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Niagara Falls in Niagara County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Pastimes and Parkways

An evolving relationship

 
 
Pastimes and Parkways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, November 20, 2020
1. Pastimes and Parkways Marker
Inscription.  
Pastimes and Parkways
An Evolving Relationship

Parkway Predecessors
Before the widespread use of automobiles ushered in the development of parkways, horse and carriage rides were a popular leisure activity of the upper class. This influenced the thinking of prominent figures such as landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and John D. Rockerfeller Jr., who would encourage the development of parkways across the country.
Let’s go for a drive. Couple riding in carriage, 1907 postcard.
In 19th-century America the carriage was not only a means of transportation, it became a means of recreation. Industrialist families such as the Vanderbilts and Rockerfellers included carriage roads in their vast private estates as a means to enjoy the landscape and to leisurely appreciate nature. So important was this leisure experience to John D. Rockerfeller Jr. that he financed the design and construction of the system of carriage roads in Acadia National Park so that others might have a similar experience.
Carriage in Central Park, 1905. Afternoon Procession.
Frederick Law Olmsted integrated carriage roads into the design of
Pastimes and Parkways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, November 20, 2020
2. Pastimes and Parkways Marker
Southward view. Note green sign in background where the parkway ends at Findlay Drive and Whirlpool Street.
Central Park as a distinct feature apart from pedestrian paths and roads. These carriage roads provided recreational opportunities for visitors and were viewed as democratic access to an enriching nature-filled experience.
”Rockerfeller’s interest in road building grew naturally from his father’s, John D. Rockerfeller Sr. The Founder of Standard Oil, Rockerfeller Sr. had built and landscaped carriage roads on his Ohio and New York estates.” – “A Guide to Acadia National Park” National Park Service, 2013, 160.

Parkways and Robert Moses
A parkway differs from a freeway in that the primary goal is recreation rather than transportation. Peaking in the early to mid-twentieth century, the era of parkways occurred in response to established tastes in (carriage) driving as a pleasurable activity, to the widespread ownership of cars, to shifting views of nature, and as a result of government programs such as Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Blue Ridge Parkway. Blue Ridge Parkway overlook, 1946.
Sunday Driver- First originating in the 1920s and 1930s, this term describes someone who drives slowly and leisurely. The automobile was used not just for errands, but for pleasure.
“You are your own master, the road is ahead; you eat as you please, cooking your own meals over an open fire; sleeping when you will under the stars, waking with the
Pastimes and Parkways Marker and Gorge image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, November 20, 2020
3. Pastimes and Parkways Marker and Gorge
Orientation of the marker to the rim of the Niagara Gorge. Whirlpool Rapids Bridge (gray) in background.
dawn; swim in a mountain lake when you will, and always the road ahead. Thoreau as 29 cents a gallon…” – “Two Week’s Vagabonds” The New York Times, July 20, 1922, sec VII, 7.
Saw Mill River Parkway.

The designer of the Robert Moses Parkway, now the Niagara Scenic Parkway, has had a complicated legacy that has drawn criticism from many.
Leveraging Power. Robert Moses was known not only for his efficiency, but for his shrewd methods. These methods included the formation of one-off government agencies to manage his projects with more autonomy. At one point he held 12 positions simultaneously. Robert Moses with a model of the proposed Battery Bridge in 1939.
“And he wanted the parkways to be broader and more beautiful than any roads the world had ever seen, landscaped as private parks…so that they would in themselves be parks…so that even as people drove to parks, they would be driving through parks.” -Robert Moses’ parkway philosophy from “The Power Broker,” Robert A. Caro.
A camping we will go. The automobile culture that characterized the middle of the twentieth century encouraged the commodification of nature. The automobile provided the reference frame from which to access and experience the American landscape.

Parkway Removal
Reasons for parkway removal projects include reconnecting communities
Pastimes and Parkways Marker image. Click for full size.
By Anton Schwarzmueller, November 20, 2020
4. Pastimes and Parkways Marker
Northward view showing the marker and the former southbound lanes of the Robert Moses Parkway.
with nature, improving infrastructure for alternative forms of transportation, and initiating economic growth.
Pedestrian access ahead. Robert Moses removal near the Whirlpool Bridges, 2019. The removal of the Robert Moses Parkway is a response to changing relationships with the environment and preferences for outdoor recreation.
Rethinking the design of existing infrastructure creates opportunities to change how people experience both urban and national environments. Like other four-lane highway removal projects in cities such as Seattle, Milwaukee, Boston, and Cleveland, the removal of the Robert Moses Parkway in Niagara Falls acknowledges transportation needs while improving waterfront and park access for both visitors and also for adjacent communities.
A Greener Future. A section of the Riverway, former location of the Robert Moses Parkway with multi-use trails and scenic vistas.
 
Erected 2020 by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational AreasRoads & Vehicles.
 
Location. 43° 6.999′ N, 79° 3.65′ W. Marker is in Niagara Falls, New York, in Niagara County. Marker can be reached from Niagara Scenic Parkway 0.1 miles
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north of Findlay Drive. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Niagara Falls NY 14305, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Inukshuk (approx. ¼ mile away in Canada); Whirlpool Rapids (approx. 0.4 kilometers away); Eddy Basin (approx. half a kilometer away); Welcome to Whirlpool State Park (approx. half a kilometer away); Niagara Gorge Natural History (approx. half a kilometer away); Challenging the Whirlpool Rapids (approx. half a kilometer away); Niagara Spanish Aero Car (approx. 0.7 kilometers away in Canada); Whirlpool Rapids Gorge (approx. 0.8 kilometers away in Canada). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Niagara Falls.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on November 21, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 21, 2020, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 24 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on November 21, 2020, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.
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Nov. 24, 2020