Harlem Meer and the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center

Harlem Meer

A pleasant water feature of Central Park, the Harlem Meer was not part of the original plans; Vaux & Olmstead’s 1858 design stopped at 106th Street.  The Meer was created in the 1860s to drain a belt of swampy country that formed a boundary between New York and the then still-suburban village of Harlem; the park’s current dimensions were not fully established until 1878.

Along with the rest of the park, Harlem Meer suffered various depredations in the 1960s and 70s.  It was extensively restored in the late 1980s when over 34,000 cubic yards of debris were removed from its waters.

The Charles A. Dana Discovery Center was added as a visitor’s center in 1993. The building was designed by Buttrick White & Burtis to follow the Victorian architectural style established by Calvert Vaux.

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