By Scott Etkin
A restoration project that will add two rustic structures for visitors to rest and view the scenery in the Ramble in Central Park will begin this summer, a representative from the Central Park Conservancy said at Community Board 7’s Parks & Environment Committee meeting Monday night.
When the park was designed in the 1800s, the 36-acre Ramble had four wooden shelters and viewing points. “One still exists, but three of them have not been in the park for the last hundred years,” Erica Sopha, vice president for park use & stewardship, said over Zoom.
The two reconstructions will be designed to match the originals. The Umbrella Structure (above) is “a small ‘shaded seat’ feature with an associated fence located on a rock outcrop at the south end of the Ramble, overlooking Bow Bridge,” according to the Park’s website. The foundation for the Umbrella Structure will be laid this summer. Work will then pause for the fall, due to bird migrations happening then, and will be finished in the winter.
Belvedere Summerhouse, which is expected to be completed this summer, “is a larger shelter with multiple integral benches below a large, overhanging roof located at the northwest corner of the Ramble,” near Belvedere Castle.
The Ramble, which Central Park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted described as a “wild garden,” is a favorite among birdwatchers. “I met with Audubon NYC today. They’ve given us tips on what we need to look for,” said Ms. Sopha. “We purposely were waiting for June to get through the migration season.”
There will be signage in the Ramble describing the project, which is part of the Park’s ongoing, multi-year effort to restore and maintain the area. The fourth original structure will be reconstructed eventually, said Ms. Sopha, but is not in the plans for this year.
Bummer. They just keep making more paved paths and more structures so it’s less like the intended look of the Adirondacks, less inviting for birds and more inviting for dogs, More and more like any public park.
I could not agree more! I see more and more big trees cut down (most likely they will say they were a “danger,” but the trunks look perfectly sound. More and more paths are cleared. Soon the birds will avoid the Ramble altogether, a huge disappointment to us birders. Not only that, but despite rules of “dogs must be leashed in the Ramble,” there is no signage to be seen, and I am constantly beset by dogs, large (which could knock me over, and I am 78) and small. Some have attacked and killed squirrels. Some are free to “do their business” at will, where their happy owners can ignore it. One man (I have the photo) pushed a wire fence down so low it hit the ground, and then he sat there on it. When I asked if he intended to break it altogether, he said, “Maybe,” and then “It was none of my business what he did.” The Ramble is becoming overrun and anything but wild except for the loose dogs. It is so upsetting, but I’ve not been able (after sending letters) to even get a response from the Conservancy. We need better and more signs and “Rangers,” which we once had, to walk there and enforce the rules.
You may well be right about unleashed dogs; there is no park in this city that doesn’t always have unleashed dogs — an inconsiderate (& frankly stupid) practice. But I have to disagree w/ you about dog-killed squirrels. Aside from my personal observation over the last 20 years of my dogs & many other people’s dogs, they just can’t catch squirrels: (Dogs chasing squirrels is a comedy, not a tragedy). And, frankly, woe betides any dog unlucky enough to corner a squirrel — that dog will come away w/ badly crashed eyes & Lord knows what other parts. (Ever really pay a little attention to squirrel claws?)
Dogs chasing squirrels causes damage from the chase itself, not just to the squirrels and other animals. Unleashed dogs run into people, damage fences, destroy plants and underbrush, terrify birds, and allow for unfettered defecation and urine. It also endangers the dog. Please keep those adorable fur babies restrained for their sake and ours.
According to the article, this is a restoration project. “When the park was designed in the 1800s, the 36-acre Ramble had four wooden shelters and viewing points. “One still exists, but three of them have not been in the park for the last hundred years,” Erica Sopha, vice president for park use & stewardship, said over Zoom. The two reconstructions will be designed to match the originals.” They appear to have considered the birds and are waiting until warbler migration ends. I believe in balancing concerns – people who are want to restore what was there originally, hence the restoration, people who like to sit in the shelters, people who like to walk in nature, people who walk their dogs on leash in a cool shaded spot, other wildlife, people who want to secure habitat for the birds, and of course birdwatchers themselves. Acc to the park’s website, the Ramble was intended to be accessible to all urban dwellers. Hopefully we can continue to provide space for all needs.
They are going to do what they’re going to do. Al Zaruba is so right. The best thing is to leave it alone. Asphalt roads will be built so trucks can access the restoration sites. Birds be damned. This is about tourism and maybe payback. Nothing else. Follow the money.
We also had streets covered in offal and horse manure in the 1800s.
The ramble should be left as wild as possible. There are already too many people in the park.
Well, I agree that there are too many people in the park. But we all have to remember that when we’re thinking that, we are those people.
and that’s why I prefer riverside
Extremely disappointing. I can’t see what the point is of adding such clutter to one of the small parts of the park that actually feels at all like “Nature” rather than a carefully cultivated and manicured normal city park. I can’t say I care a lick about Olmsted or his original designs.
Then, frankly, you really don’t care a lick about the Park itself, b/c that park is still essentially what Olmstead — & Vaux — originally designed.
Will these structures actually detract from your enjoyment of the park?
Unfortunately, these park structures, which I stay as far away as possible, are not being used in the intended manner (sex, drugs, housing). I suspect these revitalized structures will be more of the same.
I would prefer the Conservancy spend a portion of their >$500,000,000 endowment on enforcement (bicycles, leash times, smoking, etc.).
It would make the park a much more desirable place to visit.
I agree. To answer an above comment: the park is not just being used by New Yorkers. It’s being used by tourist who take their bikes on the walk ways, dogs without leashes, and bikes who NEVER stop for pedestrians. It’s become one big mess. They should spend more time cultivating a system whereby we can all use the park without it feeling dangerous. Next. What happened to the “No Smoking” People were afraid to smoke in the park … now that pot is a thing.. seems that we have no rules…. It smells like a skunk we just hit??? It smells all over the city.. How about some rules for the rest of us to enjoy safely the park —- we have gone overboard with bikes, e-bikes, unleashed dogs, pot smoking everywhere. What a mess.
The Park needs more restrooms!