Winter in Central Park: Know before you go
Central Park is particularly beautiful with a fresh layer of snow frosting the benches and carpeting the ground. There's a special hush in the air, and something magical in the Park's glinting whiteness.
Speaking practically, though, snow also requires a great deal of extra work for Central Park Conservancy staff as we work to keep the Park safe and accessible.
Here are some tips to enjoy Central Park safely in the wintertime:
- Before coming to Central Park during a snowstorm or blizzard, check our Twitter page for updates about the Park’s status. You can also follow NYC Parks and the NYC Office of Emergency Management for updates about Citywide closures.
- Never go out on the ice of ANY Central Park water body, and don’t let your dog go out either! Falling into frigid water can cause life-threatening hypothermia within minutes. Please leave the red ice ladders in place, as these should only be handled by emergency personnel. If you see someone in danger on, in, or near a Central Park water body, call 911.
- Some Central Park restrooms are closed during the winter season. These include the facilities at Merchants’ Gate (West 61st Street), Bethesda Terrace, the Great Hill, and Robert Bendheim Playground. Some restrooms are maintained by other organizations, and may be closed due to snowfall without notice. These include the facilities at the Arsenal, Le Pain Quotidien (Mineral Springs), Tavern on the Green, the Kerbs Boathouse at Conservatory Water, the Loeb Boathouse, and the Tennis House.
There’s nothing better than enjoying Central Park on a beautiful winter day. Follow these links to learn more about winter activities such as sledding, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing in Central Park. You can also enjoy ice skating at Wollman Rink and Lasker Rink.
Snow Management and Removal
After a major snowfall, clearing the perimeter, paths, and entrances for safe pedestrian access is our first priority. We accomplish the major task of clearing 58 miles of paths using a wide array of snow-removal equipment, and with the hard work of our dedicated Central Park Conservancy operations staff.
Our arsenal of snow removal equipment includes:
- 24 walk-behind snow throwers
- 18 truck-mount plows
- 13 walk-behind brushes
- 8 hand-held paddle brooms
- 6 bucket loaders
There are some areas in the Park that we don’t plow. For example, we don’t plow the bridle path and the Reservoir track, because doing so would damage the surface beneath the snow, as well as our equipment.
In 2015 the Central Park Conservancy began taking the official New York City snow measurements in Central Park for the National Weather Service. Although the Conservancy takes the measurements, the National Weather Service is responsible for totaling, recording, maintaining, and sharing all snowfall data for Central Park. According to the NWS, snowfall reports for Central Park provide one of the longest continuous sets of weather data in the country, dating back to 1869.