Collect Pond (Manhattan)

The Collect Pond (AKA Fresh Water PondKenneth T. Jackson: "The Encyclopedia of New York City": The New York Historical Society; Yale University Press; 1995. P. 250.] ) was a body of fresh water near the southern tip of Manhattan in New York City, covering approximately 48 acres (194,000 m²) and running as deep as 60 feet (18 m). The pond was fed by an underground spring, and its outflow ran through the Lispenard Meadows marshes to the Hudson River. The name "Collect" is a corruption of the Dutch word "kolch" (A small body of water.), which was subsequently corrupted to "kalch", and so on until it became "collect".. The pond was located just north of today's Foley Square and just west of modern Chinatown.

History

During the 18th century, the pond was used as a picnic spot in the summer, and a skating rink in the winter. In 1796, the first experimental steamboat was launched on its waters.

Industry almost immediately started to make use of the water, and dumped its waste there as well. This included tanneries, breweries, ropewalks, and slaughterhouses. By the late 18th Century, the pond was already considered “a very sink and common sewer”.

Proposals were made to solve the issue, including the conversion of the pond to a park designed by Pierre L’Enfant, and the creation of a canal between the East and Hudson Rivers. In the end, it was filled in from land removed from a nearby hill that was leveled between 1803 and 1811. By 1813, it was virtually gone.

Several decades would go by before New York City obtained a new, plentiful supply of fresh water from the Croton Aqueduct. The Five Points neighborhood, a notorious but vibrant slum, developed just off the former eastern bank of the Collect and owed its existence in some measure to the poor landfill job (completed in 1811) which created swampy, mosquito-ridden conditions on land that had originally attracted more well-to-do residents.

New York's Tombs Prison, built on Centre Street in 1838, also stood over the site of the pond and was constructed on a huge platform of hemlock logs in an attempt to give it secure foundations. The prison building began to subside almost as soon as it was completed and was notorious for leaks on its lowest tier and for its general dampness throughout its life. When the original Tombs building was condemned and pulled down at the end of the century, builders sank enormous concrete caissons to bedrock, up to 140 feet below street level, in order to give its replacement more secure foundations.

Modern day

Portions of the land were converted into a city park, currently known as Collect Pond Park. [http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=11238 Collect Pond Park] , New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Accessed October 8, 2007.] In 1960, the site of the Collect was turned over to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation for conversion into a park. Originally, the park was named "Civil Court Park" due to its proximity to the surrounding courthouse buildings. However, the park was renamed "Collect Pond Park" to more accurately reflect its history. The park is located on the block bordered by Lafayette Street, Worth Street, Centre Street, and Duane Street.

On a modern map, "the Collect" (as it was at the beginning of the 19th century) would be bordered by Duane Street, Centre Street, Walker Street, Canal Street, Mulberry Street, and Cardinal Hayes Place. [ [http://www.oldstreets.com/index.asp?title=Collect%20Pond NYC Streets: Collect Pond] , accessed December 21, 2006]

References

External links

* [http://gis.nyc.gov/parks/lc/NavigateTo.do?PAGE=VIEW_PROPID&PROPID=M242 Collect Pond Park] , New York City Parks Department
* [http://www.oldstreets.com/index.asp?title=Collect%20Pond NYC Streets: Collect Pond]


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