Collect Pond Park occupies the 18th-century site of Collect Pond, a large, 60-foot-deep pool fed by an underground spring. During the first decade of the 19th century, the polluted, plague-inducing Collect Pond was filled in and the area has since been home to public executions, a house of detention, and a section of the notorious Five Points slum.
In stark contrast to this somewhat unsavory history, park designers envision the new park as both a sunny lunch spot and a reminder of Manhattan's densely wooded past. The park will be surrounded by shade trees, with a large lawn in the center of the lot and tables along the northern and eastern edges. At the south end of the space, where the parking lot now sits, the Parks Department will place thick beds of ferns and other woodland plants. Water misters will be imbedded in the plantings, making the surrounding air feel wetter and cooler. The park will be enclosed by a four-foot fence and lampposts and will be locked at night.