Currier and Ives Sleigh Race

Currier and Ives Sleigh Race

This past Sunday Central Park was covered by a thick blanket of white as New York City enjoyed the first snowfall of the season.  Later that day the slopes all around the park were covered with all manner of sleds and toboggans as New Yorkers young (and not so) took advantage of the rare, pre-holiday opportunity for downhill racing.  I took a walk up the East Drive towards McGown’s Pass (E. 106th St.) later in the evening and experienced a moment of “Time And Again” temporal displacement.  Streetlights twinkling through the snow, not a car to be seen, or heard, just the soft white mantle covering the road and trees, muting what little sound there was.  Easy to imagine the park a century or so ago, when the first snow of the season was the occasion for a race to the Tavern that once stood at the top of McGown’s Pass.

For most of the latter half of the 19th century, right up until its demolition in 1915, the McGown’s Pass Tavern awarded a magnum of champagne to the first sleigh that reached it each season.  The tradition was carried on with the Central Park Casino until it’s demise in 1934.

McGown's Pass Tavern

McGown’s Pass Tavern at 106th St.

The Tavern was originally owned by the McGown family and had existed on the spot in various incarnations for over two hundred years.  It was originally a stop along the Boston Post Road and the site has also been the home of Mt St. Vincent Convent and a museum.  By the turn of the last century it had been rebuilt into an extremely popular restaurant and sportsman’s club – reportedly a favorite uptown spot for then Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt.

The space once occupied by the Tavern is now the site of the Central Park Composting Center, a very valuable, if somewhat less fashionable, use for the hill at 106th St.  But even now, on a still night following a snowstorm you can almost hear the muffled thump of hooves and jingling of sleigh bells through the crisp winter air.

Walking Tour Overview

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Book Risk Free: Free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Free reschedule or full refund in case of bad weather
  • Tickets: Both printed and mobile tickets accepted

The walking tour covers all most beautiful sights of the southern half of Central Park. You will walk through some of the 58 miles of trails the park has to offer passing a lake, rocky outcrops, bridges, arches, sculptures and more.
This tour takes you off the beaten path to sights both the bikes and pedicabs cannot reach - book here.

Bicycle Tour Overview

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Book Risk Free: Free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Free reschedule or full refund in case of bad weather
  • Tickets: Both printed and mobile tickets accepted

The bicycle tour provides a complete journey through 843 acres of Central Park, guaranteeing that you will see the most out of any tour available. Your tour guide will provide background information, historical insight, and point out some of the most photogenic sites for you to capture photos!
This tour covers about six miles in a casual, smooth pace with lots of stops for walking and photos. It's the ultimate way to discover Central Park - book here.

Pedicab Tour Overview

  • Duration: 1 hour, 2 hours or 3 hours
  • Book Risk Free: Free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance
  • Free reschedule or full refund in case of bad weather
  • Tickets: Both printed and mobile tickets accepted

The most comfortable way to explore Central Park. No need to walk or peddle - just sit, lay back and enjoy beautiful views and insightful commentary.
This is a private tour for you and your party. A complete, relaxed, and personalized experience of Central Park. You can choose from 1 hour, 2 hours or 3 hours tour options.  Custom pick up/drop off spots are available too - book here.

Combination Tour Overview

  • Duration: 2 hours or 3 hours
  • Book Risk Free: Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Free reschedule or full refund in case of bad weather
  • Tickets: Both printed and mobile tickets accepted

The Combined Pedicab & Bicycle Tour is ideal for parties when one part part prefers to ride their own bikes, and another part prefers the comfort of the pedicab – on this tour all the group will stay together and have stops for walking and group pictures - book here.


About Central Park

Find all the information you need to enjoy your visit to New York City's iconic Central Park.


Things To Do

From The Philharmonic on the Great Lawn to Shakespeare in the Park to SummerStage, Central Park offers an endless array of things to do, see, hear - and, with two full service restaurants and several cafes, taste.  You can visit The Shakespeare Garden, take in a performance at the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater, take a ride on the Carousel - or just sit and people watch at Bethesda Terrace!


Contact Us

Contact Info

5th Ave. 
New York, NY, 10028

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