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Central Park

The Bridges of Central Park

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

When Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) and Calvert Vaux (1824-1895) designed Central Park in 1858, they developed an innovative, interwoven transportation system of pedestrian paths, bridle trails, and carriage drives. Since the park is only one-half mile wide, the designers had to create a compact system of bridges and arches that allowed separate levels of pathways. Vaux and his assistant Jacob Wrey Mould (1825-1886) created 35 uniquely ornamented bridges of varying materials: brick, granite, marble, cast-iron, rustic wood, and rusticated schist boulders fashioned from rock outcropping. Modification to the path system since the park’s construction has created four additional arches and the destruction of three original ones.

Huddlestone Arch, named for its piled boulder design, carries the West Drive near Harlem Meer. Vaux designed and supervised construction of this rustic bridge in 1866, fashioning it from boulders found in the park. The naturalistic effect made Huddlestone unique among its more ornate companions, though its general character and function is the same as the other arches in the Ravine slightly sunken into the park landscape in order to preserve the integrity of its forest setting.

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Know Before You Go

There are currently 2 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

PlaygroundsEast 72nd St Playground

The East 72nd St Playground is closed for construction. It will reopen this summer. Central Park Conservancy is renovating the playground to improve its accessibility and connection to the park's landscape. Please visit the Central Park Conservancyfor more information.

ParkCentral Park

As of April 27, Central Park's Bow Bridge is closed to the public for structural work and a fresh coat of paint. The work is expected to last three to four months. Removing the old paint will require wrapping the bridge in a tent-like structure to prevent debris from falling into the water. Along with repainting, the work will include replacing the wooden decking, fixing several beams on the underside of the span, and reinforcing approaches at either end.
Anticipated Completion: Summer 2015

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