What: An 11-acre lake surrounded by a rugged landscape of woodlands and dramatic rock outcroppings.

Why it Works: The Meer (Dutch for “lake”) is the idyllic setting of the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, one of the Park’s four visitor centers and home to a wide variety of the Central Park Conservancy’s free family and community programs. The serene naturalistic landscape of the Meer and stunning views of its picturesque surroundings entice visitors in from nearby Fifth Avenue and 110th Street and encourage them to linger, observe, and explore. Add to this the Dana Discovery Center, built in 1993, and you have the perfect complement to the 65-acre landscape: a focal point for information, amenities, and programs. By far the most popular activity of the Meer is unstructured enjoyment of the landscape: exploring nature, observing wildlife, picnicking and just relaxing along the shoreline. Many visitors consider the restored Harlem Meer one of the Park’s most beautiful landscapes, and great care has been taken in its restoration to encourage visitors to spend time there. Seating along the pathway that sweeps around the outside of the shoreline invites passers-through to sit and stay a while, and enables parents to enjoy the view while monitoring children in one of the perimeter playgrounds. The landscape itself is designed to be inviting and accommodating. The Meer is proof that places which inspire delight and curiosity bring people together.

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GREAT PUBLIC SPACES: Harlem Meer (New York, NY) was last modified: March 6th, 2012 by jchao