The Reservoir – a Love Story

My unconditional love (obsession) for this park is no mistery to anyone at this point. In my eyes, Central Park is the most amazing place in the world. 
There are a million places to run there: loops, laps, a little track, a meadow, a ramble, hills, arches, drives, transverses, whatever. But my first stab at the park, and pretty much every begginner runner’s attempt, was in the Reservoir.

From Officially named the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in 1994, the Reservoir is famed for the 1.58 track that encircles the 106-acre body of water. This favorite jogging spot of Jackie O, Bill Clinton, and a number of other influential people covers approximately 1/8th of the Park and hold over a billion gallons of water.When the Reservoir was built in 1862, its original purpose was to provide clean water for the city. While this function is not carried out today, the Reservoir does distribute water to other Central Park locations, such as the Pool, the Loch, and the Harlem Meer.From its 86th street location, the Reservoir offers runners one of the best views of the city skyline, and allows birdwatchers a great location in which to spot herons, egrets, coots, and loons.
View of the West Side from the East side. Holden’s ducks.
There are many great things about running there.The loop is 1.6 miles and less than half a mile from my apartment), the short distance makes it easy for every one just starting out. It is completely flat. It’s packed dirt, so it’s softer but not complicated. It’s lit at night or early before work, so you can run there anytime. And, if you show up at odd hours, there’s always someone running.
On the other hand, if you are there between 9 am and 9 pm, it can be hell for a runner…I like people, but not so much when they don’t follow the rules. Or tourists, who don’t read the signs… You can’t bring bikes, strollers, or dogs. You can’t smoke. And since it’s quite a narrow path, you can’t be walking 3 abreast!!! Or taking over the whole path with your group of 20!
And… there is the other (very maddening) thing… There is just one direction in the path. There’s arrows and signs everywhere pointing you which way to go. So when it’s not 5 am, it gets kinda messy and you end up running INTO people going in the wrong direction, while the path is full of the other people walking 2/3 abreast… You can see how running there at the wrong time can be irritating… or pretty much horrible.

As it’s a short loop, and close to my apt, so I only run in there when I am tapering, or recovering, or testing my body coming back from an injury (this week!!). I’ll do a loop or two, and try to bring happy music to deal with the crowds.
And, at any moment during your lap, you can run into something like this

or this
The most amazing skyline you can dream of.It never gets old.And it always reminds me of the first time I run there and fell in love with this park (and how I bragged to anyone who’d listen that I had done a full lap!!!!).Running there can be like perfect summary of living in this city: it can be crowded, loopy, annoying, maddening, frustrating, and still MAGICAL at the same time.

The Reservoir – a Love Story

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