Updated September 2020
There are 20 gates to Central Park, but most people don’t even know they exist. But what of Central Park’s original gates? There is no charge for entering the park, and no turnstiles or gatehouses are visible as you walk through the openings in the low stone wall along its borders. But if you look closely, you will see that some entrances have names carved into the sandstone: Scholars’ Gate, Hunters’ Gate, Explorers’ Gate.
These named gates honor groups of New Yorkers such as Scholars, Artisans, Merchants, and Artists—all the variety of hard-working people who make New York a world-class city. The names were chosen in 1862 by the park’s commissioners to try to represent the people who might be using the park and their professions. They represent a bygone era.
Answer: The Park originally intended to install modest gates at the entrances to close the Park at midnight. When they could not agree on a design, they put off the decision and left gaps in the wall that still remain today.
While the names were used on maps, the gates were not inscribed with their names until 1999.
The board also wanted to install small statues at each Park entrance representing the group for which the gate had been named. While the idea did not fully come to fruition, two gates do have nearby homages to their namesakes.
Enter at the Children’s Gate on Fifth Avenue near 76th Street: there is a playground, and if you wander between this gate and Inventors’ Gate at West 72nd Street you will see the statues of Alice in Wonderland and Hans Christian Andersen. There is the model boat pond to conquer if you can ship aboard a vessel heading out to sea. For the space of one’s childhood, perhaps, it is possible to believe in growing up to become an inventor.
Strangers’ Gate at 106th Street and Central Park West marks an entrance opposite the building once thought as a haunted castle. A black slate stairway leads into the park at Strangers’ Gate, and to enter the park there is to enter a fairy tale: a wilderness welcoming all strangers.
There is no Clerks’ Gate, a common profession at the time. Also there is no Lawyers’ Gate, Therapists’ Gate or Computer Programmers’ Gate.
There are 18 original names in all: Artisans’, Artists’, Boys’, Children’s, Engineers’, Farmers’, Girls’, The Gate of All Saints, Hunters’, Mariners’, Merchants’, Miners’, Pioneers’, Scholars’, Strangers’, Warriors’, Women’s and Woodmen’s.
Names have been added to the original eighteen, but I believe the list below is the full, current list with their locations:
East 110th Street Pioneers’ Gate
East 102nd Street Girls’ Gate
West 100th Street Boys’ Gate
East 96th Street Woodman’s Gate
East 90th Street Engineers’ Gate
West 85th Street Mariners’ Gate
East 79th Street Miners’ Gate
West 77th Street Naturalists’ Gate – added later
Sixth Avenue Artists’ Gate
Seventh Avenue Artisans’ Gate
Columbus Circle Merchants’ Gate
West 72nd Street Women’s Gate
West 81st Street Hunters’ Gate
West 96th Street Gate of all Saints
West 106th Street Strangers’ Gate
Adam Clayton Powell Blvd Warriors’ Gate
Lenox Avenue Farmers’ Gate
I have not photographed all of them and will when I am in the area. It is a large park!
Source article NY Times