Hidden Treasures,  Landmarks

If Central Park Could Talk – Little Known Secrets

Central Park has proven to be a well-researched and generously covered topic. With all of the articles and walking tours now available, there are fewer and fewer surprises with each passing day! However, intriguing snippets of information make for more enjoyable and thought-provoking strolls through Manhattan’s most famous park. This post features a few more interesting pieces of information you might not know.

The Secret of Central Park’s Lampposts

Most New Yorkers have had the experience of feeling disoriented in Central Park. Next time you feel lost, you can ask a famously friendly New Yorker for directions. Or, look no farther than the closest cast iron lamp post! According to several reports, approximately 1800 of these are throughout the park. 

The Discovery Family Channel ran a segment on ways to use the Central Park lamp posts to crack the code of your exact location. More insights are offered in “Forgotten New York” by author Kevin Walsh, as well as in The New York Post. Here is how!

The lamp posts typically contain a metal plaque with four digits etched on the surface. The first two numbers represent the street you would find yourself on if that street ran through the park. For example, in the photo above, you would be on 64th Street. The remaining numbers identify which side of the park you are on. Odd numbers mean you are closer to the park’s west side, while even numbers signify proximity to the east side. In the example above (6477), you can reasonably predict that you are closer to the west side of 64th Street. Hopefully, this NYC gem and navigational advice works well for you! Try it the next time you’re all turned around in Central Park!

1811 Survey Bolt

For some who write about the 1811 Survey Bolt, it is an unwritten rule to protect and keep secret its exact location! Out of respect for this time-honored tradition, we won’t either. Suffice it to say that in Central Park, in plain view and yet completely hidden from sight, stands what many believe to be an 1811 marker.

Having combed the internet and Central Park, I was rewarded with a first-hand view of this unassuming piece of metal. Below is the picture I took just a few weeks ago. The marker stands alone, without plaque or fanfare. So named, it is believed to have survived the original planning of Manhattan’s Grid system in 1811. Surveyors used these markers to note street and avenue intersection points. Since Central Park was not a part of the city’s plan at the time, such intersection points may have been identified and marked within its current boundaries.

Happy hunting!!

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