An Interesting Gazebo at Elizabeth Street Garden Has Olmsted Ties

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A collector of unique and unusual objects from around the world, Allan Reiver owns Elizabeth Street Gallery in Little Italy, New York City. Adjacent to the gallery is a 20,000-square-foot lot that used to be an eyesore until Allan Reiver leased it from the city government and turned it into a garden oasis filled with trees, grass, flowers, statues, and benches.

Now a much-loved green space where people socialize and relax, the Elizabeth Street Garden includes among its many treasures a gazebo. Acquired by Mr. Reiver, this particular gazebo was once part of a garden designed by famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted.

Born in 1822 to a prosperous merchant, Frederick Olmsted at an early age went to boarding school and was tutored by number of ministers. At age 14, he experienced sumac poisoning, although he would recover, it prevented him from entering college.

With financial support from his father, Olmsted took on a variety of jobs, unsure of his calling. Then in 1857, he became the superintendent of the then-new Central Park, which was still being developed. He would later co-design Central Park and from there went on to design the US Capitol Grounds, plan the Emerald Necklace green space of Boston, create Buffalo’s park and parkway system, as well as may more projects.

In 1872, he formed his own firm, which until his retirement in 1895, completed 550 projects. Olmsted was also deeply involved in environmental preservation efforts long before the environmental movement became a political force. Widely considered as the founder of American landscape architecture and the country’s premier park developer, he died in 1903.


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