Bryant Park, Part 3
Bryant Park, an 8 acre green oasis at the intersection of 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue is the second best park in the city (after Central Park ). Every year, over 6 million people use the park, making it the most heavily used public area per acre in the world.
Before it was a part at the beginning of the nineteenth century it was a graveyard for the poor. In 1840, when the Croton Distributing water system had been constructed, thousands of bodies were moved to the Ward Island, in the northern end of the East River, between Manhattan and Queen.
The first park at this site opened in 1847 as Reservoir Square because of a man-made four acre lake “Croton Distributing Reservoir” , surrounded by massive thick granite walls. This lake was the part of a water-supply system that carry fresh water via aqueducts city from upstate New York.
The aqueduct system, constructed at a cost of $11.5 million, officially opened on July 4, 1842. In 1846, the New York City Common Council ordered construction of a public park on the land next to the Reservoir.
In 1853 a Crystal Palace for the world's fairs , the Exhibition of the Industry of All Nations was built on this square.
The best-known 'first World Expo' was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851. The Great Exhibition, as it is often called, was an idea of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, and is usually considered as the first international exhibition of manufactured products. The Crystal Palace in London was a cast-iron and plate-glass building with more than 14,000 exhibitors from around the world gathered in the Palace's 990,000 square feet (92,000 m2) of exhibition space. At that time it was the largest amount of glass ever seen in a building.
The next World Expo was in New York and the city built its own Crystal Palace. The building had the shape of a Greek cross, and was crowned by a dome 100 feet in diameter. Like the Crystal Palace of London, it was constructed from iron and glass. President Franklin Pierce spoke at the dedication of the palace on July 14, 1853. The adjoining Observatory, a wooden tower 315 feet (96 m) high was the tallest structure in New York City from the time it was constructed in 1853. The whole structure was destroyed by fire in 1858.
Today, one building still stands today from the nineteenth century that was inspired by the Crystal Palace of London. It is also known as the Crystal Palace but is located if Madrid, Spain.
In 1884, Reservoir Square was renamed Bryant Park, to honor the New York Evening Post editor William Cullen Bryant. William Cullen Bryant was also a poet and lawyer. He was one of the most influential advocates for abolition of slavery in the United States and one of the forces behind the creation of Central Park. He is honored with a 1911 statue that overlooks the park. The statue was designed by Herbert Adams, an American sculptor who was classically trained in Paris.
In 1899, the Reservoir structure was removed and construction of the New York Public Library building began. Terraces, public facilities, and kiosks were added to the park.
The park was redesigned between 1933 and 1934 as a Great Depression public works project under the leadership of Robert Moses. It featured a great lawn and hedges which obscured the views from the surrounding streets. Two years later, an iron fence was constructed around the park.
To be continued…
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