Chess & Checkers House

The historic Chess & Checkers House is currently home to one of Central Park’s five visitor centers managed by the Central Park Conservancy.

The Conservancy’s recent restoration of Chess & Checkers House and the surrounding Kinderberg structure is complete, and the site is now open to the public.

Chess & Checkers House was built in 1952 to offer visitors of all ages a space to play games. Surrounding the octagonal brick structure are 24 game tables shaded by a wooden trellis. The building is located atop a large rock outcrop near the Dairy in the area designed as the Children’s District, dedicated to providing amenities and attractions to children and their caregivers. It was created on the site of the Kinderberg, which in the 19th century was the largest and most elaborate of the Park’s many rustic structures. It later deteriorated and was removed. Its name meant “children’s mountain,” a reference to its rocky perch. The Kinderberg provided shade, shelter, and a place to rest, picnic, and play games.

In June 2023, the Central Park Conservancy completed a restoration of Chess & Checkers House, the Kinderberg, and the surrounding landscape. This project is a continuation of the restoration of the Children’s District that began with the Conservancy’s recently completed restoration of the Dairy. Our work on this historic site focused on renovating the building and its surrounding landscape to ensure accessibility for modern Park users while maintaining the spirit of the area’s original purpose and design. The project included adding an accessible ramp, handrails to the stairs, public restrooms, and space to support public programs.

The Conservancy offers its Chess Lecture & Simul Series at Chess & Checkers House for anyone looking to develop their skills. The series features guidance and techniques from world-renowned chess experts. Chess and checkers game pieces are also available to the public to borrow, free of charge.

Visitor Services

  • Central Park Conservancy Visitor Services staff are available to provide maps, directions, and Park information, as well as to assist with game rental for play on outdoor tables.

Facility Hours

  • Central Park Conservancy Visitor Services staff will be present from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Wednesday through Saturday.
  • Restrooms are open year-round from 7:30 am until dusk. These restrooms are accessible and include an all-gender restroom.

Games

  • Games are available to borrow from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Game pieces must be returned by 4:45 pm.
  • No reservations. Games and tables are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • You must provide your name and phone number to check out game pieces.

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