Sunday, December 26, 2010

Coincidence, I think so

It has been a while since I took my camera out for a run.  I finished up at Grand Army Plaza.  The Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Arch was as a monument to the victory of the Union Army in the Civil War. It faces due South.  It was designed in 1889 and finished in 1892.  It is where it is because it was built as an entrance to Prospect Park itself.  It faces due South to kinda stick it to the Confederacy....  The Grand Army of the Republic won, you lost.  he he he..

I took this photo

Look through the middle of the Arch, you can see the Empire State Building.

Here, I will zoom in for you.

The Empire State Building was built in 1930.  It is on 5th Ave between 33rd and 34th Streets in Manhattan.  It occupies the former site of the Waldorf Astoria.

When the sun is right it makes for a pretty picture.  The trees, the Arch, and the iconic Empire State Building.  As the crow flies, it is about 6 miles away.

Many nice photo can be seen at this website.  This is the website of Richard Kessler he calls this the Brooklyn Mirador and claims that it is not a coincidence.  Before the intersection of 5th Ave and 34th Street was the original location of The Waldorf, it was just 350 Fifth Ave.

"In 1865, as the Civil War ended, the Brooklyn Park's elliptical entrance plaza was planned so its axis would point at the 350 Fifth Avenue mansion of William Backhouse Astor. Astor was a leader of a group of influential Democratic politicians and merchants.  This group, weeks after the election of Lincoln in November 1860, in order to prevent war or secession, held the 'Pine Street Meeting'.  They appointed a committee headed by former President Fillmore that was to assure the South and Jefferson Davis of their support to amend the Constitution to provide permanent protection for slavery.  Their activities may have contributed to the atmosphere which led to the Draft Riots of July 1863 and continuing strong northern anti-Lincoln sentiment."

That is a lot of bla bla.  It could be true, but if you look the other way the Arch faces South.  It is a monument to the victory of the North over the South in the Civil War.


  1. Yes, of course. Like a lot of things in life, it all depends on the way you look at it!
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Coincidence that the Colored Orphans Asylum, a target of the Draft Rioters, was just a few blocks north of 350 Fifth Avenue?

  3. That could be true, but I don't see the connections to fact that you can see the Empire State Building through the Arch.......

  4. I'd be skeptical that the arch was built to face South but also to face that particular Manhattan site, but even if it's so, it certainly wasn't a sight-line when the arch was built 40 years before the ESB. Very different from the Greenwood to Statue of Liberty sight-line.

  5. Thanks for your kind mention.
    The alignment existed 20 years before the Arch. The Plaza opened in 1867 with a single jet of water as its centerpiece along the axis which was aimed at 350 Fifth Avenue. In 1869, the Lincoln Stature was dedicated at the north end of the Plaza's axis, facing the the unseen mansion 5 miles away, he is pointing to the Emancipation Proclamation, lecturing them from the grave.
    Olmsted, Vaux and Stranahan were strong Lincoln men. Astor was not. Reconstruction was aborted 1877. In 1895, 3 years after the plain Arch was dedicated at the south end of the Plaza, Omlsted retired, the Lincoln statue was turned around and abandoned in the Concert Grove. Vaux was found drowned in Gravesend Bay in November and six months later the Supreme court ruled racial segregation Constitutional - Separate but Equal. The Astor Mansions became the Waldorf Astoria, the Arch was draped with statuary and Brooklyn merged into NYC. 1931 - Empire State Building.
    Two years after his assassination, the JFK bust is unveiled where Lincoln stood, facing North, 1965. In 1970, the Mirador was completed two years after the assassinations of MLKingJr and RFKennedy.
    The Mirador is a concrete base and the lamppost it supports, which is the only place to stand to see the Empire State Building precisely bisect the Arch's interior - its aerial just brushing the ceiling.
    Thank you


You do not have to be nice!


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