New York’s Central Park, built by legendary landscape designer and writer Frederick Law Olmsted and the English architect Calvert Vaux in 1858 after winning a design competition is a recognized national historical landmark (since 1963) with a rich history. The most visited urban park in the United States with a whopping twenty-five million visitors a year, Central Park is considered by present-day New Yorkers to be a magical oasis in the midst of urban sprawl. The H.A. Dunne collection of vintage Central Park images dates back to as far as 1890, and captures New Yorkers of yesteryear at play in New York’s most famous playground. We are adding new images from our vast collection every day. To see more vintage images of Central Park, or to source a particular image, call us at: 888-250-8956.
In this black and white photograph, taken in the winter of 1935, we see Central Park from about West 72nd Street, transformed into a Winter Wonderland, with kids sledding and skaters on the sailboat pond.
Belvedere Castle was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1869 as a Victorian "folly," a whimsical structure having no practical function. It has since acquired the practical function of housing meteorological equipment for the National Weather Service. Its turret is the highest point in Central Park with views of (at the time of this photo) the Reservoir to the north and the Ramble to the south.
Two women pause to be photographed by scenic Bow Bridge in the mid-1860s. The lush foliage indicates that it was probably summer. The eight cast iron urns on the bridge had disappeared by the 1920s and were only recently replaced by replicas. In the far background is a large building, which may have been the Ladies Refreshment Pavilion, which in the 1929 became the Central Park Casino, a restaurant catering to New York City's well-heeled clientele. The Casino was created via a sweetheart-deal between Mayor Jimmy Walker and his friend Sidney Solomon.
Central Park and Bicycles have a long history together, coming into existence in roughly the same era. In this late Nineteenth Century photograph, you see an early bicycle club, composed mostly of young men, pedalling their way along the unpaved roads of Central Park.
This aerial photograph, taken in the late 1920s, offers a view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Lower Reservoir in Central Park, and the skyline of Central Park West. The Lower Reservoir was drained in 1930, having become redundant some years before, and was filled in to create the Great Lawn. During the early years of the Depression, the site became a Hooverville, until Robert Moses ushered the project along in the mid-1930s.
The San Remo Apartment building, with its twin tower construction, epitomizes Upper West Side luxury. Construction began in 1929 and completed shortly before this photograph was taken in 1932. Many of the larger apartments had to be subdivided during the Great Depression to make them more affordable to renters. Since then, the New York real estate market has changed dramatically, and now the San Remo is amongst the most expensive locations in Manhattan, housing many wealthy business tycoons and celebrities.
In this 1875 photograph, the photographer himself is the subject. He stands on Bow Bridge in Central Park above a placid lake, which reflect both him and the bridge. The leaves on the trees are sparse, indicating that this could be late fall or early spring. The image almost has an Impressionistic quality, as if the photographer were trying to mimic the work of Monet.
It's a beautiful summer day in 1940, and from where you stand in Central Park, you can see two of the most luxurious hotels in the world, the Sherry Netherland and the Plaza. The Plaza is perhaps the better known of the two, but sadly will eventually become a luxurious residence. The Sherry Netherland, however, will remain the pinnacle of New York City luxury for some time to come.
A summer day in 1914. Two women stand on the edge of the lake in Central Park, arms akimbo, looking across at the boathouse. This edifice was designed by Calvert Vaux shortly after the completion of the park. It burned to the ground in1950 and was replaced by the current Loeb Boathouse.