belvedere2004_04.jpgDid you ever wonder where in Central Park the current weather conditions were being observed? Most National Weather Service measurements are made at airports or universities, but here in New York the observations are taken at a castle! Belvedere Castle, which is just south of the Great Lawn near the Delacorte Theater, has been an official observing station since 1920. Wind speed and direction are taken from the roof of the castle. Other measurements are taken at a fenced-in area just south of the castle. While there on Saturday Gothamist was excited to see an aspirated hygrothermometer, a precipitation identification sensor, a cloud height laser ceilometer, a visibility sensor, and a tipping bucket rain gauge. Measurements from those instruments are sent to the NWS forecast office at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, and transmitted back to the castle, where you can see the current conditions via an amber monochrome monitor, the likes of which Gothamist hasn’t used since Ed Koch was mayor.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Central Park was 106 F on July 9, 1936. The lowest was -15 F on February 9, 1934. The other locations that take weather observations in castles? Boston and Washington, D.C.