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03 Jul 2019

Central Park’s iconic Belvedere Castle is restored to its original splendor

Central Park’s iconic Belvedere Castle is restored to its original splendor

In many ways, the story of the Belvedere is the story of Central Park itself. Included in legendary landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s original 1858 vision for the park, it was completed in 1872 and offered visitors a truly “beautiful view” (as its name means in Italian) of the park from a perch atop Vista Rock.

At its best, the Belvedere, which is located in the middle of the park just off the 79th Street Transverse, captured what Central Park Conservancy president and CEO Elizabeth W. Smith described as “a feeling of respite from the urban density that the park represented for everyone who came here.” But the Belvedere’s eventual descent into a graffiti-covered eyesore by the 1970s was symptomatic of New York City’s broader urban decay. Now, thanks to an extensive Conservancy-led renovation project, the Belvedere is poised to further entrench its status as Central Park’s signature architectural attraction once it reopens to the public on June 28.

The 15-month, $12 million effort is both a restoration of the castle-like structure to its original splendor and a modernization effort aimed at preserving and enhancing the Belvedere for generations to come. “What’s old is new again both in terms of modern infrastructure and the re-creation of details that have been lost for the better part of a century,” says Christopher Nolan, the Central Park Conservancy’s chief landscape architect, of his team’s efforts. “The structure has really become both a historic one and a very contemporary one at the same time.”

Read more at Architectural Digest



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