Brooklyn dreaming beats California dreaming--look where the Child and I went sledding yesterday, right here by Prospect Park's Peristyle. We can actually see this incredibly cool little structure from our front porch; as the late afternoon sun fell across the hillside, we were the only ones taking advantage of the slick downgrade. I turned around to look into the park, and a flock of gulls arose from the lake behind a scrim of black tree branches, leaving a swan tooling along in their wake--it actually took my breath away (that and the 20-degree wind).
In summer, this hill is covered with barbecue party-makers, bikers, and skateboarders, all cheerfully oblivious to the fact that Olmstead and Vaux probably would have been horrified by the 1904 addition of this neoclassical intruder to their masterpiece, which was conceived in the mid-19th century as a pristine faux-woodland with rustic structures and quaint naturalistic follies. Here's some heavy-duty architalk on the little gem from an Aussie named Tom Fletcher, who edits a cool site called nyc-architecture.
…the Classic Peristyle, below South Lake Drive and across from the east end of the Parade Ground…consists of a low platform and a colonnade, with square corner posts and alignments of Corinthian columns between, four in each end and ten on the flank. The supports are of limestone up to the capitals, which, with the entablature, are of whitish terra cotta. Architrave blocks are wedge-shaped, like voussoirs: of a flat arch, and the frieze is filled with a continuous relief of luxuriant foliage. Attic blocks, on axis with the columns, and intervening balustrades surmount the console cornice. The Peristyle sometimes is called the Grecian Shelter, which is a misnomer inasmuch as all of its features are in the Renaissance manner.
Yeah, we hate it when they mix up Greek and Renaissance--just another hazard of sledding in Brooklyn! (Along with totally not knowing what the hell a voussoir is...)