Central Park: An Anthology edited by Andrew Blauner. Reviewed by Louise Hilton.
In honor of Earth Day and this past Sunday’s downtown celebration, I’m reviewing Central Park, an anthology of short stories by famous writers about New York’s (and, arguably, the world’s) most famous green space. An unusual choice for an Earth Day read, you might think, but not when you consider the amazing work done by the Central Park Conservancy to restore the park to its former promise and beauty and the oasis the Park has been for native New Yorkers and tourists alike for over a century and a half.
Central Park is a must-read for anyone who likes New York, is interested in green spaces, or is just looking for a good short story collection. Highlights are Marie Winn’s “About Those Ducks, Holden” that answers J. D. Salinger’s teen rebel’s eternal question about where the ducks go when the lakes in the Park freeze over (under Balcony Bridge, for the record) and “Goodnight Moon” by Ben Dolnick, about his short tenure as a keeper at the Central Park Zoo.
For more history of the Park, try Genius of Place: The Life of Frederick Law Olmsted by Justin Martin about one of the two brilliant landscape architects who designed the Park (the other was Calvert Vaux). Baton Rouge has a special connection to Olmsted – his son Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., designed the original plans for LSU’s present-day campus! Or check out American Eden: From Monticello to Central Park to Our Backyards: What Our Gardens Tell Us about Who We Are by Graham Wade, Louise Chipley Slavicek’s New York City’s Central Park, or the pictorial history Central Park by Bruce Davidson.
Try Birders, a documentary about a diverse group of birdwatchers (the Park serves as a haven for both the birds and the people intrigued by them in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city).
To learn more about the Central Park Conservancy – so far a staggering $600 million in public and private funds have been raised and invested in the Park’s restoration – visit the official website and for more on Baton Rouge’s own local parks, click here.