Benches of Central Park
New York, USA

Project Details

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Location
New York, USA
Project Year
2019

A stroll through Central Park in the fall is a feeling unlike any other. The leaves are changing and reflecting their vibrant colors in the ponds and reservoirs around the park, squirrels are running around in preparation for the cold months ahead, and the air feels just crisp enough to enjoy a walk or run through the most visited urban park in the United States.

What most visitors of New York City’s Central Park may not know is that thousands of benches situated throughout the park are produced by Kenneth Lynch & Sons. As the premier supplier of benches in New York City since 1936, we are proud of be part of the history that accompanies nearly every corner of this beloved National Historic Landmark.

Our founder Kenneth Lynch initially became involved in the production of benches for New York City in 1936 during the planning for the 1939 World’s Fair, which took place in Flushing Meadows Park in Queens. In preparation for the World’s Fair, Kenneth Lynch and Robert Moses, the New York Parks Commissioner at the time, designed the Worlds Fair Bench that would become the mainstay of park seating and would go on to be recognized by park visitors from around the world as the iconic bench of Central Park.

From that point forward, Kenneth Lynch & Sons became the main producer of seating for future World’s Fairs and for a majority of New York City’s parks, as well as parks nationwide.

There are three styles of benches in Central Park which were produced by Kenneth Lynch & Sons. The World’s Fair style from 1939, with its circular armrests is found throughout Central Park. This bench is widely used in parks with landscape design planned by Fredrick Law Olmsted, renowned designer of Central Park.

The Central Park settee, based on the design of the benches used during the park’s creation in 1858 is a relaxed bench that is situated in the less formal, more pastoral areas of Central Park.

Our Concrete and Wood Park Benches are found along the perimeter of Central Park, along the stone walls that surround the park. These sturdy benches are a familiar sight to strollers along Central Park West and Fifth Avenue and are an integral part of the New York City streetscape.

In the 1990’s, Kenneth Lynch & Sons also created many add-ons to the city’s parks, including picnic tables, bicycle racks, armless benches, single-leg benches and even chess tables, which are a mainstay of New York City park life.

The benches in Central Park serve many purposes. The park’s 38 million annual visitors use the benches to take a break from their walk, wait for a friend, sip a cup of coffee, read a good book, or simply to sit and watch the world go by. Many famous individuals and celebrities have visited the park and have been photographed on our iconic benches. We’re delighted that many marriage proposals have also taken place on our benches.

But each bench is more than just a set of wood panels screwed together into its iron foundation. Each bench has a story, a piece of history, a dedication to a loved one. The stories on many of the benches are reflected on the engraved dedication plaques. Nearly half of the 9,500 benches found in Central Park have short personalized plaques engraved to highlight a family memory. These benches are more than just a place to sit, and it is an honor for all of us at Kenneth Lynch & Sons to be an ongoing contributor to the stories being told in Central Park every day.