As you probably know, New York City is home to a wide array of historic landmarks. But despite their protected status, many of these structures-especially older ones-have struggled with maintenance. The Belvedere Castle in Central Park, which was built in 1858, was, until very recently, one of these-due for a much needed facelift. The building was designed by the same creative minds behind the park itself, Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who envisioned an elegant open-air platform to look over their park. But in recent years, the landmark had been unable to fulfill that destiny. It was last restored in 1983, and since then it had gained some, shall we say, character, in the form of graffiti on the stone-brick walls and wooden boards covering the windows and doorways. But, following a major renovation, the Castle is set to reopen next week.
The $12 million dollar restoration recalls Olmstead and Vaux's original vision-the building now has clear pane glass windows and doors (which is exactly what they wanted). But it also brings the structure into the 21st century: the castle now has a zero-emission geothermal system for cooling and heating, making it surprisingly sustainable.
The much needed renovation was made possible by the Thompson Family Foundation, which funded the entire thing. But the Central Park Conservancy started the discussion back in 2016, when they created a $300 million fundraiser to help restore a number of landmarks and parks, prompting the late Wade Thompson to pledge a total of $25 million to the park's fundraising initiative.
The castle will officially reopen June 28-but the work isn't complete yet. The final touch will be adding a route from the castle to the East Drive for accessibility. Now, no one has an excuse not to visit.
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