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
Reached easily from the Fifth Avenue and 85th Street entrance to the park, Southeast Reservoir Bridge is one of three cast-iron spans over the bridle path in the vicinity of the Reservoir. It does not have the same appeal as either of the other two. This could well be because, while the supporting element is suitably curved, the platform above is flat. The bowed elegance of the others is wanting. Nor is there the quantity of ornament and openwork.
It was under contract in 1864 to J. B. and W. W. Cornell Ironworks, which did most of the iron work in the park, and completed a year later.
Much trafficked, it links the Reservoir footpath, a crossing at the drive, and paths coming from two popular park entrances.
The 33-foot long span has a height clearance of 10 feet 3 inches, a moderate size for a cast-iron arch. The span was erected at one-fifth the cost of a stone span, one explanation for the popularity of cast iron in the last century. Fabrication and assembling required fewer workers and less time.
In 1989, restoration of Southeast Reservoir Bridge was completed by the Parks Department, funded by the Central Park Conservancy. The concrete deck was replaced with a tongue-and-groove wood deck. New cast-iron railings were fabricated by Historical Arts & Castings of Salt Lake City, Utah, using the original Calvert Vaux drawings.