Belvedere Castle

Belvedere

For more than a century, the Belvedere (Italian for “beautiful view”) has provided some of the best views of Central Park. Calvert Vaux, co-designer of the Park, conceived the miniature castle in 1858 as a whimsical open-air structure and lookout tower. Situated atop Vista Rock, the Belvedere offered views of the old Croton reservoir (now the Great Lawn) to the north and the Ramble to the south. In 1919, it was enclosed with windows and doors to serve as a station of the U.S. Weather Bureau.

The weather station moved out of the facility in the early 1960s, and two decades of deterioration and vandalism followed. In 1983, the Conservancy renovated and reopened Belvedere Castle as a visitor center and gift shop. Deterioration over the next thirty-five years was exacerbated by insufficient drainage, waterproofing, and climate control systems.

A comprehensive core and shell restoration of the Belvedere, including the expansion and modernization of mechanical systems and supporting utilities, began in 2018.

The Conservancy’s restoration of the Belvedere included:

  • Cleaning and repointing the Belvedere’s exterior and interior masonry
  • Installing new drainage and waterproofing systems
  • Restoring the wood pavilions on the main plaza and upper terraces
  • Recreating a wood tower that was originally part of the large pavilion at the northwest corner
  • Replacing existing terrace pavements with bluestone pavers laid out according to the historic design
  • Replacing the existing windows and doors with clear pane, insulated glass to evoke the Belvedere’s original open-air design and control interior temperature and moisture
  • Repairing and replacing interior bluestone floors and ceilings
  • Modernizing mechanical systems and upgrading utility services
  • Upgrading interior and exterior lighting

Location

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Project Status

Complete

View of Belvedere, 1880 Belvedere West Belvedere Rendering

Left to right: View from the old Reservoir c. 1880 (photo courtesy of Museum of the City of New York); Belvedere Castle’s west façade before restoration; rendering of Belvedere after restoration.

Nearby Projects

King Jagiello

Bridges, Monuments & Cultural Resources

King Jagiello Monument Conservation

Our conservation work on the bronze King Jagiello monument, located just east of Turtle Pond, focused on making necessary repairs to the statue’s internal mounting system and restoring the statue’s protective coating.

Obelisk

Bridges, Monuments & Cultural Resources

Obelisk Conservation

The Conservancy completed the most comprehensive conservation of the Egyptian Obelisk in its 3,500-year history, including cleaning its 2,112-square-foot surface with lasers and stabilizing it with adhesive products. The work was a collaborative effort with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and NYC Parks.

The Ramble

Woodlands

The Ramble Restoration

Our restoration of the Ramble was designed to renew the scenic character, enhance the habitat value, and improve the visitor experience of the urban woodland landscape at the heart of the Park’s historic design.