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Central Park

The Bridges of Central Park: Balcony Bridge

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 gneiss boulders, fashioned out of the rock outcrops. Modification to the path system over the years has resulted in the creation of four additional arches and the destruction of three original ones.

Olmsted and Vaux named this Balcony Bridge in the hope that its small balconies with stone benches would be an ideal resting place for visitors to pause and observe the landscape. It spans the part of the lake that was Ladies' Pond in the 1870s, an area reserved for female ice skaters and their guests. The pond was filled in during the 1930s, when ice skating on the lake was no longer popular. Balcony Bridge is made of Manhattan schist and mountain greywacke. Its balconies are only on the eastern face, and it is one of only two bridges in the park to feature asymmetrical sides.

Directions to Central Park

Know Before You Go

Ice Skating RinksLasker Rink (Temporarily Closed)

Lasker Rink is closed due to a refrigeration malfunction. Parks is trying to repair the rink's concrete slab and valves to identify and fix the source of the leak, in the hope of reopening the rink to the public later this season. In the meantime, the Trump Organization along with NYC Parks will work with the community and other area rinks to try to accommodate hockey and skating groups who call Lasker Rink home. Refunds will also be issued to any organizations who reserved and paid for use of the rink during the time that it will be closed.

Central Park Weather

  • Sun
    Partly Sunny
    54°F
  • Mon
    Rain
    70°F
  • Tue
    Mostly Sunny
    54°F
  • Wed
    Rain Likely
    40°F

7-day forecast

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