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Collect Pond

by Mother Nature

A natural fresh water source for Manhattan’s earliest settlers, Collect Pond was a hotspot for recreation all throughout the year. Smaller streams branched out from the pond’s core, connecting to both the Hudson and the East River. Despite being a valuable resource to early Manhattanites, industries began dumping mass amounts of waste in the pond starting in the late 1700s. By 1813, Collect Pond had virtually disappeared and become nothing more than a polluted sewer-turned-landfill.

New York began channeling fresh water from the Croton Aqueduct several decades later, leading to the development of neighborhoods such as the notorious slum Five Points near the former pond. The Tombs, a prison, was constructed on the former pond site in 1838, but due to the swampy and unstable landfill site, its foundation began giving way and its interior became an incubator for disease due to the damp atmosphere.

In 1960, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation obtained a portion of the former Collect Pond site to construct a park. Originally named Civil Court Park to indicate the prevalence of judiciary institutions in the area, the park was quickly renamed to Collect Pond Park to more accurately reflect its history. The park is currently undergoing extensive renovations which will include a reflective pool reminiscent of the original pond, as well as additional green space with pedestrian plazas.


1813 Collect Pond virtually disappeared, turned into landfill
1838 The Tombs prison constructed on Collect Pond site
1960 Collect Pond Park established
2012 Collect Pond Park renovations begin

Reference Links

internal Collect Pond - Wiki
link NYC Parks: Collect Pond Park
internal gDoc