NEW YORK - Belvedere Castle is one of the crown jewels of Central Park. Belvedere translates to "beautiful view" in Italian, and that's just what the miniature castle envisioned by park co-designer Calvert Vaux provides.
It's the focus of an audio guide, available in English, Spanish, and for the hearing impaired, American Sign Language. It’s part of a new digital guide of the famed 843-acre getaway in Manhattan.
Central Park Conservancy President and CEO Betsy Smith says it’s the next step in accessibility to the park.
"It really expands people's understanding of the history and purpose of the park,” said Smith.
The digital guide was created by the park's caretakers with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, and is available for free on the Bloomberg Connects app, featuring technology designed to transform visitor experiences at cultural institutions around the world.
"It allows us to really do what we do best, which is be the experts on the park,” said Andrea Buteau, the Conservancy’s Director of Visitor Experience.
The Conservancy curated the guide’s content. It includes information on Seneca Village, the early 19th-century community of predominantly African-Americans, many of whom owned property, which was located near the park's edge at West 85th Street.
There's also the many statues and monuments, trees, a Bloom Guide, and helpful maps. It’s a big park!
It arrives at a time when the park has become more important than ever to New Yorkers, as a haven during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Smith calls it the heart, soul and lungs of the city, which has been reclaimed by New Yorkers.
“The park became a real focus of their daily life, and I think there is growing appreciation for how important this park is and every park around the city,” Smith said.
If you want to check out the Central Park Digital Guide for your next visit, it’s available on the Bloomberg Connects app, which can be found at the Apple Store or on Google Play.