Although it’s one of the most visited city parks in the world, Central Park is chock-full of hidden spots and historic treasures that even native New Yorkers don’t know about. Designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the 840-acre park has served as an oasis for city dwellers for over 150 years. Ahead, learn about some of Central Park’s lesser-known sites, from its waterfalls and whisper bench to a Revolutionary War-era cannon. And if you’re unable to visit the park due to the current health crisis, the Central Park Conservancy has launched #MyCentralPark at home for fun park-related activities for both kids and adults.
Central Park Conservancy
Rendering courtesy of Susan T. Rodriguez Architecture | Design and the Central Park Conservancy
The $150 million plan to build a new pool and ice rink at the northern end of Central Park is facing backlash from local swimmers and skaters. Last September, the Central Park Conservancy revealed a project to replace the aging Lasker Rink and Pool and create space for year-round recreation. But a group of hockey players and swimmers is asking the conservancy to revise its plan, which they claim would reduce the space they can use, eliminating some of the programs offered.
Photo via Flickr cc
You don’t have to go upstate to experience the magic of fall foliage–right here in Central Park, there are 20,000 trees, many of which “transform into golden shades of yellow, orange, red, and more.” Which is why the Central Park Conservancy has released its 2018 Fall Guide, complete with a map of the best spots to catch the autumnal bliss, as well as a list of upcoming fall tours.
Via Central Park Conservancy
Central Park’s Lasker pool and ice rink is set to undergo a major makeover, funded collectively by the Central Park Conservancy and the city. As first reported by the Daily News, the pool and rink will close for construction in 2020 for three years. The refurbishment will better connect the North Woods and the Harlem Meer, both currently blocked from one another by the rink.
Photos via Central Park Conservancy
The Belvedere in Central Park was conceived as a miniature castle by Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the park, in 1869. It opened with some of the best views of the city’s prized green space–the name Belvedere was chosen as it is Italian for “beautiful view.” But the years have taken their toll on the stone structure, which has not been renovated since 1983. Now the Central Park Conservancy will close it to address issues like cracked pavement, a leaky roof, and plumbing issues. Starting this Monday, February 26th, Belvedere Castle will be off-limits to the public for its restoration, and will not reopen until 2019.
Joggers in Central Park, via Wikimedia
If you’re suddenly feeling inspired to start running with all the talk of the New York City Marathon on Sunday, a map created by the Central Park Conservancy will help you get moving. While Central Park no longer serves as the only spot marathon contestants race through as it did during the city’s first marathon in 1970, it remains an oasis for runners of all experience levels. The conservancy’s guide maps out the many loops and trails of the park to help you hit the ground running in preparation for next year’s marathon, or even just starting a new hobby.
Central Park in Autumn, photo via Anthony Quintano on Flickr
Central Park’s most dazzling and vibrant season has arrived. With over 20,000 trees and 150 species of trees spread across 843-acres, Central Park in autumn remains a cannot-miss spectacle for New Yorkers. Thankfully, the Central Park Conservancy created a fall foliage map making it easy to find the leaves with the brightest shades of gold, yellow, red and orange this season.
Photo of the Central Park Conservancy Film Festival via Shinya Suzuki’s Flickr
Celebrate the end of summer with the 2017 Central Park Conservancy Film Festival, which kicks off Monday night with the showing of the 2014 remake of “Annie.” In addition to Central Park screenings, the film festival will include free outdoor screenings in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park and Jacob Riis Park in the Rockaways. This year’s lineup features movies filmed in New York, including “The Wiz,” The Great Gatsby,” and “The Godfather.” All of the movie screenings are free to attend and tickets are not necessary.
Central Park’s Belvedere Castle will undergo major renovations beginning this summer and early fall, to fix the 146-year-old structure’s cracked pavement, leaking roof and plumbing issues. While the plan to give the castle a face-lift was approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission last month, the plan to make its path handicap-accessible has not yet been approved. According to the New York Times, preservationists are concerned about the Central Park Conservancy’s proposal to build a ramp-like elevated walkway to the castle’s entrance, saying it would alter the experience of Central Park.
While the outside of the Belvedere Castle looks strong, the inside of the 146-year-old fortress is actually crumbling. The cracked pavement, leaking roof, and plumbing issues encouraged the Central Park Conservancy to start a 10-year $300 million campaign last summer to renovate its structures, as well as surrounding playgrounds. As DNAInfo reported, beginning at the end of this summer and early fall, the castle, the Bernard Family Playground, and the Billy Johnson Playground will be closed for reconstruction.