River, it once denoted a much larger area of Manhattan.  Around 1708, the British colonial government built the Bloomingdale Road.  It started at today’s Madison Square and ran roughly along Broadway, to the present 115th St. and Riverside Drive  (it was later extended to 147th Street).  When the American Revolution commenced, Bloomingdale was a thriving district of farms and country estates.  Shortly after 1800, three villages sprang up along Bloomingdale Road: Harsenville around the present 71st Street; Bloomingdale Village around 99th Street; and Manhattanville around 125th Street.

The photo above was taken in 1928 when the subway was being installed along Central Park West. Note the trolley tracks in the lower right corner and the globe lights used to illuminate the street. 

In 1868, the Bloomingdale Road north of 59th Street was closed and replaced by the present day Broadway.  In the 1870s, the creation of Morningside Park gave the area north of 110th Street its distinct identity as Morningside Heights. Thus, “Bloomingdale” shrank in scope and size but continued to be the name for the area closest to the old Bloomingdale Village. (www.bloomingdalehistory.com)