Just steps from busy 59th Street is a secret woodland that, for more than 80 years, only birds, raccoons, and the occasional coyote could visit. Now Central Park’s Hallett Nature Sanctuary is open to the public for the first time since 1934. If you time your visit right, you can explore wooded paths with stunning city views.
The Most Isolated Sanctuary in Central Park
The Hallet Nature Sanctuary is a four-acre woodland peninsula surrounded by the Pond at the southeast corner of Central Park.
The area was closed to the public and set aside as a bird sanctuary in 1934 by NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. In 1986, the area was renamed to honor George Hervey Hallett Jr., a birdwatcher, naturalist, and civic leader.
The Hallett Nature Sanctuary is a prime birdwatching spot. It is an important feeding ground for birds flying the Atlantic Flyover migration route.
The wooded sanctuary is a wonderful spot to slow down, take a nature break, and listen to the birds. It’s only a 10-minute walk from the 6th Ave/59th Street entrance.
Revitalized and Reopened
After decades of neglect, the area was choked by invasive plants like wisteria, ailanthus, and Black Cherry. In 2001, the Central Park Conservancy began to restore the sanctuary.
Invasive plant species were removed and native plants were introduced.
There are two paths leading to different views. A favorite moment from our visit was at the top of the Promontory.
What a view over The Pond!
Plan Your Visit to the Woodland Speakeasy
The Hallett Nature Sanctuary is open regularly to the public.
As of April 2017, the Hallett Nature Sanctuary will be open daily from 10:00 am until 30 minutes before sunset. No dogs, bicycles, or strollers are permitted.
Learn more about the Hallett Nature Sanctuary at the Central Park Conservancy site.
Have you visited yet? Let me know what you think by leaving a reply below.