The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir in New York

There are numerous reservoirs and dams scattered throughout New York. The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, which is also known as the Central Park Reservoir, is one of the most popular in the metropolis. It is a decommissioned infrastructure facility in Central Park that stretches from 86th to 96th Street. The Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis Reservoir is one of the largest in the state, as it covers 106 acres and holds up more than a billion gallons of water. Few people know that it got its name because of Jacqueline Kennedy’s direct contribution to the development of the city. Another reason is that it was her favorite place for jogging. Learn more at

Main facts from Reservoir’s history 

In the 1850s, Nicholas Dean, president of the Croton Aqueduct Department, proposed to build Central Park around the reservoir. The reservoir was constructed in 1842 and was formerly known as Yorkville Reservoir, but later it became known to New Yorkers as Turtle Pond.

A competition for the best project in Central Park was held in 1857. The project had to be detailed and include at least four ways from east to west passing through the park, a square of at least 20 acres and a minimum of 4 playgrounds. Another mandatory condition was to include a reservoir for the Croton Aqueduct. Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux won the competition.

The Central Park Commissioners faced funding delays over the next several months, so the reservoir construction did not begin until April 1858. The Croton Aqueduct Authority began filling the reservoir in 1860. The Upper Reservoir was built in 1862. The Upper and Lower Reservoirs were depicted on the Central Park map dated 1875.

The Central Park Reservoir was decommissioned in 1992 because the city government deemed it obsolete. A new main pipe was laid under 79th Street and was connected to Water Tunnel No.3. Then the reservoir appeared at risk of contamination. However, even after such a decision by the authorities, the Central Park Reservoir continued to supplement the upstate water supply in case of drought. In 1999, the reservoir was transferred to the Department of Parks and Recreation management without any changes.

The First Lady and the Central Park Reservoir

Most New Yorkers know the reservoir in Central Park as the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir. That place got its name in 1994 as a tribute to the First Lady of the USA for her great contribution to the New York development. In particular, Jacqueline Kennedy saved Grand Central Terminal from demolition. Thanks to her, it was also recognized as an architectural sight. She supported the protest against building projects that would ruin the beauty of New York Central Park. The First Lady lived on Fifth Avenue in an apartment overlooking the famous reservoir, her favorite place for jogging.

The Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir is one of the most visited places among tourists and New Yorkers. It is especially popular in spring when nature is blooming and colorful. The area around the reservoir has become one of the main ecological reserves in Central Park and attracts a lot of waterfowl, such as coots, mergansers, shovelers, ruddy shelducks, American black ducks, white egrets and others. Also, the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir was mentioned in numerous iconic movies, such as Sex and the City,  Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Devil’s Advocate.

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