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Harlem MeerThe Highlights
Central Park designers Olmsted and Vaux named this man-made water body "the Meer" — Dutch for "lake."
The 11 acre Harlem Meer occupies the northeast corner of Central Park, in a section of park that was added to the original site, which had originally ended at 106th Street. It was excavated in the lowest-lying section of the park, a semi-brackish, partly tidal wetland, which drained slowly into the East River. The Meer separated the former suburb of Harlem to the north from the lower part of Manhattan Island. It lies north of the Conservatory Garden, with a meandering shoreline that wraps around the bluff that contains the Blockhouse, the remains of gun emplacements erected for the War of 1812, which never saw action. Today, families flock to this area for catch-and-release fishing, skating and swimming at Lasker Rink and Pool, and exploration at two nearby playgrounds. The Harlem Meer is also a thriving wildlife habitat and home to fish, turtles, and waterfowl. Several varieties of trees, including oak, bald cypress, beech and gingko, surround it. On the northern shore of the Meer stands the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center,