Collect Pond Park
Leonard St. bet. Centre St. and Lafayette St.
Directions via Google Maps
Located on Leonard Street between Centre and Lafayette Streets, this park occupies the eighteenth century site of Collect Pond. The pond was a large, sixty-foot deep pool fed by an underground spring. The waters derived their name from seventeenth century Dutch settlers, who called it “kolch” meaning “small body of water”. Following the English capture of New Amsterdam (1664), the name was corrupted to “collect.” Throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Collect Pond was a favorite spot for picnics and ice-skating. In 1796, John Fitch (1743-1798) launched one of the first experimental steamboats on the waters. During this time, the pond was still clean enough to use for the area’s drinking water. By the early nineteenth century, however, New York City had transformed the sparkling waters into a communal open sewer. Disgusted, local authorities initiated a project to fill the sewer with earth from an adjacent hill. In 1805…