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Central Park Stables Threatened

A proposed addition that would irreparably harm the character of the beloved and historic Central Park stables, located on the south side of the 86th Street Transverse, was heard by the Landmarks Preservation Commission on Tuesday, March 14. The proposal, to enclose the central courtyard of a stable, is backed by the New York City Police Department. The MAS strongly believes that the alteration is damaging to the character of this historic complex of buildings and urges the commission to deny the application.

The u-shaped stables were designed by Jacob Wrey Mould and built in 1869-71. Mould is best known as one of the original architects of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as the designer of many of the park’s buildings and ornamental arches and bridges. The picturesque stables are an outstanding example of the high gothic cottage style, to which Mould, and his frequent design partner Calvert Vaux, were deeply committed.

The stables, which are in a severe state of disrepair, have been used by the Police Department since 1936. While part of the precinct’s plan is to restore the buildings, it proposes a large glassy addition that would effectively destroy the open courtyard. The addition’s curvy roof would be visible from the reservoir’s running path and from the Great Lawn.

With their fine detailing, sumptuous materials and low scale, the Central Park stables are a rare collection of rustic gothic cottages in the city. While the Police Department’s intention of restoration and reuse is commendable, these proposed alterations would severely harm the character of these buildings and of Central Park.