The most beautiful bridges of Central Park

At least 36 arches and bridges curve and bend along the 843 acres of Central Park, tucked into the rolling landscape like little treasures.

Some were part of the original vision for the park, developed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1850s. Others came in the 1860s and 1870s.


Some span land, some cross water—but all are lovely, especially covered by snow, and they represent a range of styles and designs.

The elegant, cast-iron Southwest Reservoir Arch, above, built in 1865, crosses the Bridle Path.


Oak Bridge, which spans Bank Rock Bay at the entrance to the Ramble, was originally constructed in 1860 from white oak, with decorative cast iron in the railings.

The wood deteriorated over the years, and in 2009 the Central Park Conservatory rebuilt Oak Bridge using steel on the bridge itself and wood for the railings.


Dalehead Arch is on the West Side near 64th Street. Made of sandstone and brownstone with pretty cutouts, it dates back to the 1860s.


If this rustic bridge in the Ramble has a name, I couldn’t find it! It’s an homage to the natural vision Olmsted and Vaux had for the park.

“Curving gracefully over the narrow neck of the Pond at 59th Street, Gapstow is one of the iconic bridges of Central Park,” states the Central Park Conservatory website. “Design aficionados might notice a striking resemblance to the Ponte di San Francesco in San Remo, Italy.”


“Originally designed by Jacob Wrey Mould in 1874, the then-wooden bridge with cast-iron railings suffered great  wear over 20 years. It was replaced with the current stone structure in 1896, designed by Howard & Caudwell.”

And of course, probably the most iconic bridge in the park is the one at Bethesda Terrace, with its dazzling ceiling tiles.

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8 Responses to “The most beautiful bridges of Central Park”

  1. tumpitula Says:

    Reblogged this on tumpitula and commented:
    Tengo que volver

  2. Annie Haddad Says:

    Wonderful post. Who needs Madison County? We have beautiful bridges right in our own backyard!

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Exactly. Even on a cold snowy day, while taking these photos, I saw many couples clearly enchanted by the romance and beauty of different bridges.

  4. penelopebianchi Says:

    The bridges of Central Park are one part of what creates the great beauty of that Park

    New York City is so blessed to have that island of nature!

    Pale Male is just one star in the constellation1

    And he and his mate are nesting right now!

    Above the “sailboat pond”?

    What a treasure! And what a wonderful blog!

  5. penelopebianchi Says:

    my web address is

    I just wanted you to know!

  6. The anonymous men who built Central Park | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux get credit as the park’s brilliant designers when Central Park opened in stages in 1859 and through the […]

  7. A dazzling City Hall fountain sprays Croton water | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] water dazzled New Yorkers until 1871, when a new fountain designed by Jacob Wrey Mould (he designed bridges in Central Park and decorative elements at Bethesda Terrace) replaced […]

  8. Just how bad was Central Park in the 1970s? | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] of the park’s lovely 19th century bridges is closed in this photo, a danger sign posted before […]

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