My favorite place in NYC is Central Park. And my favorite place in Central Park is Bethesda Terrace. I silently paid my respects to park creators Frederick Law Olmsted & Calvert Vaux this morning, saluting their signpost as I crossed the way to gaze down at my beloved angel statue. Calvert & Vaux’s visionary genius gave us the most magnificent 843 acres in NYC and I thank them every time I make this little pilgrimage.
And each time I visit, I swoon over the carvings that that give the terrace their stately charm. Now, thanks to an inspired gift from my friend, Katherine, (who happens to be the queen of inspired gifts) I have a new name to add to my Bethesda Terrace gratitude list.
Katherine sent me a copy of Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin, which I have summarily devoured, and from which I learned that the carvings – which everyone notices yet no one gives a second notice – were done by one Jacob Wrey Mould. If you’ve stood at Bethesda Terrace, surely you have admired these beauties:
Mould was a Brit who moved to the U.S. in 1851 and worked with Olmsted and Vaux on plans for the park. In addition to the Bethesda Terrace carvings, he designed the Bandstand, Belvedere Castle and many of the bridges in the park. As felicitous as his work may seem, Mould was described as “eccentric and ill-mannered”. Maybe that’s why his name isn’t listed on the signpost.
Oh well, so he wasn’t Mr. Personality. He’s on my gratitude list, nonetheless. As is my dear friend, Katherine, for introducing me to him.
Saturday, in the Park. How I heart NYC!