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Historic Gate in NYC’s ‘Central Park’ Comes With a Pretty Incredible Secret

If you’ve ever been to New York City, whether you lived there or simply visited, odds are good that you took a stroll through Central Park. The famous park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted is one of the Big Apple’s must-see attractions. Aside from being an iconic place to wander through, Central Park is steeped in such rich history. And there’s one marker in particular in the park that comes with a very interesting secret. 

The majestic “Vanderbilt Gate” serves as the main entrance to the Central Park’s Conservatory Garden, right around 5th Avenue and 105th Street, and it’s impossible to miss. A new video was shared on TikTok by @centralparknyc a few days ago, and it revealed the historic significance of this gate that many people don’t know about. Wait until you hear where this gate originally stood.

Can you even imagine how incredible the Vanderbilt’s mansion must have been? Granted, all of the Gilded Age residences were something to marvel at. But the Vanderbilt family is famous for its impressive homes, including The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and The Breakers, in Newport, Rhode Island. 

TikTok users are pretty captivated with this incredible piece of history that lives on to this day. @Alvie said, “Imagine seeing those Guilded Age mansions back in the day 😍.” Indeed. They certainly don’t make homes like the ones from that time period anymore. Another commenter, @stayinbedmother added, “Anderson Cooper’s family gate!” (Sounds like somebody is a little starstruck.)

But while plenty of people are captivated by the story behind the gate, several TikTok commenters thought that the video should’ve mentioned Seneca Village instead of the Vanderbilt Gate. According to CBS News, Seneca Village started as a piece of land that was purchased by an African American shoe shiner named Andrew Williams. Together with other free Black Americans, a settlement was created, which became Seneca Village. It was located where Central Park is today in the 1820s, and was demolished to make way for the park. Cynthia Copeland, president of the Institute for the Exploration of Seneca Village History, told CBS News, “Seneca Village was a place of opportunity. It was a reaction to racism.” She continued, “These were people who were forgotten. And it is unfortunate that the story was hidden for so long. But it’s great that the story has emerged.”

The history of this country is full of both beautiful and tragic stories, and places like Central Park serve as a reminder to remember and appreciate all who came before us to make this great nation what it is today. Perhaps the next time you walk through the park, you’ll take a moment to consider all of the secrets and stories from the past that are hiding within it.

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