What happens when you take a "Forgotten New York" tour with time-lapsing historian Kevin Walsh?
Well, if you've been photographing and blogging about Prospect Park for 8 years, you still see stuff you never noticed before.
This bronze statue by Henry Kirke Brown, originally placed in Grand Army Plaza in 1869, was the first statue of Lincoln ever erected in the Union. (It was moved here to the Concert Grove in 1896.) I never knew that the "USN" and "USA" on the base stood for the army and navy.
Kevin agrees that Abe spent years looking vaguely disgusted at his view of the Zamboni for the ratty old Wollman skating rink. (At right: Construction several years ago, as the lake shore was reconfigured). The spiffy new rink sits south of here, and now Abe gazes on the recreated "Music Island" as part of the park's epic Lakeshore redevelopment.
Here's his view today, just as spring started smudging the trees with green. Today's offshore island is for wildlife, not concert bands.
We covered too much ground to recount in detail, but I loved seeing these two details for the first time.
I pass the colonnaded shelter at the Coney Island Avenue traffic circle, right opposite the TD Bank, almost every day, but had never gone inside and looked up. If you do that, here's what you see. This pigeon parent has good taste in real estate: McKim, Mead and White, no less.
We ended up on the porch of the Crazy Stable, where refreshments came at a price: hearing the ripping yarn of how the StableMistress inadvertently convinced the New York Times that our Caton Park neighborhood on the park's southern edge was called NoProPaSo. For the full tale, minus cookies and lemonade, go here. Thanks to FNY's incredibly gifted photographer Shunsuke Takino for this lovely shot of the Stable!
Kevin gives several of these great tours every year; you will see the cityscape with a layer pulled back, with bygone times revealed, sometimes, by the faintest traces. Go here for a full schedule.