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…