The Arsenal is home to NYC Parks, the Arsenal Gallery, the City Parks Foundation, the Historic House Trust, and the Wildlife Conservation Society. It is one of two buildings within the park's borders which predate the park itself. It was built between 1847 and 1851 by the State of NY as a storage repository for munitions. The project's funding was overseen by state comptroller Millard Fillmore, who later became President of the United States, Designed by architect Martin Thompson, the building is marked by a crenulated cornice, resembling a medieval fortress. Its doorway is guarded by a cast-iron eagle. The building's military use proved short-lived. Between 1853 and 1856, the State seized the land under it for a public park. In 1857 the City purchased the Arsenal for $275,000, removed all arms, and established park administrative functions on the premises.
Currently on-view in the Arsenal Gallery is "Swampland: Photographs by Ruth Wetzel." Wetzel, who will be on-site to discuss her work during OHNY Weekend, spends hours trekking through wetlands photographing diverse plant life and ecosystems found in New York. She isolates intimate details in swamps—plumes of sediment, verdant foliage, and colorful reflections—allowing abstract forms to shine. Swampland includes over 30 photographs of wetlands around her upstate Stone Ridge, New York home and New York City.
Sunday Tour Info: Tours every 30 minutes, beginning at 10am, will be led by NYC Urban Park Rangers, and will visit the Arsenal Lobby, Gallery and Roofs. Last tour leaves at 3:30pm.
Image Credit: Malcolm Pickney