2. Loula Lasker

Lasker Pool, one of many NYC place names taken from a real person

Lasker Rink and Pool, located at 108th Street in Central Park, is named after Loula D. Lasker, a New York social worker and activist born in Texas. Lasker likely gained her passion for social justice from her father Morris K. Lasker, a Prussian Jewish immigrant who was one of the first to adopt an eight-hour workday for his employees. Lasker moved to New York in 1916 and quickly became one of the city’s leading activists and philanthropists.

Lasker served many public service roles where she fought to create better conditions for immigrants and women especially. Lasker helped establish the Citizens Housing and Planning Council and was a staunch advocate of affordable and nondiscriminatory housing, even though she lived opulently in the luxury Pierre Hotel. Upon her death, Lasker’s will set up the Loula D. Lasker Foundation and created a trust fund for graduate study
in housing and city planning. $600,000 were bequeathed to help fund the Central Park ice skating rink that bears her name. One of the last large-scale recreation projects of Robert Moses, the rink was controversial as it interrupted Frederick Law Olmsted’s naturalistic design of the park. Since Donald Trump‘s company took over the operation of the rink in recent years, Lasker’s name largely faded into the background. The rink was demolished in 2021 with plans to replace it with a new facility in 2024.