The Central Park Lake is a 20-acre man-made lake incorporating an existing water body but enlarged for Olmsted and Vaux’s design. In the winter of 1858, after only six months of work on Central Park, the Lake had its first season of ice-skating. The still photo above is from a 1900 movie. While skating is now prohibited on the Lake, there are two formal skating rinks in the Park. Rowboats can also be rented at the boathouse.
While exploring the Revolutionary War/War of 1812 forts on the Secret Places of Central Park tour you’ll come upon a fortification which includes a genuine British cannon from the Revolutionary War. Salvaged from the H.M.S. Hussar after shipwrecking off the East River in 1780, it was eventually donated to Central Park. After being put into storage for a number of years, the Central Park Conservancy, in their plans to restore the Revolutionary War/War of 1812 fortifications, planned to put the artillery piece back on display. While restoring it in 2013, they found a cannonball, wadding, and frighteningly enough, over a pound of gunpowder, making this, in theory, a still-loaded cannon since 1780. The Bomb Squad were called to remove the explosive material, and eventually, it was put back on display for you to see!