UPPER EAST SIDE – Hurricane Irene made a new pond in Carl Schurz Park when rainwater piled up in a low-lying area during the storm’s overnight deluge.
Located around the Charles Andrew Hafner statue of Peter Pan by the East River and 87th Street, the new pond extended under a nearby bridge leading to the enclave. The water went right up to the top of the area’s benches and made a perfect circle of water around the statue, which was originally built as a fountain in 1928.
Nearby residents that gathered Sunday afternoon to survey the storm’s damage to the park gawked at the unexpected sight. Some stayed a distance away, standing or sitting on an overlooking bridge, while others stuck their toes in the water and played threw balls in it to play fetch with their dogs.
“I think if someone was coming here for the first time they would think this was a purposely built pond,” writer and East Harlem resident Pamela Margid said.
“It’s actually very beautiful, but it’s very strange to see,” Margid, 40, added. “I’ve never seen it flooded like this before."
Margid had gone out to survey the damage, and was surprised by the amount of fallen trees and debris in the area. Two large oak trees had fallen nearby the statue, and she says that on her bike path in the park she was shocked to find storm had scattered stones near the East River going up to East Harlem.
Nearby, two trees had fallen onto sidewalks across the street from each other on 87th Street between York and First avenues.
“It was much more dangerous than I expected,” she added.
Other residents were also upset by the damage.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Upper East Side resident and park volunteer Betty Heilman, 62, added. “Seeing the Peter Pan fountain with all the water around it…I just know what work people put into this park and that it will be a big clean-up effort."
Others, however, thought the pond fit perfectly.
“It’s a great idea — they should keep it as a pond,” Upper East Side resident Sonya Anand, 9, told her dad while looking over the bridge into the new body of water, adding that it would be even better if it was clean enough to swim in.
“They could have small little boats,” she added, referring to remote-control toys.
Anand wasn’t the only one who had the idea for the Upper East Side park’s newest attraction.
“It really flooded so artfully,” Margid added. “It’s organic architecture at its best.”