Rumsey Playfield

Snowbabies guarding the entrance to Rumsey Playfield

Snow Babies guarding the entrance to Rumsey Playfield

This spacious playfield—named after the sister of late New York Governor Averell Harriman—is used mainly for school sports, but it’s also home to Summerstage, which offers free musical concerts every year. The entrance is guarded by two small sculptures by Victor Frisch called “Snow Babies.”

The Casino

In the original 1858 Greensward Plan for Central Park, the designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux intended for this site an exhibition and music hall required by the Board of Commissioners as a feature of the new park. Plans changed, and by 1862 music was performed at the old Bandstand on the Concert Ground at the end of the Mall. This area then became the site of the Casino (casino means “little house” in Italian). The building was designed by Vaux to be used as the Ladies’ Refreshment Saloon, a respectable dining establishment for the enjoyment of women who had come to the Park without a male escort. This plan changed, however, and the Casino became the main restaurant in the Park serving both men and women.

The building resembled upstate country houses that Vaux had previously designed in his private architectural practice. At night, the building was described in Baldwin’s Guide to the Central Park as “brilliantly illuminated with gas from handsome pendants.” During the day patrons would drive up in their carriages to visit the Casino, sit under the Wisteria Pergola at the western edge of the site, and listen to the strains of music from the Wednesday and Saturday afternoon concerts on the Mall below. In the summer seasons refreshments from the Casino were served at tables placed under the archway leading to Bethesda Terrace.

In the 1920s the restaurant was extended to include an elaborately decorated ballroom created by Josef Urban, the esteemed Viennese interior designer. It became a fashionable nightclub frequented by New York Mayor “Gentleman” Jimmy Walker, and featured the musical talent of Eddie Duchin’s orchestra and such performers as Ethel Merman.

In 1935 this site underwent another transformation. Newly appointed Parks Commissioner Robert Moses ordered the demolition of the Casino, and the site was developed as the Mary Harriman Rumsey Playground for children. A statue of Mother Goose, designed by F.G.R. Roth, was erected near the playground entrance in 1938. Purchased with Works Progress Administration funds, it depicts Mother Goose and some of her nursery-rhyme characters, including Little Jack Horner, Humpty Dumpty, and Little Bo Peep. In 1986 it became Rumsey Playfield, a clay-surfaced sports area for school groups, and in 1990 the site of Summerstage, returning the site to the original musical intention of Olmsted and Vaux.

Rumsey Playfield

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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