New York City

Discover Conservatory Garden: Free NYC Treasure in Central Park

The little known Conservatory Garden in Central Park is a New York City treasure, a quiet place too few enjoy. Let’s take a look.

By David Stone

In space originally planned as an arboretum in the northeast section of Central Park, the Conservatory Garden welcomes visitors in all four seasons.

Builders in the 19th Century ran out of cash, and a greenhouse filled the area instead. That lasted until 1935 when Parks Commissioner Robert Moses had it torn down.

But in 1937, the Conservatory Garden finally opened, built by WPA workers and funded by Washington in the New Deal.

Conservatory Garden, Central Park, New York City

Central Fountain, Conservatory Garden
This 12 foot fountain stands at the end of a broad lawn and below sculpted terraces.

Typical of New York City, then, the Garden fell into ruin by the mid 1970s, but the city always gets rebirth. By 1987, it reopened as the gem it is today.

Three Women Dancing, Center of Untermeyer Fountain
The Untermeyer Fountain is platform for Three Women Dancing, sculpted by Walter Schott.

A fountain, terraces and Wisteria Pergola…

A broad lawn leads from Fifth Avenue to the Wisteria Pergola, gracefully turned above terraces and a 12-foot fountain.

View from the terraces…
Wander through the Conservatory Garden, lose yourself in green space…
Entrance to Untermeyer Fountain
Near the preserved Vanderbilt Gate, the Untermeyer Fountain.
Old growth trees both anchor the gardens and mark a border with Central Park.
Hidden passage, Conservatory Garden, Central Park
Get away from the noise and congestion? You can do that in Central Park’s Conservatory Garden.
Quiet trails curl gentle through the garden, and there are plenty of benches. Rest, relax, contemplate.
Wisteria Pegola
In the Conservatory Garden, the Wisteria Pergola keeps a secret… Look down and find tributes to the thirteen original states carved in the path.
Terraces, Conservatory Garden, Central Park
Terraces separate the south fountain from the Wisteria Pergola

Conclusion: Conservatory Garden, Central Parks Place for Peace

President Trump and conservatives describe New York City as a crime ridden hellscape, but anyone living here knows that’s nonsense.

And the Conservatory Garden in the northeast corner of Central Park, next to the Harlem Meer, proves it best.

An active city makes way for solitude and community where cultures merge, but most visitors miss it.

This is a gem changing through all four seasons but always welcoming, a legacy wrangling politicians neither appreciate nor erase.

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