After a 15-month comprehensive restoration project (costing upwards of $12 million) of one of the most beloved destinations in Central Park, the historic Belvedere Castle site will reopen on June 28, announced Elizabeth W. Smith, President & CEO of the Central Park Conservancy.
Located mid-Park at 79th Street atop Vista Rock, the Park’s second highest point, the Belvedere has offered visitors some of the most sweeping views of Central Park from its terraces and castle for more than a century. The Conservancy created a comprehensive restoration plan to make sure the Belvedere would provide the stunning views for generations to come. The work restored original elements and recreated lost aspects of the Belvedere’s historic design, while modernizing systems for long-term sustainability.
The team dug 400 feet into Vista Rock to construct a geothermal heating and cooling system in an effort to implement a green design. This sustainable and environmentally beneficial system has zero emissions and is energy efficient.
The Conservancy’s work to restore the Belvedere’s structures included:
• • Disassembling and rebuilding the walls enclosing the terraces
• • Installing new waterproofing and drainage systems
• • Cleaning and repairing both the exterior and interior stonework
• • Restoring the three wood pavilions on the terraces
• • Modernizing the Castle’s mechanics and utilities
To restore lost aspects of the Belvedere’s historic design, construction crews recreated a decorative wood tower that was originally part of the large pavilion at the northwest corner nearly 150 years ago. The Castle was originally conceived as an open-air lookout tower. To recapture this open-air view, crews replaced the existing windows and doors with clear pane glass. New lighting will illuminate the Belvedere, making it even more beautiful at night.
This comprehensive restoration was funded by The Thompson Family Foundation.
The Conservancy is also actively planning the next phase of this project, the creation of an accessible route to the Belvedere so that even more visitors can enjoy its views. Preliminary design is underway for the reconstruction of the pathway between the Belvedere and the East Drive.
About the Central Park Conservancy
The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the Park’s annual operating budget. The Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of the Park’s stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continued restoration and rebuilding projects. Additionally, the Conservancy operates the Park’s visitor centers, provides public programs, and serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world.