10. The Central Park Arsenal
The Central Park Arsenal, at 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, is one of the two buildings (the other being the Blockhouse) left in the park that predate the park’s formation. Although its medieval architecture doesn’t quite match the park’s aesthetic, the 167-year-old Arsenal has survived multiple demolition attempts by providing a diverse array of functions, from its original usage as a state munitions facility, to the site of the Museum of Natural History, to its current role as home to the Department of Parks and Recreation and headquarters of the Central Park Zoo.
The medieval-style building, designed by architect Martin Thompson, was built between 1847 and 1851. In 1857, four years after the State designated the large plot of land under the building as Central Park, New York City officials bought the Arsenal for $275,000. After removing all the weapons, the city converted the structure to function as the park’s administrative building, which it did until 1914. Also in 1857, the 11th Police Precinct’s station took up residence in part of the building.
Next, check out the Top 10 Secrets of Central Park. This article was co-written by Michelle Young, Rachel Fawn Alban, Samantha Sokol, and Sabrina Romero.