- Public transportation: 7 train to Main Street stop, transfer to eastbound Q12 bus; LIRR to Bayside station, and proceed south to Northern Boulevard for eastbound Q12. Take Q12 to Cloverdale Boulevard and walk south one block.
- Car: Northern Boulevard to Cloverdale Boulevard. Take Cloverdale south one block.
Although it is just off Northern Boulevard and the rattle of traffic is always near, a visit to Oakland Lake, part of Alley Pond Park, is almost transformative. Leave those worries behind as you turn off the Boulevard and relish this bucolic setting.
Oakland Lake was formed 15,000 years ago when a block of ice fell off the retreating Wisconsin ice sheet to create this spring fed glacial kettle pond. Once thought to be 600 feet deep, a diving expedition in 1969 proved that the speculation was far off – the lake is only 20 feet deep! It was first named Mill Pond after the estate that once occupied the land, but the name was changed to reflect the oak trees around the lake’s perimeter.
Sadly, Oakland Lake encountered the usual misguided — and environmentally damaging — projects that happen in urban areas but thanks to the dedicated work of neighborhood residents, the tide began to change for the lake in the late 1960s.
Its waters are home to various fish including Perch, Bluegill, Sunfish, Catfish, Carp, and the city’s only Black Bass population. As one can guess, this is a haven for ducks, geese, and water birds like rails, herons, and bitterns. Thanks to the community effort in the 1960s, part of the original forest remains and Tuliptrees, American Beech and Pin Oaks have been added as part of restoration efforts.
A promenade around the mile long path that follows the lake not only offers a glimpse into the kettle pond’s ecosystem, but between the water and the towering oaks, the location rejuvenates the mind and provides hope for other community-spirited conservation efforts.
- Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City by Leslie Day, published 2007 by The Johns Hopkins University Press.
- New York City Department of Parks and Recreation accessed on 1/15/2009 at http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/alleypondpark/highlights/11315.
- New York City Trees: A Field Guide for the Metropolitan Area by Edward Sibley Barnard, published 2002 by Columbia University Press.
- Wild New York: A Guide to the Wildlife, Wild Places, and Natural Phenomena of New York City by Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson, published 1997 by Three Rivers Press.
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