The northern end of Central Park that surrounds the Harlem Meer will soon get a major revamp.
There are several components to the $150 million plan, which is the last piece of a larger 40-year renewal of the park’s northernmost tip. It calls for restoring the landscape surrounding the Harlem Meer, as well as building a new recreational facility with a new pool and rink. The project is a collaboration between the city’s Parks Department and the Conservancy.
In 2016, the park’s conservancy restored the Ravine landscape and the Loch Waterhouse (also in the northern side of the park), which now paved the way for the 11-acre Harlem Meer to be reconnected to those areas through better pedestrian circulation.
The Lasker rink and pool was built in 1966, and currently acts as a concrete barrier between the Meer and the newly restored ravine; so the renovation project includes removing that barrier and slightly moving the pool to allow the waterway that runs through the ravine to flow into the Meer.
A boardwalk will be built across several small islands and the freshwater marsh where the waterway flows into the lake, allowing for nature education programming including fishing, canoeing, and wildlife observation.
The new facility will be open to the public year-round, with a pool and splash pad in the summer, and an ice-skating rink in colder months. There will be a gathering space with access to the pool’s deck, locker rooms, public bathrooms, as well as a green roof that overlooks surrounding environs.
The design—led by the park’s chief landscape architect Christopher J. Nolan, Susan T. Rodriguez Architecture Design, and Mitchell Giurgola—aims to continue with the park’s tradition of creating spaces that connect its architecture to its landscape.
“Building upon the site’s unique topography and historical underpinnings, the project will transform the site, reopening it to the rest of the Park to create a new recreational experience that is integrated into the Park’s magnificent landscape and accessible to the public throughout the year,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
The conservancy expects to break ground on the project in the spring of 2021 and complete construction in 2024.