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.