Secrets of classic NYC: Central Park

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  • Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

  • Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

  • Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

  • Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

  • Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

  • Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

Photograph: Nitzan Krimsky

One of the expanse's best-known spots is Bethesda Terrace, an open-air pavilion that overlooks the lake at 72nd Street. Designed by park engineers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the structure was intended to blend into the landscape; its decorations take inspiration from nature, with four balustrades that represent each of the seasons. But one discrete carving doesn't fit the motif: On the back of the westernmost winter-themed piece, you'll find a cross and five stars. Its meaning was a mystery until recently, when Sara Cedar Miller, historian of the Central Park Conservancy, discovered that they represent military stars. The terrace was built during the Civil War, and this particular piece hints at the turmoil beyond the tranquil spot. Central Park, enter at 72nd St and Fifth Ave (centralparknyc.org)

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