Bridges and Arches of Central Park

Bridges of Central Park
bridge in central park by cameragirl

Bank Rock Bridge, Oak Bridge or Cabinet Bridge (78th streets)

Bank Rock Bridge, Oak Bridge or Cabinet Bridge - Built in 1860 by Calvert Vaux

Wood and steel beam pedestrian bridge

Carries a park path over Bank Rock Bay, on the northern edge of The Lake around West 78th Street. The original Oak Bridge featured cast iron balustrades and yellow pine floorboards. Having lapsed into disrepair, it was replaced by the unadorned, purely functional Bank Rock Bridge in 1982. Since what goes around comes around, in 2007, the Bank Rock Bridge was removed during a remodeling of Bank Rock Bay, and replaced with a replica of the original Oak Bridge.

Balcony Bridge (77th street)

Balcony Bridge - Built in 1860 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (sandstone, cast stone, schist and greywacke)

Carries West Drive over a small stream that empties into the Lake near the west 77th Street entrance to the park. Supporting the West Drive, this stately stone structure spans a small inlet connecting the Lake and what was originally the Ladies Pond, now Naturalists' Walk, which was filled in during the 1930s. The bridge is named for the two bench-lined balconies on its east side – a spot that affords the most scenic view over the Lake toward the city skylines of Central Park South and Fifth Avenues. For a spectacular vantage point of the bridge itself, view it from the Ramble or from a rowboat on the Lake.

Bow Bridge (74th street)

The bridge was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, and completed in 1862.

The first cast-iron bridge in the Park (and the second oldest in America), the bridge was built between 1859 and 1862. Bow Bridge is named for its graceful shape, reminiscent of the bow of an archer or violinist. This handsomely designed bridge spans the Lake, linking Cherry Hill with the woodland of the Ramble.  At 87 feet, it is the longest bridge in the park. It is also one of the most photographed bridges and landmarks in all of Central Park.  It recently re-opened, after undergoing extensive repairs and a major cleaning.

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Eaglevale Bridge (77th street)

Built 1890

Twin-span stone arch vehicle bridge (gneiss).

Carries the 77th street entrance to the park through the Naturalists' Gate, over the bridle path and a pedestrian walkway to connect to West Drive. Though it is over 110 years old, Eaglevale Bridge is actually one of the newer arches in Central Park. The path lead to what was once the Ladies’ Pond (reserved for ladies-only ice skating in the 1890s. Robert Moses filled it in in 1936 and replaced it with a playground. Even today, the water, which lurks underground, floods the area after a heavy rain.

 

Gapstow Bridge (62nd street)

Built in 1896 by Howard & Caudwell

Stone arch (Manhattan schist) pedestrian bridge.

Southeast corner of the park, carrying a pathway across the northern edge of the pond. This lovely bridge is actually a replacement for the original wood and cast iron structure built by Calvert Vaux and designed by Jacob Wrey Mould in 1874. The bridge was a wooden bridge with intricate cast iron railings. Due to excessive tear and wear, it was replaced by the present simple stone structure in 1896. Gapstow stands 12 feet high, spans 44 feet of water, and stretches 76 feet in its full length.

Glen Span Bridge (102nd street)

Built around 1865 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (gneiss and ashlar)

Carries West Drive over Montayne's Rivulet and a pedestrian path. Perhaps the most majestic and spooky arch in the park, covering a dark and musty path beside a gentle stream. It originally featured wooden trestles, rock pier supports, and a wooden railing. The arch was reconstructed about 20 years later, with its wooden portions replaced with rustic light-gray gneiss rock. This reconstructed Central Park bridge is decorated with geometrically shaped stones. West drive just north of 102nd Street.

Gothic Bridge (94th street)

Reservoir Bridge (West 94th Street) #28- Often called "Gothic Bridge" because of its reference to Gothic design, it is officially known as Bridge No. 28 and was designed in 1864. Spanning the bridle path between northern Reservoir and the tennis courts, it is one of the most impressive bridges designed by Calvert Vaux and the Cornell Ironworks. Made of cast iron and steel. Gothic Bridge is the third of the great Central Park cast iron bridges around the Reservoir. In the first decades of the Park, before auto traffic, there was a great deal more recreational equestrian traffic in the park, and so the builders endowed the bridle paths with quite a number of arches and bridges that would enable pedestrians to pass over them. The triangular spaces at each end of Gothic Bridge (called spandrels) were given curved ironwork suggestive of Gothic church architecture of the Middle Ages, hence the bridge’s name. The graceful curves and oval vault make Gothic one of the most distinctive bridges in the park and one of the first that photo editors turn to when they require an evocative Central Park scene.

Pine Bank Bridge (62nd street)

Built in 1861 by J.B. and W.W. Cornell Ironworks

Cast iron arch pedestrian bridge

Southwest corner of the park near the Heckscher Playground. One of the parks' few remaining cast iron bridges. It was rescued from decline and lovingly restored in the 1980s. When the bridge was built, the Bridle Path passed under it on its way through Driprock Arch and Greengap Arch down to Grand Army Plaza at the southeast corner of the park. However, the Bridle Path was terminated here in the 1930's when Heckscher Playground was expanded over what was the southern portion of the bridle path. A reconstruction of this area in 2006 built a landscaped Cul-de-Sac under the bridge as the path's southern terminus, reducing the bridge to an essentially ornamental function.

Reservoir Bridge (85th street)

SouthEast Reservoir Bridge (East 85th Street) #24 - Built in 1864 by Calvert Vaux and the Cornell Ironworks. Cast iron/steel pedestrian bridge. Carries a park path over the bridle path south of the Reservoir and just east of West Drive around 86th Street. Unlike other cast iron bridges in Central Park, SE Reservoir Bridge is distinguished by a flat platform instead of an arched one (or not distinguished…). Like its sister, SW Reservoir Bridge, this bridge has also been reconstructed. In 1989 its concrete deck was replaced with a tongue and groove wood deck, and it got new railings to approximate the original ones from 1865.

Terrace Bridge (72nd street)

Offering breathtaking views of both the Central Park Lake and woods, the Bethesda Terrace, located at 72nd Street Cross Drive, is an architectural marvel. The terrace was one of the very first structures to have been built in Central Park; its construction began in 1859, continued throughout the Civil War, and was completed in 1863.

The structure's layout consists of both an upper and a lower terrace, which are connected by two grand staircases and a smaller one leading directly to the Mall. The entire terrace is constructed primarily of New Brunswick sandstone, paved with Roman brick, and boasts granite steps and landings. While the upper terrace flanks 72nd street and is responsible for the amazing views witnessed by tourists every year, the lower terrace connects to the Mall and features the majestic

110th Street Arch (110th street)

One of a third wave of bridges that came to the Upper West Side of Central Park in the 1890s, the 110th Street Bridge carries traffic from Central Park West to the West Drive. It is constructed of gneiss in rockface ashlar, just as the 77th Street Stone Bridge (Eaglevale) and Claremont Arch to its south. West Side inside the park just east of the entrance at Frederic Douglass Circle. The bridge measures 102 feet long and 48 feet high, with its Tuscan arch 16 feet high and 21 feet wide.

Claremont Arch (90th street)

Built around 1890. Stone arch vehicle bridge (Manhattan schist)

Carries a pedestrian path under the 90th Street entrance to the park. One of the more obscure arches in the park, partially hidden by vegetation and blocked on both ends by heavy iron gates. Named after the former Claremont Riding Academy, which was located on 86th street. East Drive at 90th Street.

Dalehead Arch (64th street)

Built 1860 - 1862 by Calvert Vaux. Stone arch vehicle bridge. 

Carries West Drive over the bridle path near West 64th Street. This sandstone and brownstone arch also includes the quatrefoil cutout design that appears on many of the original 19th century bridges in Central Park.

Denesmouth Arch (66th street)

Built in 1859-1860 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (pale olive New Brunswick sandstone).

Carries the eastbound lane of Transverse Road #1 over a park path at the East edge of the park. The only Central Park arch made completely of sandstone. Also serves as the Northern entrance to the Central Park Zoo.

Driprock Arch (59th street)

Built in 1862 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Stone arch vehicle bridge (granite - from a quarry in Seal Harbor, ME - and red brick)

Carries traffic via the Center Drive over a park path leading to the Artisan's Gate at 7th Avenue and 59th Street. This bridge allows pedestrians to bypass Center Drive, which can be quite busy during running or bike races or at rush hour. The path leads to Heckscher Playground and used to cross Spur Rock Arch, which was destroyed by Robert Moses in 1938 to permit expansion of Heckscher Playground.

Dipway Arch (59th street)

Built in 1860 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Stone arch bridge (red brick and New England sandstone)

Carries Center Drive over a park path at about 63rd Street. Used to span a bridle path before the southern section of the path was removed during the 1934 expansion of Heckscher Playground. It features curved granite detail along the abutments. The inner passageway is lined with red brick and is divided into blind arcades of seven arches, each with a granite keystone. It is located just through the "Artisans’ Gate", at Central Park South and Seventh Avenue.

 

Glade Arch (78th street)

Built in 1862 by Calvert Vaux 

Stone arch pedestrian bridge (New Brunswick sandstone) 

Separates two intersecting park paths just West of Fifth Avenue at 79th Street. This bridge used to carry a carriage path that linked East Drive with an entrance at 79th Street. The carriage path was converted to a pedestrian path, probably sometime in the early 20th century when carriages were outmoded by automobiles.

Greengap Arch (64th street)

Built in 1861 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Stone arch vehicle bridge

Carries East Drive over a closed pedestrian walkway. Used to span a bridle path before the southern section of the path was removed during the 1934 expansion of Heckscher Playground. Later converted to a walkway to the zoo. Now used as a storage area when the entrance was blocked off in the Central Park Zoo renovation.

Greyshot Arch (61st street)

Built in 1860-1862 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (gneiss and New England sandstone)

Carries West Drive over a park path at around 61st Street.

Greywache Arch (81st street)

Built in 1861-1863 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Stone arch vehicle bridge

Carries East Drive over a park path just south of the Obelisk and West of the Metropolitan Museum (81st St.). Named after the Greywacke sandstone quarried in the Hudson River Valley and used in its construction. The "Sarecenic" pointed arch echos Spanish and Moorish architecture.

Huddlestone Arch (107th street)

Built in 1866 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Stone arch vehicle bridge (Manhattan schist boulders held together by gravity and friction).

Carries East Drive over a park path and Montayne's Rivulet (the only natural running spring in Central Park)  around 107th Street near Lasker Rink Huddlestone Arch is considered by many to be the most surprising of Central Park's arches. Built entirely of huge, uncut boulders, is constructed without the use of mortar or other binding material. Only gravity and pressure keep the massive boulders in place, one of which is said to weigh 100 tons. The arch actually supports traffic over the Loch to the East Drive, south of Lasker Rink.

Inscope Arch (62nd street)

Built in 1873 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (granite Tuscan arch). Connecting the Zoo with the Pond, Inscope is a striking example of Ruskinian Gothic architecture perfected by Park architect Jacob Wrey Mould. Inscope was one of three structures built during the 1870s in response to the overflow of pedestrians competing with horseback riders and carriage drivers. (The others were Gapstow Bridge and Outset Arch, which no longer exists). The elegant arch is constructed of pink and gray granite. Carries East Drive over park path near The Pond.

Mountcliff Arch (110th street)

Built in 1890

Stone arch vehicle bridge (gneiss and ashlar). Carries the West 110th Street entrance from Frederick Douglass Circle into the park over a park path to connect to West Drive. At 48 feet high, this is the park's tallest arch as well as its northernmost.

Playmates Arch (67th street)

Built in 1861 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould  

Pressed brick with granite trim - vehicle bridge. Carries Center Drive over a park path leading to the Carousel at around 67th Street. Its festive yellow and red bricks and beige voussoir blocks harken back to a time when this part of the park was designated the Children's District. One side of the original railing remains with the other side being a reproduction from 1989.

 

Ramble Arch (76th street)

 

Built in 1863 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch pedestrian bridge (rock-face ashlar)

Carries one park path over another at different levels. Made of rock-face ashlar, it has the distinction of being the narrowest of Central Park’s arches, with its opening measuring only 5 feet across.

Riftstone Arch (72nd street)

Built in 1862 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (Manhattan schist)

Carries the 72nd Street entrance to the park over the bridle path to connect to West Drive. One of Central Park’s “natural” arches. Calvert Vaux’ aim was to build a natural-setting bridge instead of one using brick and mortar. The bridge has brick supports, but these are concealed by boulders, shrubs and trees. Riftstone is one of the least-seen arches in the park, since most pedestrian and auto traffic crosses on it on 72nd Street on its way into the park. The bridle path beneath it is does not have many riders on it anymore, so not many know about it.

Springbanks Arch (102nd street)

Completed in 1863 with detailing done by Jacob Wrey Mould, the arch is built of stone and brick.

A charming stone span on the northern edge of North Meadow near the Loch, Springbanks Arch is one of the least known of Central Park's arches.  A short flight of steps leads to a red brick underpass. On the side facing North Meadow, is a cascade that used to be known as Sabrina's Pool in the nineteenth century.  102nd street crossing, east side of the park.

Trefoil Arch (67th street)

Built in 1862 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Stone arch vehicle bridge

Carries East Drive over a pedestrian path to the Central Park Lake Boathouse. Named after the three-lobed entryway design with floral voussoirs on the East side. The Western side has a simple round archway, distinguishing the arch as the only one in the park with differing designs on opposite sides. The arch is featured in the Jack Lemmon's The Out of Towners, one of the most virulently anti-New-York films ever made.

 

Willowdell Arch (67th street)

 

Built in 1861 by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould, with iron railing by J.B. & W.W. Cornell Iron Works

Stone arch vehicle bridge (sandstone and brick)

Carries East Drive over a park path around 67th Street. The walking path leads visitors from the Mall heading to Fifth Avenue, to the bronze statue of Balto, the celebrated Alaskan sled dog. Willowdell features wedge-shaped stones, and bench seating in the arcade walls of the underpass.

Winterdale Arch (82nd street)

Built in 1860-1861 by Calvert Vaux

Stone arch vehicle bridge (Maine granite and sandstone with cast iron railings)

Carries West Drive over the bridle path around 82nd Street. The arch's wide elliptical arch is the largest span of all the Park's stone-and-brick bridges.  In 1993, the Conservancy restored Winterdale and reconstructed the railings, which had been missing for 50 years.

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