Belvedere Castle in Central Park closes for year-long restoration

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Jeff Smith reports on Belvedere Castle in Central Park.

Belvedere Castle in Central Park will be closed for restoration starting February 26 and will re-open sometime in 2019.

The restoration project will address drainage, waterproofing and climate control systems.

This includes:

- Restoring the Belvedere's interior and exterior masonry

- Restoring the existing historic structure, and expanding and modernizing mechanical systems and supporting utilities, including installation of a geothermal heating system

- Replacing existing windows and doors, upgrading interior and exterior lighting, and repairing and replacing interior floors and ceilings

- Restoring the wood pavilions on the main plaza and upper terraces, and recreating a wood tower that was originally part of the large pavilion at the northwest corner

For more than a century, the Belvedere (Italian for "beautiful view") has provided visitors with some of the best views in the park, as it sits atop a rocky outcropping. Calvert Vaux, co-designer of Central Park, conceived the castle in 1869, and it was last renovated in 1983.

The official weather observations for Central Park are taken at Belvedere Castle, but that equipment will not be affected by the restoration.

A future phase of the project will include providing a more accessible route to the Belvedere, which is one of the most visited destinations in the park.

There's no exact date of completion, but the Central Park Conservancy is aiming to have Belvedere Castle up and running by the middle of 2019.

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