Tucked there between the Upper West and Upper East Side of Manhattan is the glorious urban sprawl of green grass, glowing ponds, and endless trees — Central Park herself. It’s fair to say that no trip to the Big Apple is complete without it.
And now, after 40 years of decay and graffiti, the once-forgotten Central Park Belvedere Castle has been restored to its former glory.
Naturally, it leaves us with the question: how did we survive without this fine touch of royalty for so long?
The Central Park Belvedere Castle was an intricate part of the original park design. Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux drew it up in the initial plans, and the castle was completed back in 1872.
The name “Belvedere” means “beautiful view” in Italian. And truly, at the time, it was (before it fell to disrepair, echoing the urban decay over the previous century).
In late June 2019, after a 15-month, $12 million-dollar restoration project, the Belvedere Castle has reopened, with all original grandeur. And as Christopher Nolan, the Central Park Conservancy’s head landscape architect tells Architectural Digest, the fresh restoration includes flairs of modernity alongside commitment to age-old details.
“The structure has really become both a historic one and a very contemporary one at the same time,” he says.
A Faithful Recreation
The team of architects and designers looked to old plans of the decorative wooden towner, which now reclaims its position in the northwest corner of the pavilion. They further added checkerboard bluestones along the terrace — another element from the old design.
Of course, all the “old world” updates get a fresh boost of strength and sustainability. Think: better waterproofing and drainage systems. This will ensure that the castle will be around for hundreds of years in the future.
Those who want to explore Central Park from a scientific standpoint can use the castle’s field packs; they contain binoculars, reference materials, maps and a notepad to jot down observations.
Of course, Central Park Conservatory will illuminate the castle at night. It will be a beautiful nighttime venue for all New Yorkers: one that upholds the history of the city, whilst pushing forward to a better, more prosperous future.