Belvedere Castle is one of Central Park's five visitor centers. Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the Park, created the miniature castle in 1869 as a whimsical structure looking out on the reservoir to the north (now the Great Lawn) and the Ramble to the south. Belvedere provides the highest and best views of the Park and the adjacent cityscape. The castle's name is fitting, because it translates to "beautiful view" in Italian.
"Right now, the temperature in Central Park is...." That information, heard frequently on radio and TV, originates here at Belvedere Castle. Since 1919, the National Weather Service has taken measurements of New York's weather from the castle's tower with the aid of scientific instruments that measure wind speed and direction. In a fenced-in compound just south of the castle, other weather data such as rainfall are recorded and sent to the weather service's forecast office at Brookhaven National Library on Long Island.
After decades of deterioration, Central Park Conservancy renovated and reopened the castle in 1983 as a visitor center and gift shop.
Beginning Monday, February 26, Belvedere Castle will be closed for restoration. The surrounding plaza and terrace remain open, but will also close in the coming weeks. The Belvedere will reopen to the public in 2019.