New York City's Points of Interest 1891 Part I
 

 
 

CENTRAL PARK

It was but a half a century ago that the open square now known as City Hall Park was the principal ground of recreation, and
around which the fashion of the period centered. To take the place of this old time spot Central Park now offers opportunities equal to if not greater than any other park in the world. Easily accessible by the Third and Sixth Avenue Elevated Railways and by the Third, Fourth, Broadway, Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenue tram-car lines, this pleasure ground is a boon to the thousand upon thousands of pleasure seekers who gladly grasp the opportunity during the warm months to escape the city's fetid atmosphere and hail the cooling breath as it sweeps over the greensward and sings through the tree-top. The complete length of Central Park from Fifty-ninth Street to One-hundred Tenth Street is two and one half miles, while from Fifth to Eight Avenue the distance is one-half mile. There are nine and one-half miles of Park roads; five and one-half miles of bridle paths, while the park walks make a total length of twenty- eight and one-fourth miles. The park contains eight hundred and seventy-nine acres of which the new reservoir covers one hundred and seven acres, the old reservoir thirty-five acres, the pond at Fifty-ninth Street and Seventh Av6nue contains five acres; there are twenty acres of the Lake; two and one half acres of conservatory water, two acres of the Pool, twelve acres of the Harlem Moor, and one acre of the Loch.

THE CHIEF POINTS OF INTEREST include first, the menagerie at the Arsenal, where the lions, tigers, monkeys, birds, etc., are
kept on exhibition. One of the highest points in the Park from which a fine view of the Park may be obtained is the tower
known as the Belvedere. From this may be seen the Mall with its broad walk lined with trees, ending at the Terrace, the
latter leading down to the Esplanade and Fountain at the shore of the Lake. From the Tower is also seen a portion of the
Ramble, a bit of woodland and grass sward, full of winding paths and quaint nooks, including a cool and picturesque cave. One
of the greatest curiosities to be found in Central Park is THE OBELISK, which stands upon a knoll near the Metropolitan
Museum of Art. It was presented to the city of New York by the Khedive of Egypt. Lieutenant-Commander Gorringe, U. S. N.,
after three years struggle, obtained possession of the Obelisk and moved it to its present site at an expense of nearly one
hundred thousand dollars, which was borne by Wm. H. Vanderbilt. It was finally swung into position January 2, 1881. The
height of the Obelisk from base to tip is sixty-nine feet and two inches. The measurement of the base square through it axis,
is seven feet, eight and three-quarters inches. This monolith weighs two hundred and one-fourth tons. It was made at the
command of the Egyptian King, Thutmes III., fifteen centuries before Christ, and is considered one of the great objects of
the Park curiosities. It is a fact not generally remembered that THE GREAT STONE WALL that runs almost entirely around
Central Park and was contracted for to be built at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars, caused the builders endless
ruin. It was in the Tweed times and the contractor agreed to use certain grades of mortar, etc., and have the wall completed
within a set period. He fell short of both promises and thereby violating his pledge he failed to receive the price
stipulated and the combination of bad luck plunged him into lasting bankruptcy.

One of the great attractions in the Park is the MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, at Eighty-seventh Street. This rare place of
interest was first founded in the Arsenal in 1869. The present building, especially erected for it, is of large size, and one
of a series that can be erected as required. The collection of natural, historical and geological specimens is very
extensive.

THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART is also located in the Park, on the Fifth Avenue side, near Eighty-third Street. The building is 218 feet in length by 95 feet wide and built of brick with sandstone trimmings and in 1890 was enlarged beyond its
original dimensions. This museum contains the Cesnola collection of antiquities from Cyprus and the Blodgett collection of
pictures. A great number of the pictures are of vast value.

THE PROMINENT STATUES embrace those of Shakespeare, Morse, Scott, Webster, Burns, Schiller, Halleck, Humboldt and Hamilton.

The other parks of prominence are Madison Square, Union and Washington Squares—the latter formerly a Potter's Field, while
not fifty years ago, a creek cut through it and ran off to the Hudson River. There are Stuyvesant Square, Tompkins Square,
Mount Morris and Riverside Parks and a dozen other green, shady places—all lungs of the city, where the poor may gather and
inhale the fresh breezes.

LIBRARIES.

This city can boast of some of the finest libraries in America, the leading one of course being the Astor Library, in Lafayette Place. This grand book treasury was founded by the authority of the will of John Jacob Astor, through the aid of $400,000 that he set aside for the purpose. The building is a tremendous brownstone and brick edifice, 100 x 200 feet in area and contains nearly 300,000 volumes of books that are free to the public. William B. Astor endowed the institution with $550,000 in addition to the first gift. The wonderful value of this massive pile of books and art treasures to professional men, students, journalists and teachers is simply beyond description. The building is kept open the whole year, with the exception of about ten weeks, from the middle of July until the latter part of September, and its patrons count up into the hundreds of thousands.

Another great library is known as the Mercantile Library in Astor Place, founded in 1820. During 1890, the old edifice was
'torn down and in its place, a magnificent building has been erected. The society is composed of more than 7,000 subscription
members. There are nearly 250,00 volumes in the library.

The Lenox Library in Fifth Avenue, between Seventieth and Seventy-first Streets is another grand institution, founded by
James Lenox and opened in 1877. The property, with its buildings, 192 x 114 feet, and its thousands of volumes of priceless
books, is valued at $2,000,000.

The Apprentices' Library in Sixteenth Street, with its 70,000 volumes, is another monument to New York educational
enterprise. This institution was commenced in 1820, by the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, for the use of
mechanics and apprentices.

The Bar Association has also a fine library at No. 7 W. Twenty-ninth Street; then there is the Municipal Library at the City
Hall; the American Institute Library at Cooper Institute; the Harlem Library in upper Third Avenue; the Historical Society's
Library, Second Avenue and Eleventh Street; the Law Institute in the Post Office building; the Molt Memorial, at No. 64
Madison Avenue; the Printers', in Chambers Street; the Young Men's Christian Association Library, Twenty-third Street and
Fourth Avenue; and a number of free circulating libraries at No. 36 Bond Street, West Forty-second Street, and numerous other
points in New York.

The Lenox Library in Fifth Avenue, between Seventieth and Seventy-first Streets is another grand institution, founded by
James Lenox and opened in 1877. The property, with its buildings, 192 x 114 feet, and its thousands of volumes of priceless
books, is valued at $2,000,000.

The Apprentices' Library in Sixteenth Street, with its 70,000 volumes, is another monument to New York educational
enterprise. This institution was commenced in 1820, by the General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen, for the use of
mechanics and apprentices.

The Bar Association has also a fine library at No. 7 W. Twenty-ninth Street; then there is the Municipal Library at the City
Hall; the American Institute Library at Cooper Institute; the Harlem Library in upper Third Avenue; the Historical Society's
Library, Second Avenue and Eleventh Street; the Law Institute in the Post Office building; the Molt Memorial, at No. 64
Madison Avenue; the Printers', in Chambers Street; the Young Men's Christian Association Library, Twenty-third Street and
Fourth Avenue; and a number of free circulating libraries at No. 36 Bond Street, West Forty-second Street, and numerous other
points in New York.

THE POWER OF THE PRESS and its history is perhaps next in consequence, after the parks and libraries. This, from the fact
that the history of New York Journalism from 1800 to the present day, may be said to embrace the essential history of the
city. No metropolis, aside from London, has such mighty engines of power as the press of New York. Standing in the foremost
line of journalistic enterprise, are half a dozen newspapers.

JAMES GORDON BENNETT, the founder of the " New York Herald" was born at New Mill, Keith, in Bauffshire, Scotland, in 1800. His
parents, who were Roman Catholics, had intended him for the church, but after three years study in an Aberdeen Seminary,
young Bennett abandoned the idea of the ministry and sailed for America on April 6, 1819, landing at Halifax. He finally
opened a school at Portland, and in a few months moved to Boston, where, at first penniless, he roamed about friendless until
opportunity offered itself as proof-reader with Wells & Lilly. Here he displayed his ability as a writer of prose and poetry.
In 1822, Mr. Bennett came to New York, where, in 1825 he began life as a journalist, by the purchase of a Sunday newspaper
known as the New York Courier. This sheet was not a success, and Mr. Bennett wrote for other journals, becoming the associate
editor of the " National Advocate," a democratic paper, in 1826. He next became the associate editor of the " Inquirer,"
under M. M. Noah. He was also a member of Tammany Society. He continued in his position until after the union of the "
Courier" and " Inquirer," and in 1832, when General Jackson made war on the United States Bank, Mr. Bennett sustained him;
but it was the policy of Mr. Webb, its editor, to support the bank, and this caused Mr. Bennett's retirement. It was in 1835
that the sun of his career began to arise,

THE NEW YORK HERALD, on May 6, of that year, having first seen the light in a little basement at No. 20 Wall Street. This was
a small, penny sheet, of which Mr. Bennett was the editor. He at once set out in a course that told to the world that his
paper would espouse the right in all things and maintain the dignity of justice. He worked hard, early and late, as his own
compositor, errand boy, collector and accountant. As the time ran on, it was an up-hill fight. But Mr. Bennett proved himself
the master of every occasion. The chance came to erect the present fine building which the " Herald" now occupies, the site
being that upon which the famous old Barnum Museum stood before the flames licked it up in 1865. Mr. Bennett's death in after
years, threw the entire control of the " Herald" into the hands of his son, James Gordon Bennett, the present proprietor, who
is one of the most eminent editors in the world to-day, his great newspaper being a power upon the European and American
continents; one of the greatest strokes in modern journalism being Mr. Bennett's recent establishment of European daily
editions of the " Herald " in London and Paris.

THE HON. HORACE GREELEY, of whom that great, impressive bronze statue rests in front of the ." Tribune " building, established
one of the other of the grand American newspapers. Since Mr. Greeley's death, the paper has been edited and powerfully
conducted by the Hon. Whitelaw Reid, the American Minister to Paris under President Harrison's tenure.

THE NEW YORK TIMES, which is now owned and edited by George W. Jones, was started by Henry J. Raymond, who for years after, was its editor-in-chief. This is one of the high-class, powerful papers of America. with its grand, towering journalistic palace, is now looked upon as one of the greatest enterprises in modern journalism. Originally the leading democratic organ of the city, it was started by the Rev. Dr. McClintock, then pastor of St. Paul's M. E. Church, when wealthy churchmen like Daniel Drew, Cornell and Stout, were stockholders. Dr. McClintock was succeeded by Manton M. Marble as editor-in-chief, with the late D. G. Croly (husband of Mrs. Jennie June- Croly) as managing editor. The great " World" was revolutionized in 1883, when Joseph Pulitzer took hold of it with a daily circulation of 33,541 copies. The circulation of this paper to-day is said to be over 335,000 copies, or a total of more than one hundred twenty-five millions of copies per year.

THE NEW YORK SUN, of which Mr. Charles A. Dana is the editor, is one of the journalistic monuments of this city. Mr. Dana
spends much of his time abroad, during which time the active management of the paper falls upon his able son, Paul Dana.

THE EVENING POST, is one of the most reliable and high-class newspapers of this city, this journal being a child of that
genial, grand poet, the late William Cullen Bryant.

THE MAIL AND EXPRESS, is Col. Elliott F. Shepard's paper, and one of the cleanest, most conservative newspapers published.

THE PRESS, claims distinction as being one of the very stanch republican organs, one of its strongest writers being the
well-known, honorable journalist, Joseph Howard, Jr.

THE STAATZ ZEITUNG is the king of the German papers of America.

THE MORNING JOURNAL, is the great penny paper of this country, and after several changes, is now the property of Albert
Pulitzer, a brother of the owner of "The World."

The other newspapers embrace the "Commercial Advertiser," the "Telegram," which is owned by Mr. Bennett of the " Herald," the
" Evening Sun," the " Daily News," " Evening World" and the " Daily Advertiser."

Among the great weekly journals are Harper's and Frank Leslie's, the latter owned by Mr. Arkell and Russell B. Harrison, who
is the proprietor of "Judge." The other great comic papers are "Puck", "Life" and "Fun."

THE RELIGIOUS PRESS, includes such papers as the "New York Independent," the first number of which was published December in, 1848, and various other notable religious papers, including the "Advocate."

ROBERT BONNER, is the founder of America's greatest story paper, the " New York Ledger." Born in the north of Ireland, not
far from Londonderry, near the spot from which A. T. Stewart emigrated, Mr. Bonner arrived in New York in 1844, from
Hartford, Connecticut, where he had learned the printers' trade with the "Courant." He first entered as an employe of the
"American Republican," then went with the " Evening Mirror," of which Morris, Willis and Fuller were the conductors, and soon
gained control of a small paper known as the " Merchant's Ledger." He began to advertise his paper, and shortened the name to
the " Ledger," Fanny Fern and Mrs. Southworth being two of his first contributors. James Gordon Bennett, Horace Greeley and
Henry J. Raymond soon were added, together with Bryant, Morris, Saxe, the poet, Paul Morphy, Halleck, Bancroft, Cozzens,
Willis, Prentice, Parton and other famous lights that have since gone out. Henry Ward Beecher was also a powerful writer for
the "Ledger." As a consequence, this is considered the leading fiction journal of the country, its old policy always having
been maintained even to the present, since the paper has become the property of Robert Bonner's sons. Mr. Robert Bonner has
been styled the king of the turf, his steeds comprising some of the best horses in the world. " Pocahontas" was one, "
Dexter" another, with his. 2:17 1-2 record. " Maud S." is still another.

THE HOME JOURNAL, founded by N. P. Willis, the poet, is the leading society journal of this city, and now the property of
Morris Phillips.

The Jewish press is most powerfully represented in this city by the " Messenger." There are scores of notable magazines,
among them being " Harper's," " Frank Leslie's," Scribner's," " The Century," "The Metropolitan," "Belford's," etc., while
the dramatic and musical world are supplied with the " Mirror," the " Dramatic News" and John C. Freund's " American
Musician."

 

Website: The History Box.com
Article Name: New York City's Points of Interest 1891 Part I
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina

Source:

BIBLIOGRAPHY: History and Commerce of New York, 1891 Second Edition published by American Publishing and Engraving Co.
Time & Date Stamp: