neighborhood highlights

Must-See Central Park

by Heather Liang, 05/15/2013

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  • Charles A. Dana Discovery Center/Harlem Meer 
    The northernmost attraction in Central Park is the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, adjacent to a lake known as the Harlem Meer—one of the largest bodies of water in the park, and one of the prettiest since its renovation in the mid-'90s. "Meer" is a Dutch word meaning "lake" or "small sea," and this one is an homage by Olmsted and Vaux to the 17th-century European settlers who first inhabited Harlem. Enter the park at the northeast corner, Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, and you can't miss it. The Dana Discovery Center, built as an addition to the Meer in 1993, is the park's newest building. It was designed as a visitor center as well as an environmental-education center, offering free community programs and hosting exhibitions and children's workshops. The aforementioned Discovery Kits, geared toward children, are available to borrow here as well. There is also catch-and-release fishing daily from April to October of each year. The center's many celebrated community programs include the annual Harlem Meer Performance Festival, the Halloween Pumpkin Sail of candlelit jack-o'-lanterns and the Winter Holiday Lighting in December.

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