Any New Yorker who loves New York’s architecture and history – and enjoys walking tours – will mourn the passing on May 1st of one of the city’s great contrarians, Henry Hope Reed (click here to read his obituary in the New York Times). Reed lived long enough to see his passion for the city’s past architectural splendors – a distinctly minority view during the ascendance of mid-20th century Modernism – spread far and wide, and the city’s landmarks and historic districts, now treasured by natives and visitors alike, protected by public policy, and lovingly restored. The walking tours that he began leading for the Municipal Art Society in 1956 – not quite 60 years ago – have become a staple of the city’s cultural life, and those of us who lead them today walk in his shadow.
Especially those of us who lead walks through Central Park. (more…)