New York Architecture Images- Central Park

Playmates Arch


Calvert Vaux 1824-1895 


just south of the 65th Street transverse






Philadelphia pressed brick and Milwaukee yellow brick-belt coursing and granite trim




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  "Archway for the Foot Path under Drive East of the Play Ground." Lithograph. Eighth Annual Report, Central Park, for 1864.


Playmates Arch, opening out onto the Carousel, is a beautiful Calvert Vaux conception.
  Playmates Arch is a stone and brick masonry structure located just south of the 65th Street transverse. It was designed by Calvert Vaux, detailed by Jacob Wrey Mould and completed by 1863. It continues a pedestrian walkway between the Dairy and the Carousel and also serves as a bridge for the Center Drive.

Playmates Arch is one of the most ornate masonry structures in Central Park with its characteristic Philadelphia pressed brick and Milwaukee yellow brick-belt coursing and granite trim. In his description of Central Park in 1864, Frederick B. Perkins called Playmates the "tricolored archway." The span is 17 feet 8 inches wide, and 9 feet 11 inches high. The underpass is 66 feet long.

The original cast-iron railing only remains on the east side of the drive. The railing on the west side, destroyed in an auto accident, was replaced with a duplicate cast-iron railing in 1989. This was part of the overall restoration of the Arch by the Parks Department, under the supervision of the Central Park Conservancy. Cast-iron railings, readily available in 1863, are now regarded as special, surviving ornaments.

Playmates derived its name partly from its proximity to a number of major park attractions devoted to children: the Dairy, which once served fresh milk and other refreshments, the Kinderberg, a huge rustic shelter replaced in the 1930s by the Chess and Checkers House, a Children's Cottage, with live animals, and the nearby Carousel. The present Carousel is the latest in a line of three earlier machines in Central Park.



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