The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) is considering proposals to improve accessibility for mobility-challenged visitors to enter the historic Central Park Dairy and the Conservatory Garden.
The Central Park Dairy was completed in 1870 and is located closest to East 65th Street and East Drive on the Upper East Side. In the late 19th century, it served as a source of fresh milk for children during a time in which it was particularly scarce. The building was constructed in the Victorian Gothic style and is at times described as a church wearing a barn for its juxtaposition of painted wooden beams and stone masonry.
Today, the building functions as a gift shop and information center. Proposals include the installation of a five-foot-wide ADA-accessible ramp with metal handrails along the pathway leading to the Dairy as well as a realignment of the crosswalk at East Drive. The scope of work would also include replacement of the path’s existing bluestone paving in kind.
Located closest to 5th Avenue and 105th Street, the six-acre Central Park Conservatory Garden was completed in 1937 and is one of many hidden gems within Central Park. The conservatory’s three distinct areas include the English Garden at the south end, the French Garden to the north, and the Italian Garden in the center.
Since the 1980s, Central Park Conservancy has not pursued any major structural additions or restorations to the Conservatory Garden. Similar to the Dairy, proposals include the installation of an ADA-accessible ramp with metal handrails and replacement of existing bluestone pavement, but specifically within the French Garden. To accommodate the new ramp, the proposals also call for relocation of existing concrete curbs and extension of the stepped cheek walls along each plant bed.
A public hearing for both projects took place on Friday, May 8, 2020. The LPC has yet to issue an official response to the Central Park Conservancy.