Turtle Pond, so designated in 1987 in honor of its most prominent residents, began life as Belvedere Lake, which was, in turn, originally part of the Croton Reservoir that once covered what is now the Great Lawn. At its inception Belvedere Lake was a shallow pool of nondescript shape that soon became the home to an itinerant collection of fish, frogs, turtles, dragonflies, and aquatic fowl. While not part of the original park plan it quickly became clear that the pond was in an ideal location at the base of Vista Rock, perfectly complimenting the view of Belvedere Castle.
In 1997 the Great Lawn was renovated, giving Turtle Pond an entirely new look (think of it as amphibian urban development). The shoreline was redesigned to create an environment more consistent with the needs of the many animals, aquatic, amphibian, reptilian and aviary that called it home. A great variety of plants were set in place in and around the shoreline to add to the effect. While they provide a very natural look to the pond thay are in fact planted on man made concrete shelves around the edge.
As part of the renovation, a new island — Turtle Island, surprisingly enough — was added to the pond. This refuge provides another spot for migrating birds to visit as well as the regular denzens to build their nests. There are sandy spots for the turtles to lay their eggs and whie the Island gives the inhabitants a certain amount of privacy there are great spots either along the shoreline, or from the Castle above, to view all the animals during the different seasons.
Designated as a quiet zone (loud music and noisy activities are prohibited), this pastoral lawn is a great place to read, ruminate or simply enjoy the surrounding beauty.
Location: Mid-Park between 79th and 80th Streets