Harlem Meer

Located in the northern-most reach of the Park, the Harlem Meer is a glimmering, man-made lake surrounded by majestic stands of oak, bald cypress, beech, and ginko trees.

Families flock to the Meer for catch-and-release fishing, skating and swimming at Lasker Rink and Pool, or to explore the nearby playgrounds. On the northern shore of the Meer stands the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, a visitor center run by the Conservancy.

Before Harlem became part of New York City in 1712, it was a bustling village that included the current upper regions of Central Park. The village encompassed common grounds for cattle grazing, taverns for travelers to restore themselves, and the homes of Dutch families that traded fur and tobacco. The name “Meer” (the Dutch word for "lake”) was chosen by Central Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux to commemorate this fascinating history.

In 2021, Lasker Rink and Pool will be redeveloped into to a state-of-the-art facility that will provide year-round programming and expanded recreational activities at the Harlem Meer. Learn more about this project.

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  • Restoration and Maintenance

    Always Improving: Restoring Central Park in 2019

    The Central Park Conservancy’s team of professionals work year-round to renovate, rebuild, and refresh every corner of the Park.

    Tags: Playgrounds

  • Wildlife

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    The mammals, birds, and reptiles that call Central Park home have adapted to survive the cold.

    Tags: Winter

  • Park History

    Establishing a ‘Gateway to Harlem’: The Creation of Frederick Douglass Circle

    While Frederick Douglass is an integral figure in American history, it took time for the 8-foot bronze sculpture and accompanying renovation of the area to come about.

    Tags: About the Conservancy / History

  • Park History

    Harlem Meer Performance Festival Nears 30 Years of Music and Dance

    Since 1993, the Harlem Meer Performance Festival has been a cultural cornerstone of the community surrounding the north end of Central Park.

    Tags: Summer / Programs and Events

  • Park Information

    10 New Year’s Resolutions for a Central Park Lover

    Here are 10 ways to combine a desire for a new you in 2020 with the joy of spending time in Central Park.

  • Plants and Trees

    What Are Central Park’s Most Colorful Fall Trees?

    In appreciation of this photogenic time of year, we asked a Conservancy arborist what trees you should look for this autumn and where to find them.

    Tags: Fall / Trees

  • Restoration and Maintenance

    New Rink and Pool to Expand Recreational Opportunities

    The Conservancy has unveiled its capstone project of its decades-long work in the north end of Central Park.

  • Programs and Events

    The Hair-Raising History of the Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla

    The Halloween Pumpkin Flotilla returns to the Harlem Meer in late October with crafts, storytelling, a costume parade, and more.

    Tags: Programs and Events / Fall / About the Conservancy / Best for Kids

  • Programs and Events

    New Yorkers Celebrate Spring in Central Park

    A full day of free special events and programs unfolded across Central Park on March 20 to celebrate the first day of spring.

    Tags: Families / Conservancy Staff / Programs and Events / Spring