Bailey Fountain is an outdoor sculpture in New York City at the site of three 19th century fountains in Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, New York, United States. Renovated in 1956[2] and 2005-06,[3] the 1932 fountain was funded by philanthropist Frank Bailey as a memorial to his wife Mary Louise Bailey.[4] After 1974 thefts, some sculpture elements were stored for safekeeping. The bronze Art Deco design of the Bailey Fountain consists of six monumental figures beginning with the top two, a man representing Wisdom with his left hand on the tiller steering the ship of Life and a woman representing Felicity with her right hand holding a cornucopia. Below them are two other statues, one a chubby standing child helping to shoulder that cornucopia while the second is a laughing Greek mythological figure called Nereus who is the eldest son of Pontus the Sea and Gaia the Earth. To the sides of the fountain are the two remaining aquatic Nereides / sea nymph figures with upper torsos emerging from the water their heads back trumpeting with conch shells as their fish tails twist in the background.[2]

Bailey Fountain
ArtistEgerton Swartwout (architect)
Eugene Savage (sculptor)
Completion date1929-1932[1]
LocationProspect Park, Brooklyn, New York City
Coordinates40°40′26″N 73°58′12″W / 40.67389°N 73.97009°W / 40.67389; -73.97009

Fountain of the Golden Spray edit

1873 dome fountain

The Fountain of the Golden Spray of 1867[5] with a single jet of water was part of the 1867 Grand Army Plaza design.

Dome fountain edit

The 1873 dome fountain by Calvert Vaux replaced the 1867 fountain[6] with a two-tiered, double-domed structure of cast iron and molded sections of Beton Coignet.[7] Gaslights in the 37.2 foot (11.4 m) diameter dome[7] were visible through one of 24 colored glass windows for evening illumination.[8] Additional gaslights mounted in the guardrail illuminated the surface of the pool.[9][10] The Brooklyn Mayor criticized the water use of the fountain which could pump 60,000 gallons an hour,[11] and by the 1890s the fountain leaked and was frequently dry.[12] A boy drowned in the fountain in June 1895.[13]

Electric Fountain edit

Nereus lounging in the 1932 Bailey Fountain's pool

The 1897 Electric Fountain replaced the 1873 fountain and was controlled by 2 operators during scheduled night exhibitions on Wednesdays and Saturdays with audiences up to 30,000.[14] A Brooklyn Park Commissioner's initial plan for a single spout was superseded by Fredric W. Darlington's[15] design, which was presented in May 1897 to the Park Commission.[citation needed] Wilson & Baillie Manufacturing built the fountain, and the commission's "consulting engineer" was C. C. Martin.[16] Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted placed the fountain at the intersection of two broad paths arranged as a Georgian cross within grassy, treeless plots at the quadrants.[citation needed] The "first exhibition" contracted for July 4, 1897,[16] was delayed until August 7 and attended by "fully 100,000 people".[17]

The 6,000 candela "automatic focusing arc lamps" were wired in 3 series circuits for dimming, could each be moved 2 ft (0.61 m) within "silver parabolic reflectors" to narrow or widen the 19 beams,[16] and were positioned in concentric rings around a central light. The lights extended into glass cylinders protruding through the underwater ceiling and were each beamed through switchable disks of colored gels into water jets (there was also a lighted central geyser). The ~2,000 nozzles included umbrellas, ball sprays, wheat sheaves, rings, fans, funnels[16] and whirligigs;[18] with many of the nozzles around the lamp housings.[12] An underground control room on the south of the basin allowed the lighting and hydraulics operators to view through three closely spaced windows in the basin wall[19] 6 in (0.15 m) above the pool surface.[18] A pump recirculated up to 100,000 gallons per hour from the pool in the 120-foot-diameter (37 m) basin.[18] The fountain also had 88 incandescent lamps on the inner edge of the basin's concrete coping, and the Brooklyn Heights and the Nassau Electric railroads[18] donated the electricity.[16]

The 1915 construction of the New York City Subway's IRT Eastern Parkway Line (2, ​3, ​4, and ​5 trains) and BMT Brighton Line (B and ​Q trains) under the plaza left no room for the required infrastructure for the Electric Fountain, which was removed.[20]

References edit

  1. ^ Lancaster, Clay (1972) [1967]. Prospect Park Handbook. New York: Long Island University Press. ISBN 0-913252-06-9.
  2. ^ a b "Grand Army Plaza: Bailey Fountain". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved August 19, 2011.
  3. ^ Prospect Park Alliance Annual Report 2006 (PDF). Prospect Park Alliance (Report). 2006. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on February 28, 2008. Retrieved January 11, 2008.
  4. ^ "Bailey Fountain, NYC Parks profile". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  5. ^ "Prospect Park". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 20, 1867. p. 2. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2011.
  6. ^ "The Plaza Fountain". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 15, 1873. p. 6. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  7. ^ a b Beton Coignet was a method of preparing a very durable concrete which, nonetheless, lent itself to very detailed molds. At the time, the process was thought to rival the very best stonecutting, but was a much cheaper process. The interior of the Cleft Ridge Span in Prospect Park, near the Audubon Center at the Boathouse, is a surviving example. "Artificial Stone". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 29, 1873. pp. Page 2 Column 5. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  8. ^ deMause, Neil (2001). Berenson, Richard J (ed.). The complete illustrated guidebook to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. New York: Silver Lining Books. pp. 32–6. ISBN 0-7607-2213-7.
  9. ^ Rigby, Joe (October 13, 1895). "Illumination Night at the Plaza Fountain, Prospect Park". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 21 Column 2.
  10. ^ "Prospect Park: The Fountain at the Plaza". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 2, 1874. p. 4 column 5. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  11. ^ Hunter also took aim at Stranahan's proposed disposition of the 'East side lands,' the package north of Flatbush Avenue that had been purchased to fulfill Egbert Viele 1861 plan for Mount Prospect Park, but which had been excluded from Olmsted and Vaux's 1866 plan. The change put land titles in doubt and the issue dragged on until the consolidation of the City of Brooklyn into Greater New York. "Municipal. The Mayor Viewing the Park From a Lofty Standpoint". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 23, 1874. p. 4 column 3. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  12. ^ a b "A Fine New Park Plaza". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 27, 1897. p. 14, column 5. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  13. ^ "Problem of the Plaza". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 31, 1895. p. 4, column 4. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011. Retrieved January 9, 2007.
  14. ^ "Grand Army Plaza". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. December 14, 2001. Archived from the original on August 22, 2010. Retrieved August 1, 2011.
  15. ^ In the 1890s, Darlington had erected electrified fountains in locales as diverse as Willow Grove Park in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, and the Crystal Palace in London. "F. W. Darlington, Engineer, Inventor". The New York Times. July 25, 1947.
  16. ^ a b c d e "An Electric Fountain". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 12, 1897. p. 3, column 4. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  17. ^ "tbd". The Mail and Express. New York. August 1897. fountain near the arch…in operation for two weeks … opening night, fully 100,000 people watched the display. …brilliant reds, blues, and greens[verification needed] (cited by Kelsey 1900, p. 237, w/ photos)
  18. ^ a b c d "The Electric Fountain at the Prospect Park Plaza, Brooklyn". The Electrical World. 30. August 21, 1897. Retrieved August 20, 2011. There are twelve combinations of water, spray, jet, and other effects, varying from one to several hundred outlets, and to supply these twelve combinations twelve separate taps are taken from the main pipe extending upward to a corresponding number of gate-lever controlled valves, from which these supply pipes extend up to the bottom of the fountain and pass to the various outlets: 220 
  19. ^ "Our Newest Electric Toy". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 8, 1897. p. 13, column 2. Archived from the original on June 12, 2011.
  20. ^ [Denver's] Friends of the Electric Fountain...have rebuilt [Darlington's 1908] Prismatic Fountain at Feril Lake and rededicated it in August 2008. … The present example follows Darlington's design but using modernized mechanicals. The Garfield Park Conservatory and Sunken Gardens in Indianapolis, Indiana also has a restored electric fountain constructed in 1916."F. W. Darlington's Electric Fountain". Denver: The Friends of the Electric Fountain. February 24, 2006.[permanent dead link]