Gardens & Landscapes

Central Park NYC: An Architectural View

A lavish and unprecedented exploration of Central Park’s extraordinary and beautifully designed spaces, buildings, sculpture, and follies, in historic photographs and exquisitely detailed watercolors by the authors. Frederick Law Olmsted’s Central Park is famed for its naturalistic design and the beauty and diversity of its landscape features. The rich body of sculpture and architecture in this National Historic Landmark is a cherished element of the city’s cultural heritage and includes pavilions, memorials, and monuments, sculptures, bridges, and arches, gates and rustic shelters, gardens, lakes, and meers, and even a 3,500-year-old Egyptian obelisk. Most remain as originally designed, but some have been altered, a few demolished, and fewer still never realized. Here, after years of meticulous research, shown in contemporary and archival photographs as well as maps of the park, the most beautiful and beloved structures from the park’s 160-year history have been chosen by the authors and depicted as originally designed in ravishing watercolors of exquisite detail. As Hubert de Givenchy noted in his preface to the authors’ previous book, Chinoiseries, and which is equally applicable here with regard to the authors’ watercolors, "These precious documents retrace an époque when taste, extravagance, and sense of fantasy were an essential part of the way in which parks and gardens were embellished, by perfectly inscribing them in nature, then furnishing them with dreams."

About The Author

Andrew Zega and Bernd H. Dams are well-known architectural historians and illustrators specializing in architecture and garden history. They have coauthored and coillustrated four books. Their exquisite watercolors are noted for their realist technique and historical accuracy and are regularly featured in numerous periodicals as well as in major architectural journals; they have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums in the United States and in France.

  • Publish Date: September 10, 2013
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Category: Architecture - Landscape
  • Publisher: Rizzoli
  • Trim Size: 10 x 12
  • Pages: 208
  • US Price: $75.00
  • CDN Price: $75.00
  • ISBN: 978-0-8478-4079-3


“Tributes to Central Park usually focus on is stunning vistas, but in Central Park NYC the authors explore the park’s multitude of overlooked smaller structures, statues, benches, and bridges. Their original watercolors and photographs and revealing text redefine the coffee table book: More than just pretty pictures to be savored, these images will enrich and deepen the reader’s experience…” ~New York Times

“…Bernd Dams and Andrew Zega explore the architecture of the park’s most beautifully designed and intriguing buildings and sculptures through wonderful watercolors, archival documents and historic photographs from its inception to present day. Even the most seasoned New Yorker who thinks they know everything about the 160-year-old park will  enjoy the behind-the-scenes history discussing how many of the park’s original elements have been altered, demolished, or were sadly never realized…is a must for those who love architecture.” ~Array

"This well-researched book shows the parts of Central Park the park through modern and archival photographs and distinguishes the original parts of the park from those that have been altered over the years. It also uncovers parts of Central Park that are unknown to most."

“This volume, through the author’s exquisite watercolors accompanied by contemporary and archival photographs, explores the rich diversity and design of Central Park and its architecture, sculpture and ornament…artwork brings back to life many of the park’s features that have been altered, demolished or never realized. This is a wonderful volume for anyone interested in history, the decorative arts, architecture, urban planning or the cultural heritage of NYC. Even for those who live in New York and walk the park’s paths daily, you will find new and old visual treats and surprises that help illuminate the park’s glorious past, present and perhaps future.” ~Quintessence

Author Bookshelf: Andrew Zega, Bernd H. Dams