Bronx Zoo Gates

Created for Norm’s Thursday Doors, July 14, 2016.

Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016
Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016
Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016
Fordham Road Gate, Bronx Zoo 7/11/2016

Rainey Memorial Gates (F on the map) are located at the north side of the New York Zoological Park in The Bronx, New York, New York. The bronze gates were built in 1934 in the Art Deco style and designed by noted sculptor Paul Manship (1885–1966), who started work on them in 1926. It is a memorial to the big game hunter Paul James Rainey (1877–1923). The gates feature 22 stylized animals and plant life including the a seated lion. Low bronze screens flank the gate and connect it to the granite gatekeeper’s lodges. The gates are topped by 26 ton slabs of granite. It is a New York City designated landmark and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1972.

The Bronx Zoo is one of the most famous zoos in the world. In 1898, the City of New York allotted 250 acres of Bronx Park to the New York Zoological Society to build a park aimed at preserving native animals and promoting zoology. The Bronx Zoo opened in 1899 and remains one of the largest wildlife conservation parks in the United States, housing 4,000 animals representing more than 650 species.

The area from the Rainey Gate entrance on Fordham Road (landmarked in 1967) to the far end of Astor Court at Zoo Center was landmarked in 2000. The buildings in Astor Court were designed by the firm of Heins & Lafarge, who also designed the original plans for the cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan’s Morningside Heights and many of the subway station details on the IRT line. Another landmarked feature, the Rockefeller Fountain, was built by Italian sculptor Biagio Catella in 1872, donated to the Zoological Society by William Rockefeller in 1903, and moved to its present spot in. Another historic landmark is a souvenir from the Ice Age known as the Rocking Stone overlooking the Buffalo Range. The stone is a rough cube of pinkish granite, resting on a granite slab base; even though it is roughly seven feet high and 30 tons, it is balanced perfectly and cannot be moved. The zoo promotes the wildlife conservation by WCS.

Sources:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bronx_Zoo and https://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/zoos/bronx-zoo