Spanning 843 acres, Central Park has been a National Historic Landmark since 1963. In addition to its vast green spaces, attractions like the zoo, and numerous paths for walking and biking, this park holds multiple historic sights. During Central Park bike tours, pay attention to the following historical spots.
Belvedere Castle definitely counts as a historical attraction, having been designed in 1865 by Jacob Wrey Mould and Calvert Vaux. It was created as a Victorian fantasy structure without an actual purpose but an amazing backdrop and views, something known as a Folly. It began as just a gorgeous attraction. However, in 1919, it became the location where the National Weather Service takes measurements. Today, Belvedere Castle is not just a Victorian Folly but also a key spot for the National Weather Service and worth a stop on your Central Park bike tours. You’ll find it in the middle of the park by 79th Street.
As you ride through the park on your Central Park bike tours, you will notice the Blockhouse. This is a portion of the fort left from the War of 1812 in the northern area of the park. Pay attention to what your tour guide has to say as you ride by so you can learn even more about this sight.
Central Park Carousel
The Central Park Carousel is not only fun to ride and look at but also historic. It was built back in 1871. It is now on its fourth model, providing entertainment for children from around the world and locals alike. You can ride it from April to November. In fact, around 250,000 people ride the carousel each year. When it was first installed, the carousel didn’t have a great reception. This is because commissioners didn’t want commercial businesses within the park. They quickly realized how useful the revenue from the ride could be, however.
The Obelisk is actually the oldest of all public monuments in North America, making it a very important historic spot to see while in Central Park. You may also hear it called Cleopatra’s Needle. Pharaoh Thutmosis III commissioned this monument about 1450 BCE as a celebration for his 30th year of reign. Two were built, and in 13 or 12 BCE, they were moved to Alexandria from Heliopolis. During the late 19th century, one went to London while the other went to New York City as thanks for the help these countries provided the Khedive of Egypt in modernizing the country.
Pay attention to your guide during your Central Park bike tours to learn more about these and the other historical sights you will pass.