Stephanie and Fred Shuman Reservoir Running Track

Project Progress

  • Design
  • Construction
  • Complete May 2015

A much-needed renovation of the running track around the Reservoir addressed systemic issues with the condition and maintainability of one of the most popular running destinations in New York City.

At 106 acres, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is the largest single landscape feature in Central Park. Constructed in 1862, it was originally one of two receiving reservoirs of the Croton Aqueduct system within the Park's boundaries. These divided the landscape into what the Park's designers referred to as the Upper and Lower Parks. The other reservoir, a smaller, rectangular structure that pre-dated the Park, was decommissioned by the 1930s and replaced by the Great Lawn.

In 1982 the 1.58-mile pedestrian path around the Reservoir, made famous as a spot for jogging by the 1976 movie Marathon Man, was repaved in stone screenings to accommodate its increasing use as a running path by providing a soft surface. The track was previously repaired in 1999, but due to heavy use, it began to erode in various locations, leaving it rutted and uneven. Rainwater regularly pooled on the track, worsening the damage.

The overall design goal of this renovation was to address surface conditions and drainage. The scope of the project included:

  • Regrading the track to improve drainage and resurfacing it with stabilized stone screenings
  • Reconstructing curbs
  • Regrading and seeding the adjacent landscape
  • Replacing drinking fountains
  • Upgrading lighting infrastructure
Left to right: Puddles on the running track before renovation; during construction; after renovation
  • Our Process

    Restoring Central Park is a collaborative effort. Our team of historians, planners, landscape architects, and architects work in partnership with the public to preserve the Park’s original ideals while enhancing the experience for today’s visitors.

    Learn More