Front of the Gate of the Exonerated, Photo: @seanc74 from Instagram

New York City has an abundance of activities and places to see to celebrate Black History Month. New Yorkers can take advantage of an unusually mild winter to enjoy outdoor events and not be relegated to all things museum related. Once you’ve escaped your sweltering apartment where you had to crack the window open because the landlord has the noisy radiator on high despite the outside temperature nearing 50 degrees, head to Central Park to see the recently unveiled Gate of the Exonerated, named for five teenagers whose wrongful convictions were overturned.

The first gate/entrance to be named in Central Park since 1862, it was dedicated on Dec. 19, 2022, on the 20th anniversary of the exoneration of the men previously known as the Central Park Five. Yusef Salaam, Kevin Richardson, Antron McCray, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise, were teenagers in 1989 when they were wrongfully convicted of assaulting a female jogger and served sentences ranging from six to 12 years. Their sentences were vacated on Dec. 19, 2002, after an inmate admitted to the crime.

Didactic panel showing all of gates in park, Photo: Malik Brizan-Reed

Less than a minute walk is the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center. Visitors will find a self-guided exhibit explaining more about the incident in the park and a short documentary about the decision-making that went into the naming of the Gate of the Exonerated. The exhibition gives insight into the history of a gate and the different types of gates throughout the 823-acre park. Visitors also have an opportunity to share their sentiments by writing on cards about the exhibit and the Gate of the Exonerated by leaving the card in a comment box.

Visitor Information: The exhibit on the gates is temporary.  Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The exhibit, which is located in the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, will be closed Feb. 26 until further notice. 

Getting there: The most convenient way to get there is via the 2 or 3 train to Central Park North (110 Street station) or by taking the M2 or M4 bus and getting off at Central Park North/Malcolm X. Boulevard. 

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