Central Park Reservoir

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Central Park Reservoir

Situated in the heart of New York City’s Central Park, the Jacqueline Lee Kennedy Onassis is a natural landmark that’s embraced by local residents and visitors alike. Holding approximately a million gallons, this basin once played a crucial role in the freshwater supply of NYC. Scenic trails, beautiful landscapes, and historic buildings surround this reservoir that can be considered a true oasis amid the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Click to book your Central Park Pedicab tour.


Spanning approximately 1.6 miles, the Shuman Running Track completely encircles the entire perimeter of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. As the name implies, this track offers a great opportunity to jog, sprint, or stroll along the banks of the scenic reservoir.

The Bridle Trail also consists of walkways that roughly run parallel to the Shuman Running Track. Both paths are lined with beautiful trees, plants, and other landscapes that make Central Park a true urban oasis. Cherry blossoms are perhaps some of the most beautiful trees that surround the reservoir. While navigating the trails, visitors can also expect to spot some historic landmarks and installations dating back to the 19th and 20th centuries.

Built in 1862 in the Fortress style, the South Gate House stands as one of the most iconic structures along the southern shore of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. The eastern side of the shore includes a large memorial that’s dedicated to John Purroy Mitchell, who served as the 95th mayor of NYC.

Built in 1890 from local stone, the Claremont is a charming bridge that’s located near the memorial. The Great Lawn, Central Park Tennis Center, and North Meadow are some notable recreational areas that are conveniently accessible through the extensive network of walkways that surround the reservoir.

As protected water, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is home to dozens of waterfowl species and other animals. Mallards, buffleheads, herons, and egrets can be seen throughout the year. There’s also no shortage of American red squirrels and chipmunks on the tranquil grounds of Central Park.


The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir was originally built in the late 1850s to serve the growing demand for freshwater in New York City. This pristine body of water was naturally integrated into the comprehensive layout of Central Park. In its early years, the reservoir was part of the Croton Aqueduct system that connected the city with various parts of upstate New York.

In 1993, numerous state and city authorities decided to decommission the reservoir as it became somewhat outdated. The following year, the basin was officially renamed in honor of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, who served as First Lady of the United States during the 1960s. During her political career, the charismatic wife of President John F. Kennedy was actively involved in preserving the architectural and natural appeal of NYC.

Visiting Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir

Several New York City subway stations are conveniently located within walking distance of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. Served by the A, B, and C lines, the 86 Street station offers convenient access to the reservoir’s southwestern corner. You can also take these trains farther uptown to the 96 Street stop that hugs the northwestern part of the reservoir.

Both stations are situated right along the busy Central Park West. You can also reach the attraction by taking the 4,5 or 6 train to several stops on the Upper East Side. Additionally, Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) buses pick up and drop off passengers near the 22nd Precinct police department along 86th Traverse Street, which cuts right through the heart of Central Park. Some MTA buses also stop along the famous Fifth Avenue that runs along the eastern flank of the park.

Location: In Central Park at 86th Street, New York, NY

Click here to visit Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir official website.

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