UPPER EAST SIDE — Central Park is bringing in the big guns.
The Central Park Conservancy is re-installing decorative cannons from 1905 to an overlook near East Harlem, officials said Thursday.
The cannons, which will be installed at Fort Clinton near East 107th Street, will replace cannons that were taken away from the site in 1980, Christopher J. Nolan, vice president for Planning, Design and Construction at the Conservancy, told Community Board 8 Parks Committee meeting Thursday night. The cannons are currently undergoing restoration, Conservancy officials said.
Because it is perched atop a steep bluff, the area — along with the neighboring Nutter's Battery Overlook — played an important strategic role in the Revolutionary War of 1812.
George Washington used what's presently the northeast portion of the Park to push back against the British, which wrested the area from him until their eventual military defeat, according to the Conservancy. The area was "quiet and deserted" until 1812, when Americans, fearing a British invasion, rebuilt a string of military outposts over six weeks, the Conservancy's website states.
The Conservancy is also planning other structural and cosmetic improvements for the overlooks including "rustic" wood benches and fences, as well as returning a flagpole to its original location, they said. Much of the asphalt will be replaced with a stone-based pavement.
At Nutter's Battery, located near East 108th Street, the Conservancy will carry out an extensive refurbishing of the wall.
"The character of the wall is actually in very bad shape at this point," Nolan said, adding that the joints between the stones are "not deeply raked" and that "a lot of mortar" is visible.
The Conservancy plans to reconstruct the wall, lowering the height to 18 inches so that the wall "itself provides the seating," officials said.
"We hope to have it be similar to the other walls in the park," Nolan said, explaining that it would be "striated schist" rock with a smooth top.
The overall goal of the project is to emphasize the view from the Meer, with the "rustic" elements intended to help visitors experience the unique, rocky landscape, Conservancy officials said.
CB8 and the public worried that without informative plaques, visitors might not recognize the significance of the important landmarks.
"If I were a tourist wandering through the park, just appreciating, what would lure me [to] this particular area?" said Bob Menna, an Upper East Side retiree. "What is attracting people other than being part of the park?"
CB8's Michele Birnbaum said she'd like to "have a bronze plaque," she said. "I'd hate to see some contemporary thing there."
Conservancy officials said they are considering the plaques.