A Secret Section of New York’s Central Park Has Been Closed Since 1934… Until Now

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Source: Central Park Conservancy

Source: Central Park Conservancy

In 1934, the Promontory, one of Central Park’s three woodlands, was closed to the public by New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses to be preserved as a bird sanctuary. For more than 80 years, the secret landscape has been inaccessible to park-goers. Until now.

The Central Park Conservancy announced this week the Promontory – now known as Hallett Nature Sanctuary after being renamed in 1986 – will be open to the public on a limited basis.

The Hallett Nature Sanctuary will host open hours through June 30 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday: 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. On July 1 through August 31, Wednesday hours will be expanded to 7:00 p.m., as well as on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

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According to the CPC’s website, a restoration process was started in 2001, which was made easier in “large part” by the lack of visitors to the area for nearly 70 years.

Source: Central Park Conservancy

Source: Central Park Conservancy

From the Conservancy:

“Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a perfect example of how even the ‘wildest,’ most naturalistic habitats in Central Park require constant planning and care in order to thrive. As a result of the Conservancy’s removal of invasive plant species and introduction of native plants, the sanctuary is more diverse and healthy than ever, supporting various wildlife populations.”

In a 2014 video (below), Doug Blonsky, president and CEO of the CPC, further elaborated on how the Sanctuary will be different from other areas of the park. When discussing a fallen tree trunk that came down during 2011’s Hurricane Sandy, Blonsky said, “Normally we would take this down in other areas of the park. But here, it’s going to become part of this area. It’s going to become part of the habitat.”

Source: Central Park Conservancy

Source: Central Park Conservancy

The Sanctuary can be accessed via the East Side of Central Park from 60th-62nd Streets. The Conservancy website says it is “just south of Wollman Rink” in the curve of The Pond.

Guided tours of the Hallett Nature Sanctuary and The Pond are available through the Conservancy’s website.

The CPC noted that the Sanctuary will remain open in the fall, but hours will be determined at a later date.

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