The Gilded Age past of a Central Park gate

Central Park’s Conservatory Garden is a magical place. Divided into three separate gardens designed in Italian, French, and English styles, it’s a quiet zone with lovely walkways and fountains.

Conservatorygardengates

The main entrance to the garden on Fifth Avenue between 104th and 105th Streets, is through Vanderbilt Gate.

Impressive, right? Made in France, it’s “considered one of the finest examples of wrought iron work in New York City,” states centralparknyc.com.

CorneliusvanderbiltIImansion

It’s original home, however, wasn’t the Conservatory Garden.┬áThe gate was created to serve as the imposing front entrance to Cornelius Vanderbilt II’s magnificent mansion. (Not to be confused with another Vanderbilt house palace several blocks south.)

That mansion, the largest private residence ever built in New York City, stood at Fifth Avenue and 58th Street from 1883 to 1927, after which it was bulldozed to make way for Bergdorf Goodman.

Luckily the gate was repurposed and installed at the garden, a fitting entrance for an enchanting spot.

[Top photo: Central Park Conservatory]

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6 Responses to “The Gilded Age past of a Central Park gate”

  1. Gimelgort Says:

    Hard to believe such an impressive edifice only stood for 44 years. By way of comparison, for instance- my piece of crap suburban high school is older than that, and it is an architectural waste of bricks (among other shortcomings).

  2. Ricky Says:

    I was just at the park a couple of weeks ago with some friends when all the spring flowers were in bloom. It is a beautiful park.

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    I was there yesterday and the roses were magnificent!

  4. Admin Says:

    I love the history of Vanderbilt Family. I read the book The First Ticon by T.J. Stiles. Just loved it. Also its possible to see the mantle of his fire place exposed at Metropolitam museum. I write about NYC in Portuguese in my blog too. Thanks for sharing such great things in your blog.

  5. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you! The Vanderbilts are so entwined with the history and growth of New York, an entire blog could be devoted to them.

  6. James Says:

    I’ve always what happened to the second gate from the other side of the Vanderbilt’s horseshoe driveway, but I’ve never been able to track it down on the interwebs.

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