Central Park: The Grand Vision
ORNAMENTAL BRIDGES AND ARCHWAYS
Pine Bank Arch
Bank Rock Bridge
Green Gap Arch
The Terrace Bridge
Southeast Reservoir Bridge
Reservoir Bridge Southwest
SMALL RUSTIC BRIDGES
Spur Rock Arch Marble Arch Outset Arch
On the west side of the Ramble, hidden in the dense verdure of trees and shrubbery, the Ramble Arch carries a narrow walkway above with an intersecting footpath below.
In calculated contrast to the balance and restraint of the stone archways under the carriage drives, this rough stone structure would seem to have been inspired by some neoclassic landscape in which people dance about in the ruins of antiquity overgrown with vines and grasses.
Among the uneven hillocks and trees shading the sun is this narrow structure placed in a cleft between two high rock outcrops. Its arched opening measures only 5 feet across, rising to a height of 13 feet 6 inches. Ramble Arch has a passage 9 feet long and 32-foot sidewalls along the top. An original construction drawing now in the Municipal Archives (shown below) instructed masons to "Select stone with natural or worn face." Except for the base course, the voussoirs and blocks are boulders found in the park, flattened at their sides and "Laid to appear like dry wall, but interior in cement." The rockface ashlar, which gives it an especially picturesque quality, varies in low relief to being almost flat. In contrast, the parapet walls on top are in pronounced rockface.
Large boulders specially moved here heighten the dramatic setting. It is impossible to pass underneath Ramble Arch without feeling that you are in one of those very special, faraway places in Central Park.
Just southeast of the bridge's east flank was once an entrance to the Cave, one of the park's curiosities in its early days. The entrance was later blocked. To see the remains of the Cave, the curious have to go to a silted inlet on the Lake side.