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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Postcard Thursday: Winter Scene Central Park

Welcome to our new feature, "Postcard Thursday," in which we dive into our extensive archive of New York City scenes to find some gems.

This unusual shot just came into our possession recently. There's no publication date or copyright on the card, but it has to be from 1907 or earlier. Prior to that year, messages had to be only on the front side of card (that's what the little white space at the bottom is for); the back was reserved entirely for the recipient's address.

Early Central Park views have a tendency to be spring and summer images, focusing on the Mall, Bethesda Terrace, Bow Bridge (then known as Swan Bridge) and a few other architectural features. Winter views are less common, even though more people came to park in winter than in summer during its first years in operation. What drew many winter revelers were the Lake and Pond--both used for ice skating--and the carriage drive, which could used for sleighing.

The view in this card is Gapstow Bridge, which crosses the Pond in the southeast corner of the park. When this image was created, the pond was bigger--it used to go all the way to the area occupied by Wollman Rink.

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Read more about the life of Central Park in Inside the Apple

or in our new book:

The birth of Central Park is a chapter in Footprints in New York; the book is out April 15, 2014, but you can pre-order today.

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