Collect Pond Lives Again

Click to enlarge!

In December 2009, not long after I started this site, I posted about how Collect Pond Park would be getting redone—and then Curbed skeptically pointed out that there might not be much reason to be hopeful. It was a learning moment for me: Just because a government agency tells you something doesn’t mean it’s true.

I have a fondness for Collect Pond Park that’s odd given how rarely I visit it. Most people don’t even notice the park: It’s currently bordered by Lafayette and Centre to the west and east, and Franklin to the north (if Franklin didn’t end at Lafayette). The southern border is mid-block because at some point a third of the park got turned into a parking lot. Part of the reason I was excited in 2009 was because the plan was to re-convert that third into parkland—and Collect Pond, for all the homeless folks who hang out there, had potential to be stunning. It’s surrounded by beautiful buildings.

All of which is a long way of explaining why I broke my own rule and attended two CB1 committee meetings in one month. Last night, the Seaport/Civic Center Committee was discussing Collect Pond Park (among other topics that I’ll recap later), and I wanted to hear what was up. Lawrence Mauro of the Parks Department (standing in the photo) gave a status update. He started off by saying that Collect Pond has been in the worst condition of any park in Manhattan, and the delay in fixing it up has been due to structural problems. They’ve spent three and a half years on the design, which, as you can see above (click to enlarge it—it’s worth it) isn’t much different from what was being passed around in 2009.

• The parking lot is indeed kaput.

• The Parks Department has sent the construction out to bid, and it’s possible that the contract was registered today. They’re expecting to mobilize on site in a few weeks. And they’re saying it could be done as soon as next summer.

• Mauro called it a “major greening project.” Beyond that, a large pool will be added, at the behest of unnamed people who really believed that given the area’s history—Collect Pond was where early Manhattanites sourced fresh water—the park should have a water feature. (One member of the committee—which is much more fogeyish than the Tribeca one, and yet they impressively raced through the agenda—was obsessed about how often the water would circulate, but he got over it.) There will also be a bridge, which is nice/dopey. In winter, the pool basically turns into a “rockscape” because the bottom of the pool is paved in a round rock.

••• There will be an interactive spray component for kids—presumably from Chinatown—to play in. You touch certain parts and sprays are activated. [Wink!]

••• The hours will be dusk to dawn to dusk unless the community board objects or the Parks Department decides otherwise. The park will be fenced.

The committee chair, having grown up in the area and fondly remembering “necking” at the park back in the day, requested that the interpretative signage mention that the Collect Pond Park was formerly known as Paradise Park. My two cents: Let’s get it fixed up before we throw that particular name around.



  1. A dog park would be perfect there ……

  2. Surely you mean that the hours will be dawn to dusk?

  3. @Suzanne F: I ♥ close readers.