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212 Views of Central Park: Mick Hales



Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

FANCY A stroll in Central Park?

Nothing, of course can compare with the real thing but failing that, photographer, Mick Hales and journalist, Sandee Brawarsky's delightful book, 212 Views of Central Park is the next best thing.

Simply turn a page and you're an ocean away, in the very heart of New York, the city that never sleeps - in what is, undoubtedly, a welcome refuge from the frenetic pace of city life, Central Park.

It was in the 1850's that a team of artists and engineers, led by American landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted and English architect, Calvert Vaux executed a prime example of land regeneration - turning scrubby brush, rocky outcroppings and stagnant swamps into what was to become America's first landscaped urban park; the 843 acre, rectangular-shaped Central Park that we know and love today.

And it's all here in Hales and Brawarsky's book which, for convenience, is divided into eight sections - none of the seasonal variety although the seasons are prominently displayed and rightly so.

It was Henry Cleveland who, as long ago as 1870, proclaimed: 'It (Central Park) is a favourite resort at all seasons of the year, and he who visits at each is confidant that he has seen it in its most beautiful time'.

However, Rooted in Place which explores gardens and landmarks, such as Bethesda Terrace, and Water Views which clearly speaks for itself, are just two sections worthy of note.

Each is accompanied by an essay that delves into the past, explores the present and delivers a wealth of information that will surprise as well as enlighten. And needless to say, the images are of a quality readers have come to expect in a book of this nature.

Finally, the number 212 - not just any old number but the area code for Manhatten; the district of New York in which Central Park lies. A nice touch indeed.

So - do you fancy a stroll in Central Park?

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