First, you see fragments of the carved grey tower reaching through the lush park toward the sun-filled sky. The roads wind in and out of shading trees, making it appear as though the path ceases to continue around the next bend. Finally, it does end, and there it is, Central Park's Belvedere Castle.
Designed in 1865 by Calvert Vaux and Javod Wrey Mould, Belvedere Castle is perched on top of Vista Rock, one of the park's highest naturally elevated points. Visitors are offered a 180-degree unobstructed view of Central Park, a true rarity in New York City.
Originally, the castle was constructed as a vacant shell with open windows and doorways, providing a view in all directions. Today, Belvedere Castle has windows and doors and houses the Henry Luce Nature Observatory that showcases the work of naturalists and how they observe the world. The display contains telescopes, microscopes, and skeletons and feathers of birds and tiny animals.
In addition to the historical museums within, from atop the fortress is a bird's-eye view of the park's most popular attractions. The Delecorte Theater, also known as the renowned Shakespeare in the Park, sits in front, and to the left is the Great Lawn, a 55-acre stretch of land with a history all its own as one of the park's first natural reservoirs. The Great Lawn is also home to several baseball fields, so on a nice weekend you can take a seat on the grassy lawn and catch a game.
Belvedere Castle gifts sightseers with bird watching kits, providing entertainment for all ages. And for those who want to plan ahead for the weather, located inside the castle are meteorological instruments that have provided New Yorkers with an updated weather report since 1919.
Built originally as a fantastical replica of a Victorian building, Belvedere Castle now plays its part as a 21st-century landmark providing New York City with yet another piece of the past.
- April through October: Tuesday through Sunday: 10am to 5pm
- November through March: Wednesday through Sunday: 10am to 5pm
- Location: Mid-Central Park at 79th Street, New York, NY
- Phone: 212-772-0210
- Website: www.centralparknyc.org