The Untermyer Gardens, a New York Pairidaeza

Story from the Wall Street Journal | by Lee Lawrence :::

The Grounds

Part of the Story :::

According to a 1918 article in Architectural Review, the need for a privacy wall along what is now North Broadway dictated Bosworth’s approach. Rather than looking to European and Japanese models as he had for Rockefeller, he drew inspiration from the world’s oldest-known lineage: Persian gardens, which began with King Cyrus in the sixth century B.C., then spread and evolved through Arab and Islamic rulers. Think Spain’s 13th- to 14th-century Alhambra or India’s 17th-century Taj Mahal.

Sheltered by a crenellated wall with octagonal watchtowers, this upper garden remains the centerpiece of Bosworth’s design. Its layout and governing principles are Indo-Persian, its structures and embellishments Greco-Roman. The relief by Ulric Ellerhusen above the entrance, for example, depicts a reclining woman holding a quiver of arrows. She is Artemis, goddess of fertility—which makes sense for a garden—but also of the hunt. This is puzzling until you ponder the etymology of early gardens. When Persia’s Cyrus the Younger hosted a Spartan general in 407 B.C., he showed him a pairidaeza—or an enclosed park where a prince could hunt. Only later did the word migrate into Old Hebrew and Greek, attaching itself to the Garden of Eden and giving rise to the notion of enclosed gardens as reflections of heaven.

via The Untermyer Gardens, a New York Pairidaeza, Back in Bloom | by Lee Lawrence –

The Untermyer Gardens, a New York Pairidaeza, Back in Bloom | by Lee Lawrence -

From the Untemyer Garden website :::

Bringing History Back to LIfe
The Untermyer Gardens Conservancy is a non-profit organization that will facilitate the restoration of Samuel Untermyer’s gardens in Yonkers, New York.
Before his death in 1940, they were among the most celebrated gardens in America. Designed by Welles Bosworth in 1912, the gardens sprawled over 150 acres overlooking the Hudson River, maintained by 60 gardeners and supplied by 60 greenhouses. It was open to the public on a weekly basis during the 1920’s and ’30’s. 30,000 people visited it in one day in 1939.
A core part of the gardens was acquired by the City of Yonkers in 1946. In the 1990’s, another parcel was acquired, bringing the total today to around 43 acres. While the core is intact, much of the gardens are in ruin.
With the cooperation of the Yonkers Parks Department and input from Marco Polo Stufano, Founding Director of Horticulture at Wave Hill, Untermyer Gardens will once again dazzle the garden-loving public with its brilliant design.
Funds raised by the Conservancy will be used to augment existing Parks Department personnel at the gardens with a horticultural specialist. Timothy Tilghman has been working full time in the gardens since June, 2011.
In addition, the budget for new plantings has been greatly increased from its previous level. An ambitious program of planting is now underway. The focus for years 2011-2012 will be on the core walled garden area. In the following years, other areas of the gardens and park will be re-imagined.

The Untermyer Gardens

The Untermyer Gardens

The Untermyer Gardens

Location and Directions
Untermyer Gardens is located at 945 North Broadway in Yonkers.
The Walled garden is open Monday through Saturday, 7am – sunset year round. On Sundays from April till October, the walled garden will remain open from noon till dusk. The walled gardens will be closed on the following holidays: New Year’s, MLK, Lincoln & Washington’s birthdays, Easter, Columbus, Election (Nov 5), Thanksgiving and Christmas. The remaining open holidays will follow Sunday hours.
The rest of the park is open daily from dawn to dusk.
Dogs are not permitted.

The Untermyer Gardens - taken in the 1930s

The Untermyer Gardens - Greek Theatre

The Untermyer Gardens - Historical Image

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