Places to see in ( New York – USA ) Belvedere Castle

Places to see in ( New York – USA ) Belvedere Castle

Belvedere Castle is a folly in Central Park in Manhattan, New York City. It contains exhibit rooms and an observation deck, and since 1919, the folly has also been the location of the official Central Park weather station. Belvedere Castle was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in the late 19th century.

An architectural hybrid of Gothic and Romanesque styles, Vaux’s design called for a Manhattan schist and granite structure with a corner tower with conical cap, with the existing lookout over parapet walls between them. To reduce costs it was revised in November 1870 and completed under the Tammany Hall regime as an open painted-wood pavilion. Belvedere means “beautiful view” or “panoramic view” in Italian.

Belvedere Castle was originally built as a shell with open doorway and window openings. Starting in 1919, it housed the New York Meteorological Observatory, which had been taken over by the United States Weather Bureau in 1912. The current weather station in Central Park, an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS), is located immediately south of the castle, though wind equipment is still located on the main tower. The two fanciful wooden pavilions deteriorated without painting and upkeep and were removed before 1900.

The Castle serves now as a visitor center and gift shop. Free family and community programs hosted at Belvedere Castle include birding and other Central Park Conservancy Discovery Programs for families as well as a variety of history and natural history programs led by NYC Urban Park Rangers, including stargazing/astronomy and wildlife-education events.

The Central Park Conservancy proposes to “renovate” Belvedere Castle and reconstruct the access path from the East Drive to ADA standards. The proposed access path − actually an elevated ramp with parapets − has been criticized as creating an unnecessary wall in a naturalistic park. Other plans include replacing existing doors and windows with double paned glass. When it was last renovated in 1983, the original turret was replaced, the pavilions were rebuilt, and the castle was converted into a visitor center.

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