The Nomad residences for sale at 212 Fifth Avenue in the Flatiron District exceptionally exemplify how designers combine the city’s rich architectural history with 21st-century technology and comfort, to stunning effect. This strategic mix of tradition and innovation is also the stamp of Madison Square Park, nestled in the heart of Flatiron and Nomad. A masterpiece, Madison Square Park was created in 1870 by Austrian landscape designer Ignatz Pilat, whose vision still defines the park today. Pilat, who found his inspiration working in the gardens of Vienna and Venice, was eventually discovered by Frederick Law Olmsted and brought to New York to become Central Park’s chief gardener. The story goes that Olmsted took note of the young landscape architect’s work in a portfolio he submitted for a contest for the design of Central Park.
Influenced by the work of his famous mentor, Pilat designed Madison Square as a space where careful design shares the beauty of a pleasure garden and the wilderness of nature. Pilat wanted to create a circular layout as a winding respite from the hard grid of the city, making it feel even larger than it is, while his intersecting paths and careful plantings of deciduous trees create a landscape ripe with the possibility of reverie and discovery. Pilat’s mission was not to remind you of your location in an important city, while emphasizing that nature can live and thrive in such a location, making you an integral part of it.
Pilat also introduced many of the sculptures that still dot the park, connecting it with the city’s—and the country’s—past. The pieces include Randolph Rogers’s statue of
Secretary of State William H. Seward, the man who purchased Alaska and the first New Yorker to be honored by a NYC public monument. From 1876 to 1882, the space was even home to the Statue of Liberty’s right arm and torch, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi: in archival photographs of a cobblestoned Madison Square, you can see the disembodied arm towering over trees and buildings during a long-term stay thought up by Bartholdi, attracting the funds necessary for the magisterial statue’s completion.
Today, Pilat’s designs and decorations have become a lasting infrastructure of the park, where strollers through its grounds can feel the city’s storied past winding in and out of 21st-century additions like Shake Shack and contemporary artworks like Martin Puryear’s Big Bling, harkening back to the monumental presence of Lady Liberty’s torch and to Pilat’s vision of public space, thoughtfully formed for the pleasure of the city dweller. That vision and pleasure are now singularly available to residents of 212 Fifth Avenue, for whom Madison Square Park will be as inviting as the best of city attractions and as close as a backyard.