Period Piece

As I have mentioned before, my house in Brooklyn is just a few paces away from Prospect Park, a lovely, rolling expanse of forest, lake, and greensward landscaped by the great Frederick Law Olmstead.

In addition to its “natural” beauty, the park also offers a delightful variety of Victorian art and architecture, including a great many fountains and statues. Here’s one that I’m particularly fond of: a bust of the writer Washington Irving that stands just off Ocean Avenue, near Concert Grove and the Oriental Pavilion, in the southern part of the park:


Washington Irving was a handsome fellow, and a good writer too, but what I like about this piece is a very small detail indeed — that period after Irving’s name. This is something that would never be done today, and it turns a humble noun into a reverberating statement:


I’m not here to argue — not in this post, at least — that present-day culture lacks style, or gravitas, but folks thought about things differently back then.

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