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

Central Park Bike Tour

  • Our bicycle tour has been ranked as one the top 5 things to do in Central Park by TripAdvisor. It is the only tour that covers the entire length of Central Park and it provides an excellent overview of the whole park.
  • The tour takes approximately 2 hours and it includes various stops along the way. On those stops, you can park the bicycle and go for a short stroll along some of the most stunning views of Central Park.
  • Including Bethesda Terrace, Strawberry Fields, The Bow Bridge, Balto and many more. In addition, you will also visit some of the hidden places in Central Park - the Ravine, the secret waterfall and of course our team’s favorite - the Central Park Ramble!
  • 2 Hours - $53 - Prices are per person
    Book Here.

Central Park Pedicab Tour

  • Allow one of our experienced tour guides to show you the beauty of the park from the back of a pedicab. Those iconic NYC pedicabs are one of the best things to do in Central Park!
  • Sit down and relax while your tour guide tells you about the history of the park, architecture, interesting trivia and of course points out the exact location of all those blockbuster movies filmed in Central Park
  • Reserve either 1 hour or 2 hour guided pedicab tour. If you are already in the park, don’t worry, we can send the tour guide to pick you up from one of the many designated pick up zones inside Central Park.
  • 1 Hour - $53 - 2 Hours - $89 - Prices are per person
  • Book Here.

Central Park Bike Rental

  • Biking in Central Park is one of the most enjoyable ways to explore the park and do it at your own pace.
  • You can pick up your bike from one of our convenient locations around the park. In case you are already inside the park, no worries, we can send our concierge to deliver the bike(s) to one of the many designated bike zones inside the park. At the time of booking, we will direct you to the nearest bike pick up station in the park.
  • Pack some light snacks and a water bottle, take one of the park maps we provide. When reserving your bike rental, you will have an option to include an audio guided tour.
  • 1 Hour $15 - 2 Hours $20 - 3 Hours $25 - All Day (9am -7pm) $40
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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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