Thursday Doors 22/52 The Arsenal

Copyright © 2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Running out of time in NYC and nearing the end of our trip my sisters and I had to start being more selective about what we wanted to spend our time doing and seeing. On all our lists was the MET (Metropolitan Museum of Art). After spending several hours there and just seeing a smidgen of the collections we left knowing we’d need to return one day. On the way back to our side of town and dinner  we strolled through several blocks of Central Park.

It was just about the time we needed to exit the park to head south or maybe north to head toward our neighborhood ( I get turned around really easily) that I spotted this lovely Colonial Door with a great Eagle on its Header (I think that’s the part of the door). I said to my sisters I had to stop for this door, and by now they got it, and waited very patiently while I took a few images.

The sign next to the door said it was the ” City of New York, Department of Parks, Administration Headquarters. The Arsenal”.

The Arsenal NYC Front Door

I also took an image of the building’s front facade. It struck me as looking like a

small castle or fort.

NYC Park Headquarters-The Arsenal

There were quite a few people in the park being a Sunday afternoon so, I cloned out two people, but the Dad with the stroller I left in b/c I don’t have the skill to clone him or the stroller out with the bushes and garden fencing and have the image look good.

When I got home I looked online for the history of the building and learned:

The Arsenal located on 64th Street and Fifth Ave in Central Park is home to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, The Arsenal Gallery, The City Parks Foundation, the Historic House Trust, an the New York Wildlife Conservation Society.  Phew! That’s home to a lot!  I would have liked to see the Gallery if I had known!

For the History Buffs-

The Arsenal is one of two buildings within the park’s borders which predate the park itself. It was built between 1847 and 1851 by the State of New York as a storage repository for munitions.

Here’s some U. S. Trivia:  The project’s funding was overseen by state comptroller Millard Fillmore, who later became President of the United States.

Designed by architect Martin Thompson, the building is marked by a crenelated cornice, resembling a medieval fortress. Its doorway is guarded by a cast-iron eagle.

The building’s military use proved short-lived. Between 1853 and 1856, the State seized the land under it for a public park. In 1857 the City purchased the Arsenal for $275,000, removed all arms, and established park administrative functions on the premises. Certain park advocates and urban observers felt the structure was a blight on the landscape, most notably diarist George Templeton Strong who in 1859 referred to the “hideous State Arsenal Building,” and hoped “this eyesore…[would] soon be destroyed by accidental fire.”

Wow, that was harsh! I for one can say I’m glad that didn’t happen! However, by 1922 the building had deteriorated to  such a state the New York Times printed a Headline that read, ” Parks Arsenal a Near Ruin.”  The City appropriated $75,000 to overhaul the Arsenal.

The restoration was completed in 1924.  In 1934 the building had another complete restoration. Over time the building became a Park fixture and in 1967 the Arsenal was designated an official New York City Landmark.

To read the complete history click here.

This post is part of Norm 2.0’s Thursday Doors.  If you love doors and would like to see the doors others are posting, or post doors you’ve photographed and join other door lovers from around the world click here.

At the end of Norm’s latest Thursday Door post is a little Blue Link-up/View button click it to be taken to a page with all the links, or add your own.

More to come…





37 thoughts on “Thursday Doors 22/52 The Arsenal

  1. WOW… this door is certainly unique. It would be fun to see all your doors together. Have you thought about putting them all together… perhaps in a grid-like poster?

    1. Thank you so much for the lovely comment and idea Denise! I’ve not thought of putting all the images of my doors together as a poster before, but have entertained the idea of making a book of my year with doors.

      But, don’t hold your breath on that book. I’ve been cultivating a birding book, and landscape book for several years. I’m just so intimidated by the printer’s process that I’m frozen in place and haven’t got any further than adding my favorites images to the folders.

    1. Thanks so much Gordon! After ready that it was called the Arsenal, and reading its history all the ornamentation on the door made sense. Before reading the plaque and history I did wonder.

  2. I love that building! We’ve walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art several times, but I wasn’t noticing doors back then. You know I am a history buff, so you won’t be surprised to learn that I really enjoyed the history that you included. And I am SO GLAD it wasn’t destroyed by an accidental fire. I’m always amazed at how short a view of time and history people are capable of having. I am glad your sisters understood your passion for doors. They might technically be “enablers” but, we won’t go there.

    It’s funny, on Sunday, my daughter wanted to walk up to the Park. We didn’t have a lot of time before our train. She even said “I’m sure there’s some doors there” as a way of convincing me. We did get to the park, but really only had time for a very short walk before needing to head down 8th Ave.

    It sounds like you crammed a lot of NYC sights and experiences into one trip. I am happy tht you enjoyed your visit.

    1. Thank you Dan for the lovely comment, and conversation!

      It is a neat building and pretty great door isn’t it.
      We thoroughly enjoyed our walk through the park. There is another building in there I wanted to photograph but there were just so many people that Sunday afternoon.

      Out with the old, in with the new is good sometimes, but the old buildings with their architecture and craftsmanship should be save if possible.

      My sisters were pointing out doors to me by the time we left. 🙂 HAHAHA! Faith knows which buttons to push. 🙂 That line would work for me too.

      We did cram quite a bit in, but still there’s so much to see and do. I hope to get back one day.
      I think it’s pretty cool that you can hop on a train and get there in couple of hours! I’d go a couple of times a year I think if I lived that close. Like me and San Francisco.

      1. I share a wish to have your ability to get into San Francisco. I’m wondering if the other building was the Tavern on the Green. When Faith offered to let me get some door photos, that was the only building I could think of, other than the ones near the Zoo.

        Now I feel like I have to allow time for a longer walk there the next time we go into the city.

        1. It was the building next to the lake where they sail little model boats. I think there’s carousel in the building too. My memory of it is fading already! I wish now I took a shot anyway.

          I hope you go back and get those images! I don’t think I noticed Tavern on the Green. It’s famous!

          1. I think I may have a picture of that building (it may actually be a print from a film camera). That lake was drained and under (re)construction for several years around the turn of the century.

            1. I hope you scan and post it if you do have one! I was delighted to see that lake, and spent several minutes there watching the model boats float, sail, and zip across the lake.

              The park reminded me so much of Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. In fact walking around several areas I felt it was very much like SF, and commented on that to both my sisters.

  3. My first impression of the building (before reading your text) was, hm, I wonder which architectural time period this is from. Then when I started treading, I knew it – it looked like an army base building (the interesting thing is that they look similar to the ones in Europe). Love the door, it looks like one with full of significance!
    Happy you had this time in NY to spend with your sisters!

  4. What an interesting history for an imposing, but beautiful building! It’s hard to believe that they would create something so lovely to hold munitions…I, for one, am glad that they restored it and designated the land it’s on for a park! Thanks for sharing Deb! 🙂

  5. Very nice photos, Deborah. I like that eagle decorating the door. My sisters have become so involved with my door hunting they even go down side streets when I’m with them, to see who can find the best door for me. 🙂

  6. I remember seeing the building when we were there but shame on me for not noticing that wonderful door – nice find 🙂
    And the Met? Don’t even get me started; I’ve been there twice and STILL didn’t have time to see everything I wanted to.

  7. I love the building. We had an armory that was falling into disrepair after years of neglect that they turned into a concert/entertainment venue. I LOVE old buildings. So glad they did not tear that one down.

      1. It breaks heart when I see them fall into disrepair and eventually knocked down. There is an old bank near us I am hoping they find a good use for. Old marble floors, embossed tin ceiling, so pretty.

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