The Southwest Corner
The Central Park Conservancy is launching an initiative to renovate and restore the Southwest Corner of Central Park. This site is anchored by Merchants’ Gate at Columbus Circle, which is the most heavily used entrance to the Park with 4 million visitors annually (nearly 10% of total Park visitors). As such, it is used by thousands of people each day, including local New Yorkers who live and work nearby as well as national and international tourists.
The scope of the project will encompass the area south of West 66th Street, west of Seventh Avenue, and up to the edge of the Lower Loop Drive – approximately 12 acres. Currently, the lawns suffer from overuse, compaction, erosion and off-path circulation; the perimeter sidewalk and plaza are in need of repair and restoration; the landscapes are underdeveloped; the site lacks an irrigation system; and the restroom is not ADA-accessible and has limited seasonal access.
SCOPE OF RESTORATION
This project will include:
• Installation of irrigation infrastructure to maintain both restored and new lawns and landscapes
• Reconstruction of the perimeter pavements from Merchants’ Gate to West 66th Street
• Renovation of the bathroom interior and exterior for all-weather, year-round use and accessibility
• Reconstruction of paths for accessibility and improved visitor experience
• Reconstruction of curbs for storm water diversion and landscape protection
• Restoration of eroded lawns through re-grading and the establishment of new turf
• Planting of new groundcover, understory shrubs and small trees throughout the landscape
• Establishing seasonal landscape plantings at entrances, along perimeter wall and around arches
• Installation of new site furnishings, including benches and drinking fountains, throughout the site
Operation enhancements include:
• Two full-time Zone Gardeners
• Full-time PEP (Park Enforcement Patrol) Officer dedicated to the Southwest Corner to enforce Park policies
• Oversight of the two kiosks at Merchants’ Gate
• One kiosk will be used as an information/welcome center/gift kiosk manned by Conservancy staff
• Second kiosk will be used by the concessionaire Bike and Roll to organize legal bike rentals at the entrance
• Installation and management of tables and chairs surrounding CPC kiosk
The Southwest Corner initiative is a $5 million undertaking, and to date the Conservancy has raised $2.5 million towards this goal.