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See how different Central Park’s Lasker Rink will look after its reconstruction

There will be a brand new pool and rink as well as a boardwalk surrounded by lush plantings.

Shaye Weaver
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Shaye Weaver
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Central Park's north end, where the Harlem Meer meets Lasker Rink, is about to undergo a huge reconstruction that'll reimagine the rink and pool, offer new and enhanced outdoor activities, and increase access to those who live nearby.

This spring, the $110 million project will finally kick off after about three years of planning and won't wrap up until the summer of 2024. The Central Park Conservancy presented its plans and new renderings during a Community Board 10 meeting in Harlem last month, according to Patch.

The biggest piece is a total replacement of Lasker Rink, which will make it a more "naturalistic retreat for the community, which is what the park is supposed to be," said Lane Addonizio, vice president for planning at the Conservancy, according to Patch.

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lasker rink harlem meer reconstruction
Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy
lasker rink harlem meer reconstruction
Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

The new rink and pool will be smaller at 26,400 square feet or about 75 percent of the current pool's size, which is still larger than an Olympic-sized pool. This is important because it will still have all the sports capabilities of the current pool and rink, which serves about 220,000 annually in the summer and winter months.

Since it was constructed in 1966, Lasker has had "chronic flooding," according to the Conservancy. The rink infrastructure is failing and the refrigerant it uses for its ice is now banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and can no longer be made or imported as of January 2020. When it runs out, that's it. The pool bottom also leaks "chronically and excessively," which compromises its integrity.

It will be closed this summer and for the next two years, but Harlem is home to other public pools, including the Marcus Garvey pool. 

Aside from reconstructing the pool and rink, the project also calls for a new boardwalk to be installed along the lake for walking and fishing and a new skating experience—an ice "ribbon" or pathway—will be introduced on the Meer, as well as a new outdoor spray pad. Visitors will also have access to new restrooms and amenities, where there can be more community programming, plans show. 

lasker rink harlem meer reconstruction
Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy
lasker rink harlem meer reconstruction
Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy
lasker rink harlem meer reconstruction
Photograph: Courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

Since it was built the Lasker Rink and Pool facility obstructs one of the most stunning views in the park and acts as a barrier, blocking the connection and community access between the Meer landscape and the rest of the Park and disrupts the flow of water from the Loch to the Harlem Meer. This project will correct that problem, the Conservancy says.

"The new, fully accessible facility will be built in the spirit of Central Park’s original design."

You can read more about the reconstruction at restoration.centralparknyc.org.

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