The People’s Gates to the People’s Park

Women's Gate

Passing through the gates of Central Park is a seamless transition from noisy urban streets to a peaceful paradise. The low sandstone walls give way to wide, open paths and airy greenery. It’s easy to rush through with your eyes ahead. But the next time you take that first step into the Park, try looking to the side instead.

The names inscribed by several gates read like an old poem: tiny, curious reminders of another time. Warriors’ Gate – Pioneers’ Gate – Farmers’ Gate – vocations and distinctions long past. In 1862, the Board of Commissioners of Central Park wanted to reflect the Park’s open welcome to every New Yorker. They chose 20 names for the 20 original gates that emphasized that welcome.

Now, over 150 years later, the Park still welcomes all visitors with airy open paths – locals and tourists, children and seniors, runners and picnickers.

Did you know:

  • The Farmers’ Gate was originally named the Cultivators’ Gate.
  • The gates were named in 1862, but most of them weren’t inscribed in the walls until the 1990s.
  • A proposal was made to close off the Park entrances with tall, ornate, European-style iron gates, but Olmsted and Vaux fought it, calling it undemocratic and against the entire concept of the Park. Luckily for us, they won!

Learn more and see the complete list of gates here.

Plaque on Naturalist's Gate