Arsenal

One of two buildings within Central Park that predates the Park itself, the Arsenal is now the headquarters of NYC Parks and the Central Park Zoo.

It’s also home to the Arsenal Gallery, where several fine art and photography exhibitions are mounted each year.

The Arsenal was designated an official New York City landmark in 1967. Erected between 1847 and 1851, the building holds much City history within its walls. In the lobby, 1930s Works Progress Administration murals depict 19th-century Central Park and soldiers in formation. These pieces allude to the building’s origins as a munitions supply depot for New York State’s militia.

Within two years of the Arsenal’s opening, the City took the land for the creation of Central Park and purchased the building and surrounding area for $275,000. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it housed a police precinct, weather bureau, the first American Museum of Natural History, and a menagerie of animals.