Hannes Richter

Central Park Project

Hannes Richter

New-York Central- Park

"The Ramble is at present the very soul of the Park...Ignaz A. Pilat, a gentleman to whom the public is indebted for the fine effects in the arrangement of plants and the classification of colors which attract visitors of taste to Central Park."Saturday Evening Post , 1866.

Austrians regard New Yorkers as the first victims of new, globalized terror and feel they, too, have a stake in the well being of the "Big Apple.. When Austrians rediscover a great Austro-American of the past, they see an inspiration for today's mutual challenges.

A project to restore an area in Central Park once designed by the Austrian, Ignaz Anton Pilat (1820 - 1870) will soon be launched. The highly romantic area called the "Ramble" was created in the middle of the 19th century. The restoration would not only honor one of Austria’s finest landscape designers but also demonstrate to Americans the Austrian’s love for the "Big Apple." The joint endeavor promoted by the Austrian Consulate General and the Central Park Conservancy in New York reflects how much transatlantic relations are about real people cherishing common challenges, surpassing the ups and down of political agendas.

Ignaz Anton Pilat was born on June 27, 1820 in St. Agatha, Upper Austria. After finishing his studies at the University of Vienna, he worked at the Botanical Gardens of the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna where he acquired his technical skills. Over the years he became quite well known and eventually was called to New York where he was offered a position as landscape gardener in the newly constructed Central Park. The planners of Central Park were the architects, Olmsted and Vaux. Much credit has been given to Ignaz Pilat for the choice of plants, their distribution as well as the detailed landscaping of this huge green lung of the city with its millions of inhabitants. The landscaped vistas, admired so much today, can be attributed to the mastery of knowledge of a great variety of plants. To this day, Pilat’s characteristic style can be recognized throughout many areas of the park. In 1863, this industrious and modest man was appointed chief gardener and superintendent. Some of the preserved letters and reports attest to the great care and gardening experience of Ignaz Pilat.

Only through the commitment of Austrian volunteers as well as financial contributions can this project be accomplished. For those interested in supporting this project, see: www.centralparkaustria.com/english/index.php