New York City Public Observatory

NYCPO Progress
Completed 35%

Current Status:

As of November 17, 2022: Our design submission has been updated with some minor changes. The concrete ramp will be curved from the sidewalk, and without handrails, allowing better wheelchair access from the sidewalk to the observing site. Additionally, we will be planting three Eastern Redbud trees, along with Northern Bayberry shrubs.

The Amateur Astronomers Association has partnered with Science Friday for a fundraising star party on December 3, 2022. Details here.

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To learn more, review our timeline below.

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Timeline of Events:

  • September 2022: Initial Design Submission made to New York City Parks for preliminary review. Our plans for the New York City Public Observatory have been submitted to the New York City Parks Department for first review, with a more detailed look. A concrete ramp with handrails will allow better wheelchair access from the sidewalk to the observing site, complete with a 14-foot pavilion outside the dome for visitors with mobility needs. The walkway will be a landscape friendly permeable paved surface to prevent any increase in runoff. In addition to the primary telescope inside the dome, secondary telescopes can be placed outside for ADA access and greater general use.

    In addition to our submission, our interview with NY1 from June 2022 was released to the public today.

  • August 2022: Dirtworks Landscape Architecture submitted a proposal to prepare and shepherd AAA’s construction permit submissions, required by NYC Parks and the Dept. of Buildings, along with neighborhood design reviews.
  • July 2022: Electricity for the dome is being conceptualized. Additionally, we have hired a consultant for site plan. A landscape architect will ensure that the area immediately surrounding dome will be functional. Soon, we will be painting the dome, just before it is transported from Long Island to The Bronx.
  • June 2022: Members of the Amateur Astronomers Association hosted solar observing at the proposed New York City Public Observatory location in Jerome Park on June 20, 2022 to build interest.
  • Executive Vice President Bart Fried and Gothamist reporter Rosemary Misdary speak with WNYC‘s Brian Lehrer about the NYC Public Observatory and a little about the history of bringing the stars to the public in New York City. Listen here: A Public Stargazing Observatory is One Step Closer to a New Home in The Bronx
  • While we work towards filing our permits and raising funds, we wanted to provide you with a mock up of what the telescope will look like inside the dome:
Celestron C11 telescope on a Pier-Tech pier mount
  • As we continue to raise funds, money will go towards the Pier-Tech pier, along with some light restoration work on the dome. 
  • May 2022: The Observatory Working Group is beginning the process of obtaining a Parks Construction Permit from the Parks Capital Division. OWG will also obtain a Department of Buildings Permit, and submit for Public Design Committee approval. All are required before the dome is moved to Jerome Park by the reservoir. The site can be seen on Google Maps.
  • Dome relocated from Nassau Community College to its new temporary home at the Cradle of Aviation Museum.
  • Gothamist article released; Parks Department agrees on location for dome.
  • April 2022: Proposal submitted to Parks Department:
    • Free For All – this observatory will be open to the general public at no charge.
    • ADA Compatibility – making the dome all-inclusive, including but not limited to: having a portable pathway to the dome entrance, providing a comparable portable telescope for wheelchair users set up just outside the dome, or on the nearby sidewalk, and offering an Electronically Assisted Astronomy device, for severely constrained persons or large groups.
    • Carbon Neutrality – solar paneling to generate electricity for telescope use.
  • February 2022: Parks Department approached, in conjunction with Bronx Science High School, interested in hosting observatory within Jerome Park.
  • January 2022: Shirley Chisholm State Park declined to host observatory.
  • November 2021: Floyd Bennett Field declined to host observatory.
  • August 11, 2021: Nassau Community College offered AAA their 9′ tall, 6.6′ [2 meter] Observa-dome aluminum observatory.