Almost everyone calls the dirt path undulating around the Central Park reservoir the “runners’ track.” But ever since the ugly chain-link fence from the 1920s was replaced with a reproduction of the original in 2003, the path has often been crowded with walkers, dog owners and even cyclists jockeying for position. Runners resent the new arrivals on their course — but is it theirs?He goes on to talk about the reservoir's long history. Construction began in 1858 and by 1862 it was actively supplying water to Manhattan. Apparently in 1926 the original wrought iron fence was replaced with an ugly utilitarian chain link fence. In 2003, after scuba divers found a remnant of the old fence at the bottom of the 40 foot deep reservoir, the Central Park Conservancy commissioned a replica, finally replacing the nearly 70-year-old eyesore.
The article does a nice job of saying that the runners weren't here first (although they arguably kept the track alive during the 1970s and 1980s when many folks thought it too dangerous for a leisurely stroll). At the end of the day we need to remember it's shared space.
I really encourage you to real the whole article--it has some nice historical vignettes.