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Belvedere Castle in Central Park

About this listing

Castle atop Vista Rock that provides great views and houses the Henry Luce Nature Observatory

Place Details

Borough : Manhattan
Neighborhood : Central Park
Infrastructure, Play

Place Matters Profile

Perched high atop Vista Rock, Belvedere Castle is located on the second highest natural elevation in Central Park. Belvedere, which means panoramic in Italian, appropriately describes the view down into the Delacorte Theater, home to summertime Shakespeare in the Park. Belvedere was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as an elaborate scenic overlook. Today, Belvedere Castle is home to the Henry Luce Nature Observatory, run by the Central Park Conservancy.


Steven Borns (Cooper Union)

Belvedere Castle offers panoramas of the park and city. Watching Shakespeare in the Park, on a clear, warm summer evening, is to me the ultimate New York experience.

Deborah Zubow Prindle

Central Park is a microcosm of the world. Walk through it on a Sunday morning in spring and your will see everything from tai chi to opera being performed. One day I found this castle with hawks flying overhead next to a pond full of snapping turtles. This miniature castle is a former folly from the original design for Central Park. Now it houses ecological exhibits. From its upper terrace, one can watch for birds (including endangered birds), and the exhibits explain the life cycle of turtles in the adjacent pond.

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