Umpire Rock is one of Central Park’s largest and most impressive rock outcrops.
Located in the southwest corner of the Park, Umpire Rock is named for its location in what was Central Park’s first playground, a large open meadow where children could play games such as baseball. The rock now forms the backdrop to Heckscher Playground and still provides views of Heckscher Ballfields, just to the north. The rock is a destination for climbing, exploring, and picnicking as well as enjoying views of the surrounding scenery, including the Midtown skyline.
Umpire Rock is also a place to explore the geology of the island of Manhattan. Central Park is home to innumerable rock outcrops, making it one of the few places in the City with visible evidence of the island’s ancient bedrock. Known as Manhattan schist, this bedrock was formed around 500 million years ago and contains other minerals, including quartz, mica, and feldspar. Also visible are striations and grooves on the rock’s surface, which were created relatively recently. About 30,000 years ago, a large glacier covered all of New York City and its movements carried various rocky debris that lefts scars on the bedrock. Other notable outcrops in the Park include Summit Rock and Vista Rock.
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