At the heart of Central Park is the Lake.
Created out of a large swamp, the 22-acre Lake
was intended to provide boating in the summer
and ice-skating in the winter.
Opened for skating
in 1858 at a time when the winters were
particularly harsh it was said to accommodate up
to 40,000 visitors on one day alone. Not until
1950 when its was closed to skating did the Park
winter change dramatically. Replaced for skating
by the Wollman Rink, the Lake was returned to
nature and the wildlife residents who now dominate
it no matter what the season.
With its unique meandering shoreline the
exploration of this body of water is invited by its
visual aura and romantic charm.
With its many spectacular views offered from every
angle of the travelers journey along its perimeter it
is well worth the time it takes to explore its unique
In the spring and summer and for a month in autumn rowboats cross the watery vista at times appearing
inimical to the total Lake experience. Visitors enjoyed
this pastime since the Park opened in the 19th Century
when "passage boats" carrying 12 passengers at a time
would take visitors around the Lake, stopping for
departures and arrivals at 6 boat landings located
along the shore of the lake.
Four of those boat landing still exist providing shelter
for those who want a serene place to rest while
taking in the majestic view of the Lake with its Mute Swans, many ducks and if
you are lucky a
Great Egret or a Black-crowned Night-Heron.
The Gondola Ride which is now a source of interest
and amusement for many who visit the Park was,
in fact, a fixture from the past when the authentic
Venetian craft crossed the Lake with romantics
who soaked in the ambiance to the strains of "O Solo Mio" a song you can still hear from the
shoreline as the gondolier of today strives for
the original authenticity.