When Central Park was opened in the 1860’s, there were 6 boat landings built around the area known as the Lake. The Lake covers 18 acres and was once a swamp that Olmsted and Vaux designed to hug the natural rock outcrops. Passenger boats were able to pick up and drop off passengers at the 6 landings, as well as the steps leading to the Bethesda Terrace & Fountain.
Each landing was unique to the area along the lake. The largest boat landing was actually the original boathouse, and it was located where the row boats now reside. Eventually all of the boat landings fell into disrepair and were removed. The Boathouse was taken down as well and moved to its current location with a whole new design in 1953.
In the 1970’s, Friends of Central Park and the NYC Parks Department raised money and rebuilt 4 of the landings. The Central Park Conservancy decided a few years ago to rebuild all of the boat landings (except the Boathouse one) and have them restored to their original 19th-century designs. The new landings represent the Victorian (Hernshead, Western Shore and the Bow Bridge Landing) and rustic (Chambers and Wagner Cove) styles of the 1860’s time period. The Conservancy went through old archives and was able to locate photos and some architectural drawings of the original landings.
Take a walk around the Lake and Ramble to see all of the landings: Start your stroll at the current Boathouse and walk through the Ramble towards Bow Bridge and you will come to the Bow Bridge Landing.
Continue around through the Ramble towards Oak Bridge and you will see the newly restored Chambers Landing, which was not rebuilt in the 1970’s.
Cross over the Oak Bridge and head to the Hernshead Landing. This was the last of the landings to be replaced in the summer of 2018.