The Central Park Conservancy will reopen Belvedere Castle on June 28 after a 15-month restoration project. The 1858-built landmark was conceived by Central Park designers Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as an open air viewing platform over the city’s green lung, and with the $12 million restoration, the Belvedere is closer to that historic use than in recent memory.
The major restoration brought the castle new clear pane glass windows and doors to recreate Olmsted and Vaux’s original intention for the site. The restoration also included installing a new zero-emission geothermal system for heating and cooling, upgrading the mechanical and utility systems, restoring and waterproofing the Belvedere’s structures and terraces, and installing a new drainage system. The castle is also looking more like its original form, with a newly recreated decorative wood tower at the castle’s northwest corner.
The $12 million restoration project was funded by the Thompson Family Foundation, and is part of a larger effort by the Central Park Conservancy to restore the park’s historic structures.
The Thompson Family Foundation, whose patriarch Wade Thompson “rebuilt the Airstream brand,” according to his New York Times obituary, donated $25 million to the park’s $300 million fundraising initiative that launched in 2016.
Although the castle’s reopening soon, work at the Belvedere isn’t done yet: The conservancy is still gearing up to install an accessible route to the castle from the East Drive. The Belvedere was last restored in 1983.