Our work on the Dene Slope included establishing a meadow of native grasses and wildflowers over several planting seasons, and creating a rustic trail and seating for visitors.
For Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, pastoral landscapes were essential to their vision for the Park: they provided the people of the City an opportunity to retreat and experience the “enlarged sense of freedom” afforded by a visit to the countryside — a luxury beyond the means of most New Yorkers in the middle of the 19th century.
In 2017, the Conservancy completed a multi-year effort to establish a wildflower meadow on the slope at the southwest corner of the Dene landscape (which stretches from 66th Street to 72nd Street on the east side). Over the course of two years, we restored the site by installing new irrigation infrastructure, eliminating weeds, and seeding the area with native grasses and wildflowers.
The meadow and its complement of mature canopy trees are framed by shrubs and perennial plantings. We also constructed a rustic trail leading to the top of the slope, and added rustic seating created by our skilled craftspersons. The trail and seating provide sweeping views across the meadow toward the existing Dene rustic shelter.
Native meadows support a broader diversity of wildlife and can be a practical, sustainable treatment for steeply sloped, rocky sites.
Construction of the Arsenal RampThe Conservancy constructed a ramp at the East 64th Street entrance to improve visitor access to Central Park, the Central Park Zoo, and the historic Arsenal building, which is the citywide headquarters for NYC Parks.
Park Perimeter Restoration
A beautiful, six-mile, tree-lined perimeter rings Central Park. Characterized by its hexagonal asphalt pavers and granite blocks laid out in intricate patterns, the perimeter was first paved in the 1930s and 1940s—and most of it hasn’t been restored since.
Billy Johnson Playground RenovationOur renovation of Billy Johnson Playground preserved and reinforced the rustic character of the playground while increasing the play value and improving accessibility.
Lehman Gates ConservationOur conservation of the Lehman Gates included applying a new coating to its bronze sculpture, cleaning its stone piers, and re-gilding the letting on the piers.