One of the first places I visited when I began researching this book was the Arsenal in Central Park. It resembles a medieval castle and fits in perfectly nestled up against 5th Ave. and the edge of Central Park. Built between 1847 and 1851, the Arsenal is the second oldest building in Central Park, the first is Block House built in 1812. The Arsenal has been a munitions depot, a museum, a police precinct and even a makeshift zoo at one point! The building was taken over by Robert Moses in 1934 and currently houses the office of the Parks Commissioner and a exhibition gallery on the third floor.
The day I went, I was taken back by the beauty of the entrance hall not to mention the little carousel horse I discovered in a back stairwell while making copies. It sat by a window overlooking the Central Park Zoo. This is not the best photo, but it gives you idea of the charm of this piece and its location.
Visit the Parks Department website at http://www.nycgovparks.org/about/history/the-arsenal for a more detailed history of this beautiful building.