Harlem Meer Shoreline Restoration & Boardwalk

The Harlem Meer shoreline restoration project will build upon the Central Park Conservancy's work at and around the Harlem Meer, including our 1990 restoration of the Meer, the East 108th Street and East 110th Street Playground projects, and the ongoing Harlem Meer Center project.

The project will naturalize the Meer's shoreline and expand the water body surface to improve habitat, create a more visually appealing edge, and restore its original 19th-century character. Through the restoration of the shoreline path system, we will improve accessibility along the south shoreline and between the Lenox Avenue entrance, the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, and Harlem Meer Center.

The Harlem Meer was first completed in 1866 in the northeast corner of the Park. The area from 106th Street to 110th Street was added to the Park's original footprint through the advocacy of Park co-designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In the first half of the 20th century, the character of the Meer changed considerably through a series of projects, including the addition of a shoreline perimeter path, a concrete perimeter wall, and perimeter fencing. In the mid-1960s, the Lasker Rink and Pool facility was constructed, reducing the footprint of the Meer and severing the connection between the Loch and Ravine and the Meer.

In the 1980s, the newly formed Central Park Conservancy began a series of projects to restore the Meer, including the removal of fencing, selective removal of the concrete perimeter wall, and naturalization of the shoreline. The center island was constructed, and the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center replaced the former boathouse structure. Currently, the Conservancy is constructing the new Harlem Meer Center to replace the Lasker Rink and Pool facility. As part of this work, we are expanding the footprint of the Meer, removing the remaining concrete perimeter wall, and reconnecting the Loch and the Meer via a newly constructed stream corridor (replacing the Lasker-era culvert).

The Harlem Meer shoreline project is currently in design and will continue our efforts to ensure visitors can enjoy this vital part of Central Park for years to come.

Harlem Meer Shoreline Phase Wise Marking

Scope of Work

  • Shoreline stabilization and reconstruction to expand the Meer surface, including changes to the location of the shoreline in some areas
  • Path reconstruction for sections of the shoreline path that have not been recently rebuilt, including associated infrastructure, utilities, and site furnishings
  • Replacement of two sections of the south shoreline path by a boardwalk, following the same detailing as the new Harlem Meer Center boardwalk
  • Addition of upland, riparian, and aquatic plantings