5. Some of NYC’s Most Famous Architects Worked on Morningside Park

1889-Morningside Park-Jacob Wrey Mould Staircases-Construction-NYCPhoto from the Museum of the City of NY

All of the plans for Morningside Park were rejected, and Jacob Wrey Mould was hired to rework Olmsted and Vaux’s designs. Mould also worked on Central Park, producing some of the most notable buildings including Belvedere Castle and the structure which houses Tavern on the Green. He also worked with Vaux on the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History.

The esplanades, steps and masonry walls in Morningside Park were actually part of Mould’s design not Olmsted and Vaux. After Mould died, Olmsted and Vaux were rehired to finish the project in 1887. Most of their contributions are related to the landscaping and vegetation – as they planted trees and bushes that could survive in this rocky environment.

Vaux continued to work as a consultant on the park until 1895, when he drowned in Sheepshead Bay, an incident that was rumored to be a suicide. New York City Parks Superintendent Samuel Parsons Jr. wrote that “No landscape architect who ever lived had a finer sense of the right adjustment of rocks in a park than Mr. Vaux…perhaps Morningside Park was the most consummate piece of art that he had ever created.”