A Secret Tree House: Hidden in Plain Sight

Sarah Ritchie wedding venue


During the summer, the most popular wedding spots in Central Park are jam packed with couples from all over the world.  Locations such as the Ladies Pavilion, Shakespeare Garden and Wagner Cove may seem like revolving doors on weekend afternoons. However, I was recently reminded of a fabulous ceremony location that is hidden in plain sight just off of 5th Avenue around 67th Street.
Around 5th Avenue at about 67th Street, one can gaze atop a little hill in Central Park to find a perfect gazebo, which is much the same style as the very popular Cop Cot Gazebo in the south side of the park.  The sweet spot features beautiful views all around, with some stunning 5th Avenue properties on the east side of the structure, offering an iconic New York City photo opportunity.  Like Cop Cot, this area provides terrific seating for wedding guests in need of a rest.  This tree house, of sorts, is nearly always empty, so it is perfect for a secret elopement or small ceremony.  I was first introduced to the location by a young New York couple who scouted out the area for their spring 2011 wedding.  More recently, a couple from the U.K. noticed the gazebo, where we held a moonlight ceremony.

I have a couple of educated guesses as to why this Gazebo is so often empty. First, since it is not a popularly named location highlighted on the website of the Central Park Conservancy and other organizations, it is not evident to those looking online for a place to marry.  In perusing Sara Cedar Miller’s lovely book Seeing Central Park she explains that the location is called “The Dene,” an English word for “valley.”   Within the gazebo, a plaque reads:  “A Tree House for Dreaming,” dedicated in 2007.  Because it is pitched on a little hill, it is not altogether obvious how one gains access to the gazebo.  Needless to say, in a crowded summer park, this “tree house” is a hidden treasure!