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
Playmates Arch is a stone and brick masonry structure located just south of the 65th Street transverse. It was designed by Calvert Vaux, detailed by Jacob Wrey Mould and completed by 1863. It continues a pedestrian walkway between the Dairy and the Carousel and also serves as a bridge for the Center Drive.
Playmates Arch is one of the most ornate masonry structures in Central Park with its characteristic Philadelphia pressed brick and Milwaukee yellow brick-belt coursing and granite trim. In his description of Central Park in 1864, Frederick B. Perkins called Playmates the "tricolored archway." The span is 17 feet 8 inches wide, and 9 feet 11 inches high. The underpass is 66 feet long.
The original cast-iron railing only remains on the east side of the drive. The railing on the west side, destroyed in an auto accident, was replaced with a duplicate cast-iron railing in 1989. This was part of the overall restoration of the Arch by the Parks Department, under the supervision of the Central Park Conservancy. Cast-iron railings, readily available in 1863, are now regarded as special, surviving ornaments.
Playmates derived its name partly from its proximity to a number of major park attractions devoted to children: the Dairy, which once served fresh milk and other refreshments, the Kinderberg, a huge rustic shelter replaced in the 1930s by the Chess and Checkers House, a Children's Cottage, with live animals, and the nearby Carousel. The present Carousel is the latest in a line of three earlier machines in Central Park.