A Refreshing Drink in Victorian Central Park
A Fancy Water Fountain Indeed
Same Fancy Fountain, With Customers
A Lost Fountain
I'm sure you've seen (and used) drinking fountains in parks, in the summer. They're all pretty much the same: metal, with the little spout, like the ones in schools. Utilitarian, really. But in the 1870s in New York City, you could have yourself a very fancy drink of water indeed. Check out the open onion-dome style of this Central Park drinking extravaganza, which alas was also pretty unsanitary, since it looks like there were little metal cups attached to it (by chains, I guess) and everyone used those. Never mind, I think I prefer the modern spout! But for looks, this can't be beat. I found an engraving of the fountain in the 1874 guidebook Treat's Illustrated New York Brooklyn and Vicinity. The photograph, of the same Central Park fountain, is at the splendid New York Public Library Digital Gallery (via, in this case, Wikipedia).
There's also a bird cage in the Treat's engraving - I'd never heard of such a thing in a park, Victorian or otherwise. You'd really think a park was the last place birds would have to worry about cages.
A Mysterious Rustic Spring
A Refreshing Spring
Still thirsty in Victorian Central Park, not just for water but also for a little mystery? Try hiking off to the Spring, where you could also drink water (bring your own tin cup from home, though). It is still there, of course, just north of what is now the Diana Ross Playground at West 881st and Central Park West. The highest spot in Central Park is there, called Summit Rock, and the spring is one of two (I don't know which one is pictured). I hope that this is the one known as Tanner's Spring. It's named for Dr. Henry Tanner, from Minnesota, who fasted for 40 days and nights in the summer of 1880 (from June 28 to August 6). It was a water fast, and he got the water from - well, you know where. The Spring is a great spot for bird-watching in the Park, so they must like the water, too.
And back in the early 19th century, the springs were the water source for a free black village (this was way before Central Park existed) called Seneca Village. Check out this archaeology project at Columbia University for more on Seneca Village.
Refreshing and Entertaining Links
- Birding Central Park NYC Under Clear Skies
- Central Park's Water Fountains - Water Fountain Information
Central Park's Water Fountains Water Fountain Information There are seven ornamental water fountains in New York City's Central Park. They are the Bethesda Water Fountain (Angel of the Waters), the Pulitzer Water Fountain, the Sophie Loeb Fountain
- Max Street Dances in Central Park | Macaw Parrot
Max, the Macaw, street dances and sings in Central Park to the music of local street. Not in a cage, of course! Yay!
- CentralPark.com | Your Complete Guide to New York\'s Central Park
Your first stop for information, guides and maps of Central Park New York City. Explore the top things to do and see in the park, plan your wedding or stay updated with upcoming events.
- CentralParkHistory.com - A Complete Online History of the World\'s Most Famous Public Park!