City Pulse

By Raine Marlowe Graves

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Need to recharge your citified self? Is the lack of scenery making you feel nature-hungry? Take a short trip to Olana State Historic Site, a part of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Close to two and a half hours from the center of our Manhattan universe is the home of one of America’s most impor-tant artists, Frederick Edwin Church (who was a major playa of the Hudson River school of landscape painting). This abode offers some great alternatives to an otherwise urban weekend. You can ramble about the landmark house or stroll the grounds that are host to magnificent mountain and river views – all the while soothing your urban soul with the sights and sounds of area birds and wildlife. This ain’t midtown!

On Sunday April 1st at 6PM, Olana begins its Spring Birding Experience. Throughout the month, these free walks will offer various bird-themed nights – Woodcock and the Olana Farm Complex site, Early Birds, Mother Birds, and Nesting Birds. Tour the farms grounds and meadows and keep your eyes to the sky! Visit their website for other excit-ing events to get your nature on!

For information visit www.olana.org or call (518) 828-0135, ext. 305. These events are family friendly and will run rain or shine. Olana is located on Route 9G in Hudson, NY.

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The beauty of the Hudson Valley through Church’s eyes

Bet you didn’t know…

Who Frederick Law Olmstead was? A man whose name translates literally to “planter of the Elms” this scenic artist is considered the mack-daddy of American landscape ar-chitecture and the most prolific United States parkland designer. We have this nature magician to thank for our beloved Central Park as well as Prospect Park in Brooklyn. Olmstead was also a distant relative of Olana’s Frederic Edwin Church, and the two also shared a common thread in friend and architect Calvert Vaux, who designed Church’s Olana, and assisted Olmstead in creating New York City’s Central Park.

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Biltmore House & Gardens, Asheville, NC

Not content to just bless our fair cities, he also fashioned the Niagara Reservation in Ni-agra Falls, the Emerald Necklace in our brother city Boston and the gardens surround-ing the US Capital Building, the grounds of Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate, in Asheville, NC, among many others.

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Central Park

It if said that Central Park echos his societal awareness and ideas of equality, utilizing a common green space open to all – a concept not embraced or in practice at the time. Thank you Freddy – you’re the man!

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Boston’s Emerald Necklace

Originally published March 2007
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