Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Manhattan meeracle

Designed in 1858 by landscape artist Frederick Law Olmstead and English architect Calvert Vaux, Central Park was largely completed by 1873, some 13 years before our ClockTower.
This is their Harlem Meer, a manmade lake in the northeast corner of the park.
“Meer” is Dutch for lake. The designers were acknowledging earlier settlers from Amsterdam who had moved in to settle “Nieuw Haarlem” at the time.

The Meer itself was originally larger but has been reduced to eleven acres. 1940’s era concrete curb “improvements” were removed in 1993 so the banks are natural again.

That same year they dredged 34,000 cubic yards of “sediment and debris”, too. Don’t ask.

The Discovery Center was built and opened in 1993 in a Victorian Style to blend with earlier park buildings.

Like the Dairy.

According to Parks data online, the Harlem Meer is one of the most successful wildlife habitats in Manhattan, home to fish, turtles, and waterfowl, a breed of heron and this duck.

The landscaping offers several varieties of oak, bald cypress, beech and gingko, and it’s not very far from here. Bring a cold drink and a blanket this Summer. 

And some crackers for the duck.

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