Huddlestone Arch - Central Park

Huddlestone Arch

Huddlestone Arch

Huddlestone Arch

Huddlestone Arch, just south of Lasker Rink, looks as if it was formed by some benevolent act of nature, rather than being carefully crafted over 150 years ago.  It is in a part of the park that is much more natural, unspoiled, and much less utilized, bordering the Harlem Meer, while providing a less-trafficked retreat off the beaten path. Calvert Vaux designed the arch to seamlessly fit into the local scenery, its massive stones carrying the park drive overhead and shielding the trickling brook below.

The bridge is also striking for the immense size of its boulders. One lodged in the base is reputed to weigh close to one hundred tons. Vaux’s instructions to the men building Huddlestone were to choose boulders lying around the park that were most reminiscent of untamed nature.  A stream, parallel to the footpath, runs through Huddlestone’s archway, disappearing from view at the northern end, when suddenly the natural juxtaposition of trees, rocks, and a brook is unfortunately ruptured by asphalt, fences, and the concrete mass of the Lasker Rink. In season, one of the attractions of Huddlestone is the lacelike vines that spill over the cyclopean rock on the bridge’s south side.

Huddlestone Arch offers a gateway to the northern end of the Ravine and the bucolic splendor of the park’s secluded northern woods and is well worth a trip to the lesser known section of the park. Walking a short way up the Ravine to Loch you’ll find yourself out of sight and hearing from the bustling city just a few hundred feet away, a glance around you and you could easily believe you were hiking somewhere in the Catskills.


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