At twenty-two acres the Lake is Central Park’s largest body of water, excluding the Reservoir, and offers a variety of activities for park visitors to enjoy. It also offers a startling array of views as its meandering shoreline snakes around the landscape. Created originally from a large swamp the lake has provided generations of park visitors with startling vistas and countless opportunities for exploration.
The most popular use of the lake today is for row boating and the sturdy vessels can be rented at the Loeb Boathouse at the northeast corner of the Lake. Probably the best way to experience the variety of terrains that surround the man made body of water is a boat trip, and there are few greater pleasures to be had in Central Park then a leisurely cruise around the shoreline. Around the lake you can see places as diverse as the Bethesda Terrace, the Loeb Boathouse, the Bow Bridge or Hernshead, not to mention the fauna which includes ducks, mallards and a rather extended family of turtles. For the many years preceding the construction of Wollman Rink in 1951 the Lake was also the center of ice-skating in the park. This was a wildly popular diversion, especially at the turn of the century when as many as 40,000 people were reported to have skated in one day. It offered New Yorkers valuable exercise, as well as a socially acceptable place to socialize (although for many years one end of the lake was designated strictly for use by women).
Location: Mid-Park from 71st to 78th Streets