East Side of Reservoir
The Reservoir is the largest water body in Central Park and one of its most popular destinations for running.
Be sure to look up as you walk along the allée of Kwanzan cherry trees in the landscape west of the Reservoir. Their vibrant, double-petaled pink blooms will give you a jolt of energy as they put on their spring-time show. And don’t dawdle if you want to catch the deeply hued flowers of the early-blooming Okames, also scattered in this landscape between the Reservoir running track and the bridle path.
As the City’s population grew, its water supply system expanded, resulting in changes to both reservoirs. In 1917, the City finished construction on the first water tunnel from reservoirs upstate, which greatly expanded capacity and made the Park’s first reservoir obsolete; by 1937 it had been filled and redesigned as the Great Lawn. In 1993, the remaining Reservoir was decommissioned, in part because of concerns about contamination from algae, and because of the ongoing expansion of the system, including the construction of the third water tunnel.
In 1994, the Reservoir was named for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis—who used to jog here—in honor of her contributions to the City. In 2009, the Central Park Conservancy restored a historic fountain that was originally installed in 1917 in celebration of the completion of the Ashokan Reservoir upstate and the dedication of the City’s first water tunnel. Originally rarely activated, and only for special occasions, this floating fountain now provides another scenic element to this popular destination. Today, the Reservoir is managed by the Department of Environmental Protection.