Cybelle Weisser has been jogging around the Central Park Reservoir for 15 years. Until recently, she was keeeping her feet on the ground as well as on the road ahead.
Since its last restoration, the 1.6–mile crushed-stone track had deteriorated under the daily weight of hundreds of pairs of pounding feet. But a $3 million renovation project by the Central Park Conservancy started last summer set out to change all of that.
“In all my years of running, I think the main issue with the track has always been the water drainage problem,” Weisser said. “But I just ran around it a few minutes ago and it seems to already be fixed.”
A Conservancy spokeswoman, Elizabeth Kaledin, said the track surface was beset by serious erosion and drainage issues as a result of years of wear and tear. But so as to not completely disrupt the daily run of hundreds, the restoration took place in five phases.
“Like any construction process, the Conservancy determined a need, secured community support and then secured funding,” she said. “And we were incredibly fortunate to find generous donors who wanted to contribute.”
The track was christened the Stephanie and Fred Shuman Running Track in honor of the Shumans, the principal donors for the project and who also provided funding for critical long-term operations to maintain the track, according to the Conservancy. Alfred J. Shuman, who is on the Conservancy’s board, is the founder and managing member of the The Archstone Partnerships, a fund of hedge funds manager. The couple live on Park Avenue.
A frequent visitor to New York, Zeynep Koksal said the city is her favorite place to be, and Central Park is one of the perks about it that she enjoys.
“When I came to New York last month and saw the changes in the park, I couldn’t wait to come back and stay for longer,” she said. “Now that I’m here for the summer and I’m seeing even more changes, I’m so excited to wake up every morning and go on my daily run.”
Along with the newly surfaced and graded track, Kaledin said the Conservancy has assigned a new dedicated track crew of four who will be responsible for taking care of the track.
“People seem delighted with the improvements,” she said. “Particularly the lack of puddles on the track, which used to present problems after a rainfall.”
What used to be make for a good run in New York is now even better.