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The Ramble in Central Park: A Wilderness West of Fifth
     

The Ramble in Central Park: A Wilderness West of Fifth

by Robert A. McCabe (Photographer), Regina Alvarez (Text by), Douglas Blonsky (Text by), Sidney Horenstein (Text by), Elizabeth Barlow Rogers (Text by)
 

For many New Yorkers, Central Park is Manhattan’s crown jewel and what makes the city livable year round. For tourists, this urban oasis is a must-see destination on any sightseeing visit. For acclaimed photographer Robert A. McCabe, Central Park is defined by its Ramble—a densely forested thirty-eight acres replete with stunning lake vistas, enormous

Overview

For many New Yorkers, Central Park is Manhattan’s crown jewel and what makes the city livable year round. For tourists, this urban oasis is a must-see destination on any sightseeing visit. For acclaimed photographer Robert A. McCabe, Central Park is defined by its Ramble—a densely forested thirty-eight acres replete with stunning lake vistas, enormous granite boulders, a canopy of trees, winding paths and streams, and ornate and rustic bridges. McCabe’s photographs in The Ramble in Central Park: A Wilderness West of Fifth have captured this wooded labyrinth in its off-the-beaten-path glory in its most photogenic seasons.

The Ramble in Central Park is primarily organized by four regions, supplemented by one large map by Christopher Kaeser of the entire area and four close-ups of each section. The text is a series of essays by writers including The New Yorker’s E. B. White and C. Stevens. Topics cover the history of the park’s creation by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, and the failed attempt of Robert Moses to essentially eliminate the Ramble in the 1950s, as well as the Ramble’s 250 species of woodland birds and the area’s remarkable geology and plant life. A compelling introduction by Central Park Conservancy President and Administrator Douglas Blonsky describes the recent renovation and continued protection of the Ramble.

This photography book should appeal to nature lovers, bird watchers, and New York residents and visitors alike. It is the perfect tourist souvenir before or after a visit to Central Park and The Ramble.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Awards 2011 Gold Medal Winner

“McCabe presents his dazzling full-color, four-season photographs of the Ramble, which Douglas Blonsky, president of the Central Park Conservancy, calls “indisputably still the soul of Central Park.” Other contributors weigh in on the Ramble’s flora, fauna and geology in a book that itself is a welcome harbinger of spring.”—The New York Times, February 27, 2011

“Robert A. McCabe’s book of photographs presents a pristine, uncomplicated view of this recently rehabilitated area, recording the changing seasons and the native and exotic plants and birds interspersed with human park visitors…McCabe’s photographs show that even in the heart of the city, the desire to get lost in the wild, however briefly, remains strong.”
-ARTnews

“McCabe captures the stunning lake vistas, towering boulders, winding paths and streams, and rustic bridges of this 38-acre forested section of the park.”
-Audubon.org

“The pictures capture the park’s beauty in all seasons, occasionally juxtaposing spring and winter frames of the same spot. Beyond straight nature shots, McCabe truly captures the serenity that Central Park offers to both natives and tourists needing repose from the concrete and blacktop, and many photos feature a lone individual walking, reading, or just sitting and soaking it in…This alluring combination of factoids mated to glorious photographs will win the hearts of countless New Yorkers for whom Central Park is a blessed oasis. Tourists, nature photography buffs, and nature lovers also will be smitten.”
-Library Journal

“Amply and beautifully illustrated”
-New York Daily News

“Splendidly soulful photographs of my favorite part of Central Park.”
-Dominique Browning, New York Times

“The Ramble is the loveliest spot for afternoon walks and pleasant musings to be found within ten miles of New York.”—The New York Times, July 24, 1860

Library Journal
Photographer McCabe (Deep Freeze!) here turns his lens to Manhattan's famed Central Park, more specifically, its Ramble, a 38-acre section featuring a lake, dense expanses of trees and brush, streams, boulders, paths, and bridges. Shooting in color and black and white, McCabe divides the Ramble into four sections, with chapters dedicated to their distinctive character: East, "The Picturesquely Romantic Ramble"; South, "The Birds of the Ramble"; Gill Creek Valley, "The Plants of the Ramble"; and West, "The Rocks of the Ramble." The pictures capture the park's beauty in all seasons, occasionally juxtaposing spring and winter frames of the same spot. Beyond straight nature shots, McCabe truly captures the serenity that Central Park offers to both natives and tourists needing repose from the concrete and blacktop, and many photos feature a lone individual walking, reading, or just sitting and soaking it in. The text also sports snippets from other volumes about the park, including histories, nature, and other photography works. VERDICT This alluring combination of factoids mated to glorious photographs will win the hearts of countless New Yorkers for whom Central Park is a blessed oasis. Tourists, nature photography buffs, and nature lovers also will be smitten.—Mike Rogers, Library Journal
Dominique Browning
…[a] book of splendidly soulful photographs of my favorite part of Central Park.
—The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780789210913
Publisher:
Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
1,344,313
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

The Ramble in Central Park

A Wilderness West of Fifth


By Robert A. McCabe

Abbeville Press

Copyright © 2011 Robert A. McCabe
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7892-1091-3


INTRODUCTION

Central Park is a great work of art, and most appropriately has been an inspiration to painters, photographers, and writers ever since its creation. The Ramble, completed in 1859, has been a particular focus of the photographer’s art, and Robert McCabe’s images are a valuable contribution to this venerable tradition. McCabe appreciates everything from the smallest detail of an unfurled leaf to the largest vista of the Lake and the New York City skyline beyond, and his scope leaves no leaf unturned.

A “ramble,” defined as both “a walk without a definite route, taken merely for pleasure,” or “an aimless amble on a winding course,” has been in the English language since the sixteenth century, though as an intentionally designed landscape it was first practiced in the nineteenth century, and perfected in Central Park by designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

Originally a barren stretch of rock outcrops abutting a vast swamp, the Ramble area was transformed into an intimate woodland to complement the infinite lakes and meadows and formal geometric settings such as the Mall and Bethesda Terrace. In planning for the main woodland, Olmsted fantasized “[t]here can be no better place than the Ramble for the perfect realization of the wild garden.” He instructed his superintendent of plating, Ignaz Pilat, to create a quasi-subtropical setting similar to those he had experienced in Panama and the South. These landscapes were characterized by the visual interplay of textures, colors, and materials—brushed with dappled light and shade—and combined with the sounds of babbling brooks, rushing streams, and chirping birds that were, in his words, meant to “excite the childish playfulness and profuse careless utterances of Nature” and to evoke mystery, obscurity, and rapture in the mind of the Ramble visitor.

With its twisting paths, meandering streams, dramatic shifts in topography, bold rock outcrops, intimate glades, dense plantings, and a fanciful variety of rustic benches, fences, shelters, stone and wooden arches—even a dark and forbidding cave—the Ramble is the best example of the designers’ “passage of scenery” that compose and recompose themselves as the visitor strolls through the landscape. In contrast to the Ramble’s internal obscurity and complexity, the visitor is teased by external views that open to completely different and breathtaking experiences—Bow Bridge, Bethesda Terrace, Hernshead, Balcony Bridge, the Lake, the bustling traffic on the Drive to the east, Belvedere Caste, and the Upper and Lower reservoirs (the latter transformed into the Great Lawn by 1937).

In 1866, the New York Evening Post declared that “The Ramble is at present the very soul of the Park.” Today, with the restoration of its Lake shoreline in 2009, and the ongoing restoration of its interior woodlands by the Conservancy, we believe that the Ramble is indisputably still the soul of Central Park. It is clearly the wold and dramatic place it was intended to be, as attested by McCabe’s photographs of its splendid landscapes in multiple seasons. Photography is one of the park’s major activities, and this book is a testimony to the countless individual visions that each of the thirty-five million visitors bring to their time in the park. With its detailed map and informative essays, this book offers armchair travelers anywhere in the world the opportunity to take a virtual ramble in the soul of our park.

The Central Park Conservancy is committed to the restoration of the entire Ramble. We invite you to join us as a member of the Conservancy, to ensure that our wilderness west of Fifth is as beautiful in the future as it is in the pages of this book.

—Douglas Blonsky
President of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator

(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Ramble in Central Park by Robert A. McCabe. Copyright © 2011 Robert A. McCabe. Excerpted by permission of Abbeville Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Robert A. McCabe’s other books include Weekend in Havana (Abbeville, 2007); DeepFreeze! A Photographer’s Antarctic Odyssey in the Year 1959; Metamorphosis; On the Road with a Rollei in the ’50s; Greece: Images of an Enchanted Land 1954–1965; Patmos: Pathways of Memory; and China-Greece: Ancient Peoples, Changing Worlds. His photographs have been exhibited in the United States, Greece, and France, and have appeared in numerous publications.

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