Central Park: The Grand Vision
ORNAMENTAL BRIDGES AND ARCHWAYS
Pine Bank Arch
Bank Rock Bridge
Green Gap Arch
The Terrace Bridge
Southeast Reservoir Bridge
Reservoir Bridge Southwest
SMALL RUSTIC BRIDGES
Spur Rock Arch Marble Arch Outset Arch
A familiar sight in the park in the 1930s, in the neighborhood of 64th Street, was Alfred E. Smith, former governor of New York State, who lived at 820 Fifth Avenue. Dressed all in brown, even to a brown derby, he would be seen going to the Menagerie. The Menagerie, to say the least, was hardly up to animal care standards even for those days. So when Robert Moses was named park commissioner by Mayor La Guardia, the former governor asked his old protege to do something about the cages and generally poor condition of the animals. The result was the Central Park Zoo.
On deciding to build the Zoo, the Department took more park land. Outset Arch, which was in the way, was destroyed.
Outset was a cast-iron bridge spanning the bridle path at roughly the southwest corner of the present Zoo. Originally, the bridle path came east around the north end of the Pond, then went under Green Gap Arch to turn south and exit at 60th Street. Due to the ever-growing popularity of the park, there resulted a second wave of bridge construction, after the Civil War, chiefly in the south end. Outset was started in 1873 and finished in 1875. Like the still-standing Pine Bank Arch, and the vanished Spur Rock Arch, Outset had an elaborate arch, railings and posts as we know from fourteen surviving drawings. The cast-iron tracery and other ornament, very much part of the Civil War era, distinguished it. Today, of course, were it still standing, it would have been preserved and restored as were Bow Bridge, Pine Bank Arch, Gothic Bridge and the Southeast and Southwest Reservoir Bridges.