ANDREW HASWELL GREEN BENCH, northern Central Park

From the ForgottenBook:

Climbing the Great Hill from Central Park West and 103rd Street, you follow a pathway for awhile, pass the Pool through Glen Span Arch, along a babbling brook known as Montayne’s Rivulet, and when you are in sight of Huddlestone Arch and the Lasker Rink, take a sharp detour to the right, climb some steps, and you’ll find…an isolated bench smack in the middle of nowhere overlooking East Drive. What is its significance?

The bench is a memorial to lawyer and preservationist Andrew H. Green (1820-1903), who in large part is responsible, in his capacity on the fledgling Central Park Board of Commissioners, for the Olmsted-Vaux Central Park plan being effected. He also played an important role in the formation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, the Central Park Menagerie (the Zoo), and the New York Public Library.

After stints as President of the Board of Education and as NYC Comptroller, Green helped draft the Consolidation Law, in which unincorporated areas and municipalities of southern Westchester (the Bronx), Kings (Brooklyn), Queens, and Richmond (Staten Island) counties be consolidated with Manhattan to form the five boroughs of a greater New York City. The law took effect January 1, 1898.

Tragically, Green was shot and killed by a deranged gunman in 1903. In 1929, this bench, along with five newly planted trees, were dedicated to Green. The bench was moved to its present location in the early 1980s. I’m not sure Green would approve of this location…it’s located in nose-shot of the Central Park composting area and the stench is palpable even in midwinter. But Green would certainly be proud that his memorial stands on ground once fortified to defend U.S. soil; here stood Fort Fish, which was positioned to train five heavy guns on any British vessel that would dare to sail up the Harlem River during the War of 1812.

9/7/16


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