NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - After a 15-month comprehensive restoration project by the Central Park Conservancy, the beloved Belvedere Castle will reopen to the public. The $12 million project was funded by the Thompson Family Foundation.
"Belvedere Castle was in disrepair. Then in 1983, Central Park Conservancy restored it—brought it back to its original integrity," Central Park Conservancy's Erica Sopha said. "Well, it's been 35 years since then, so it's simply due for a restoration."
Sopha, the Conservancy's associate director of visitor services, said Belvedere Castle is a special place.
"There's nothing like it in all of New York City," she said. "There's nothing like it in Central Park."
The completed work restored original elements and recreated lost aspects of the Belvedere's historic design.
"We've built a tower that was part of the original intention for the Belvedere and it's out on the pavilion area," Sopha said. "We have also repaved the plaza area with blue stone, which is bringing back a historical feature."
The conservancy revisited the original idea of Belvedere, which loosely translated from Italian means "beautiful view."
"We've redone all the windows so that everything is very clear," Sopha said. "When you're inside the castle, you get sweeping views of the park the same way that you would have the views if you were anywhere on the Belvedere."
The castle is a complete stone structure that humidity can seep through. Comprehensive waterproofing has been installed to prevent moisture buildup. As part of its mission to implement a green design, the Conservancy installed a geothermal system for cooling and heating the castle's interior.
The conservancy will illuminate the castle with brand-new lighting on Thursday night, June 27. Then the Belvedere will open to the public on Friday.
For more information, go to centralparknyc.org.