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The Battery

The Daily Plant : Thursday, August 22, 2002


Professor Ginkgo—man of letters, member of countless learned and tree societies, and preeminent scholar of All Things Parks—has left reclusion after nearly a century to help shed light on the puzzling questions that brush the news desks at the Daily Plant. His name honors the Ginkgo Biloba tree, which is considered to be the oldest species of tree in the world and whose leaves are believed to promote strong memory and mental sharpness. If you have a fun or unusual Parks trivia question, please email him at


Dear Professor Ginkgo:

I’m obsessed with old things. I live in the oldest house on my block. I drive a 1903 Ford Model A car. I’m even writing this letter on an 1878 Remington typewriter. Now I’m wondering, what’s the oldest monument in all New York City’s parks?

Ah, a good question—and a fine choice of typewriter. Now, there are two answers to this question. The oldest man-made object in any park is the Obelisk. Located in Central Park just behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art, many people incorrectly call it Cleopatra’s Needle. In fact, this monument was one of two built in honor of Pharaoh Thutmosis III’s third jubilee (30th year of reign). Its twin stands on the bank of London’s Thames River.

Now, the Fort George Memorial Tablet is the oldest monument originally intended to be placed where it now lies—which is at the north end of Historic Battery Park. A small marker made out of White Vermont marble, this tablet dates to 1817 and was placed there "to perpetuate the site of Fort George." For years, the tablet was believed to be lost, but in 1904 a subway construction worker unearthed the stone. It disappeared again in 1934 but was found again the same year. Much smaller than the Obelisk, this tablet measures a mere 2 ½ feet by 10 inches. So we’d better keep a close eye on it.


(Thursday, August 31, 1989)



In front of an enthusiastic crowd of neighborhood children, Parks officials armed themselves with "golden" shovels to break ground on the $409,000 renovation of the P.S. 1 Playground yesterday morning in Manhattan.

Located on Madison Street between Catherine and Oliver Streets, across from the Alfred E. Smith Houses in Chinatown, P.S. 1 Playground is one of numerous recent capital projects undertaken by Parks, which has a $160 million capital commitment to restore park facilities in all five boroughs during Fiscal Year 1990.


"If you have an important point to make, don’t try to be subtle or clever.

Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again.

Then hit it a third time- a tremendous whack."

Winston Churchill


Directions to The Battery

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