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Dairy Visitor Center Restored and Reopened

Earlier this month, Central Park’s Dairy Visitor Center and Gift Shop reopened after a year-long renovation.

Located mid-park at 65th Street, the Calvert Vaux designed structure, completed in 1871, was created to resemble a Victorian cottage, while originally serving as a place for kids and their parents to get snacks and milk.

Central Park Dairy architect sketch

Architect’s drawing of the Dairy, Central Park, New York, published in 1869. (Internet Archive Book Images via Wikimedia Commons)

central park dairy vintage

c/o New York Public Library, date unknown

The structure eventually deteriorated and was closed to the public in the mid-20th century. In the 1980s, the Central Park Conservancy embarked on one of its first projects and restored the building before reopening it as the first visitor center in Central Park.

The Conservancy’s most recent restoration project began in September 2020, and included:

  • Restoring the historic loggia (open-air porch).
  • Constructing an accessibility ramp from the East Drive.
  • Repairing, cleaning, and repointing the exterior masonry.
  • Replacing windows and doors.
  • Installing a new energy-efficient climate control system.
  • Reconfiguring staff and support space to provide an accessible staff restroom.

Photo: Timothy Schenck

Photo: Central Park Conservancy

Photo: Central Park Conservancy

Photo: Central Park Conservancy

From Thursday, November 18 to Saturday, November 20, the Central Park Conservancy is offering its first one-hundred customers a free, limited-edition gift with a $50 purchase. Holiday gifts (browse here) include home décor, apparel, books and more.  

The Dairy is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10am to 5pm. To learn more, please visit centralparknyc.org/locations/dairy-visitor-center.


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