Northern Section of Central Park and Public Pool to Get Major Redesign

A slide from a presentation showing the concepts behind a redesign of part of Central Park.

The city and Central Park Conservancy have announced that they’re planning to make substantial changes to the Lasker Pool and the surrounding area in an effort to make it easier to move through and enjoy the park, particularly for people from Harlem and East Harlem.

Lasker Pool and Rink, which is located around 106th Street in the middle of the park, was built in 1966. Its construction created a barrier between the Harlem Meer to the north and the North Woods to the south. “The anticipated transformation of the facility will restore the lost connection between the two, opening up the area for better use in both directions, from the north and from the south,” a press release from the city says. The city says that the redesign will restore that section of the park to create the flow of people that designer Frederick Law Olmsted had originally intended.

The redesign is still conceptual — the city plans to meet with people in the surrounding community to determine what will work best. The city plans to spend $50 million on the redesign, with the conservancy spending $100 million ($25 million of the conservancy’s money has already been committed). The project’s groundbreaking isn’t expected until 2020.

De Blasio sees this project as part of his “equity agenda,” designed to give people from neighborhoods with fewer amenities better access to parks. State Senator Jose Serrano, who represents parts of the UWS, Harlem and other sections of the city, says that “the re-envisioning of Lasker Pool and Rink will ensure that East Harlem residents have the recreational opportunities and facilities they deserve.”

Some basics of the plan are laid out in the conservancy’s slides below. We’ll plan to update the community once the meetings start.

Lasker by westsiderag on Scribd

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Steen says:

      Wait, are they going to do away with the rink, because that would be awful! That is a heavily used resource and gives so many kids who would otherwise not be exposed to ice skating and ice hockey an opportunity to learn skills and have fun.

    2. Brandon says:

      I agree with Steen that they need to keep the rink. It is the Trump Lasker rink so I’m not sure if the Trump Organization has any say over this. I also wonder when any work would be done since the pool is open last June through Labor Day and the rink is open late October through mid March

      • jezbel says:

        Trump, years ago, agreed to chip in to upgrade the rink in exchange for naming rights. He doesn’t own it or any part of it. In fact if the City it footing the bill, it may be able to get Trump’s name off the ring. Depending on the contractual agreement Trump made with the City. I doubt his name is there in perpetuity.

      • dannyboy says:

        Doesn’t that Trump organization have enough say over things as it is.

        I wish that had been stopped earlier, but as we all know from our dear WSR articles, Big Money offering Big Payouts gets it done!

    3. tailfins says:

      The rendering is not clear at all. It seems like it’s changing the shape of the pool / rink dramatically.

      If we go from 2 rinks to 1, even if the 1 rink is bigger, it will put a number of skating / hockey programs at risk as the two rinks are heavily used during the winter. For instance, Lasker has one of the strongest girls hockey programs I’ve ever seen. Hockey in Harlem currently gets ice time, as do free learn to skate / learn to play hockey programs through Central Park.

      We definitely need more details to understand the potential impact.

      • Anon says:

        From the Daily News article about this “The pool and rink are expected to close for construction which will begin in 2020, and take three years.”
        We can all agree it needs work. Unfortunately shutting it down for 3 years will kill the Lady Hawks program.

    4. ursus arctos says:

      The press release expressly refers to preserving both the swimming and skating facilities.

    5. Lois says:

      No offense, but you guys are missing the point. The park, the jewel of New York City, is being made more accessible and welcoming to more New Yorkers. Let’s appreciate the good when we see it.

      • jsc says:

        While the renderings are certainly prettier, this is the part of the park that we frequent the most. Access to the park for people from East Harlem is not an issue nor is getting to the north woods. Has DeBlasio even been up here? There are so many parks that need this money more than this area does – wish there were a way Central Park Conservancy could spread the wealth.

    6. stu says:

      What an obscene waste of $150 Million. The current access is fine.

    7. Felicia says:

      The City and Conservancy need to look for other contractors/put out bids once the contract w/ Trump to maintain pool/rinks is over. A disgrace having him associated with this beautiful park.

    8. Ellen says:

      No Donald Trump. No privatizing public space. And clean up those disgusting bathrooms. Seems to me that if there’s only one rink, private hockey will dominate. Already there’s no public skating before 1:00 pm on weekends. Sad.

    9. insidestraight says:

      Would be great for them to improve the pool. It’s a lot of fun to swim in, esp during the nighttime adult laps, but is kind of falling apart. The renderings are misleading though. One shows the winter use, where they construct two rinks in the pool. The other is just the potential new pool. It looks like its big enough for two rinks, maybe more. So I doubt the winter folks who enjoy skating and hockey will lose anything.