Brittany Buongiorno

Caring for the Park’s 30,000 Trees

July 13, 2021

Prospect Park is home to more than 30,000 trees of more than 175 species. A key focus of the non-profit Prospect Park Alliance’s mission is to sustain and restore the park’s natural areas, including the woodland Ravine and the park’s historic watercourse and lake, which suffered from significant erosion and neglect prior to the Alliance’s founding. This commitment represents a $15 million investment over the past three decades, which has encompassed nearly 200 acres of woodlands, and the planting and ongoing care of more than 500,000 trees, plants and shrubs.

Prospect Park Alliance’s Forester, Michael Marino, sat down for a chat about the importance of our caring for the park’s trees and how they contribute to our community’s well being and quality of life. 

Recently, a generous grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation provided the Alliance with the opportunity to survey roughly half the park’s trees to shed light on their significant impact on Brooklyn’s quality of life, and to create a forest management plan. Through the survey, the Alliance discovered that the surveyed trees alone provide more than $2 million in annual environmental benefits: removing 21,000 pounds of pollutants and 3,000 tons of greenhouse gases from the air, and saving 1,300 megawatt hours of energy consumption and 22 million gallons of stormwater runoff from the city sewer system. 

“A lot of my work involves the care of recently planted trees,” said Marino. “The work you do when a tree is young will impact the rest of its life.” Trees, like many other living organisms, can experience and express pain, but often it takes years before the signs of pain and stress are apparent to those who care for them. “The culmination of stress on a tree can show up 20 years later.”

The primary source of funding for planting new trees in the park is the Alliance’s commemorative tree program. “We plant about 100 trees a year for community members, to celebrate a loved one or special occasion or simply to give back to the park,” Michael explained. Donors have a variety of different tree planting options in order to honor a loved one, including a special Arbor Day program. Prospect Park Alliance conducts commemorative tree plantings each fall and spring. Through this program, roughly 1,100 trees have been planted over the past 30 years.

When asked about simple things park patrons can do to help ensure the health of the trees in the park, Michael had a few tips. Climbing trees and hanging hammocks are damaging to the trees. While climbing a tree in a private backyard isn’t necessarily damaging, in a public area thousands of people doing this activity daily is. He also spoke at length about soil compaction. “Whenever you see large dead patches around trees, or the ground is very hard and flat, the tree is not getting enough air or water. The tree is suffocating from the bottom up.

Please spread the word on how to be an environmental champion in Prospect Park by following these simple rules:

  • Please dispose of litter in designated receptacles or consider taking your litter with you when you leave the park and disposing of it at home.
  • Please stay on paths in our woodland areas, and do not go beyond fencing or build forts in our woodlands: this protects fragile nesting areas for birds, turtles and other wildlife.
  • Please keep dogs leashed at all times in the woodlands: off-leash hours are provided in our large meadow areas, learn more on our Things to Do with Dogs page.
  • Please do not climb or hang objects on trees in the park: our trees are our environmental treasure. While sap is flowing up to provide nourishment to the emerging buds and flowers, bark is at its most vulnerable. Wounds become easy access for insects and disease.
  • Please enjoy the flowers, but don’t pick as they are important for our pollinators, the cycle of life in any wildlife habitat.
  • Please avoid having barbecues s under trees and dumping hot coals on the lawns. Learn more about barbecue rules and safety.

Learn more about the Alliance’s efforts to preserve the environment. 

Want to give back to the park and honor a loved one? Learn more about our commemorative tree program, and how to get involved.

Prospect Park Alliance Archives

Prospect Park Bandshell Renamed for Lena Horne

June 25, 2021

Prospect Park Bandshell has been renamed Lena Horne Bandshell to honor the legendary singer, actress, dancer, and Brooklyn native. This renaming is part of the New York City Parks Department’s pledge, made in June 2020, to stand in solidarity with the Black community in its fight to combat systemic racism. Since then, Parks has named 28 parks spaces in honor of the Black experience to help acknowledge the legacies of these Black Americans, encourage discourse about their contributions, and work to make the park system more diverse and reflective of the people it serves.

The renaming of the Bandshell honors Bed-Stuy native Lena Horne, a legendary 20th century singer, actress, and dancer. Lena was active in the Civil Rights movement, and faced racism in her own career as a Black performing artist, but overcame these obstacles to win three Grammys. The Lena Horne Bandshell is home to the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, New York’s longest-running, free outdoor performing arts festival, which will honor Horne’s legacy this summer by showcasing a diverse array of Black musicians, including Ari Lennox, KAMAUU, Mr. Eazi, Junglepussy, and Son Little.

In addition to the Horne Bandshell, the 15 other newly named park spaces represent educators, Civil Rights leaders, pioneers in the LGBTQ+ community, novelists, playwrights, abolitionists and more. To commemorate the newly renamed park spaces, Parks staff and elected officials from across the city joined together at Mullaly Park and Recreation Center in the Bronx on June 16, in timing with our new federal holiday, Juneteenth, the day to celebrate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in the United States. The event was held at Mullaly Park to honor its planned new name for Rev. T. Wendell Foster, the first African-American City Councilmember to represent the Bronx. The site will officially be renamed in September 2022 in accordance with Parks policy of naming three years posthumous. Learn more about the Parks Department’s renaming efforts.

“As our city works towards reopening after its sanctioned period of confinement, it’s a joy to see New Yorkers populating our parks and other greenspaces” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams at the June 16 celebration. “Kudos are extended to NYC Parks for making the renaming of 16 new park spaces after notable Black icons an added lure and cause for celebration. My unwavering love and support of Prospect Park and its bandshell, now renamed, at my office’s suggestion, after the legendary actress, singer, civil rights activist and homegrown Brooklynite Lena Horne, will make it one of my much-anticipated points of re-entry this summer.”

About Lena Horne
Lena Horne was born in 1917 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and attended what is now the Boys and Girls High School. As a young girl she was drawn to the performing arts and became a regular singer at many New York City institutions of the ‘30s, including the Cotton Club, a Prohibition-era nightclub that, despite showcasing some of the most talented Black musicians of the time, refused to admit Black guests, and Café Society, New York City’s first racially integrated nightclub, located in Greenwich Village. In 1942 she was signed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and went on to win singing roles in many films, although the industry’s racism prevented her from being cast in leading roles. Eventually, she abandoned Hollywood, stating that she was “tired of being typecast as a Negro who stands against a pillar singing a song. I did that 20 times too often.” At this time, she returned to the nightclub circuit and became one of the United States’ premier performers of the post-war era, as well as a regular feature on variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and The Dean Martin Show. Over the course of her career she won a Tony for her one-woman show, Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, and three Grammys.

Horne was active in the Civil Rights movement, attending NAACP rallies in the South, participating in the March on Washington as a speaker and performer, and working with Eleanor Roosevelt in attempts to pass anti-lynching laws. Horne passed away in 2010, but her immense talent and drive to challenge injustice stays with us to this day.

The Bandshell isn’t the only new name in Prospect Park this summer! Learn about “Juneteenth Way,” the new name for the path and benches across from Lefferts Historic House.

c. Paul Martinka

Prospect Park Alliance Welcomes Juneteenth Way

June 18, 2021

Today Prospect Park Alliance kicked off the restoration of Lefferts Historic House with a celebratory event led by Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and Council Member Mathieu Eugene, who joined civic leaders and community members. The occasion was marked with two unveilings: the designation of the path across from Lefferts as “Juneteenth Way,” and a site-specific installation produced in partnership with Photoville, “Jamel Shabazz: Prospect Park, My Brooklyn Oasis.” 

Prospect Park Alliance is restoring Lefferts Historic House through $2.5 million in funding from the Speaker and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council. The restoration will enable the Alliance to replace the roof, restore the exterior of the building, and repair paths and drainage surrounding the house. The restoration is slated to conclude by Fall 2022.

In timing with Juneteenth and in partnership with NYC Parks, the pathway across from Lefferts Historic House is being designated as “Juneteenth Way.” The stretch of benches along this shaded walkway were painted the colors of the pan-African flag, and interpretive signage was installed as part of this designation. The Alliance and NYC Parks will look to officially rename the area after a celebrated Black community member next year via the public nomination and voting process of the NYC Parks Renaming Project.

In partnership with the non-profit Photoville and acclaimed Brooklyn-based photographer Jamel Shabazz, the Alliance unveiled “Prospect Park: My Oasis in Brooklyn,” a site-specific installation of works on the Lefferts Historic House construction fencing. For the past 41 years, Shabazz has documented the people and places that truly make the park Brooklyn’s Backyard. His work is exhibited worldwide, and featured in the collections of The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The installation is on view through December 1, 2021.

“Lefferts Historic House is located at the nexus of Prospect Park and the Flatbush community, and our vision in terms of its restoration is to rethink its mission and vision to make it better reflect the history and culture of our community,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. “In strengthening the bones of this historic structure, the Alliance is committed to recognizing the role the house played as a site of slavery, and telling the stories of enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived and worked the land. We are so thrilled to be marking this moment by unveiling ‘Juneteenth Way’, and also celebrating the work and career of the preeminent photographer Jamel Shabazz.”

“We are elated to celebrate the start of Lefferts Historic House’s restoration and the unveiling of Prospect Park’s Juneteenth Way. It is fitting that this momentous occasion would fall on the eve of Juneteenth,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “We hope that collectively we can reflect and acknowledge the history of this site as a former slave property. Thanks to the Prospect Park Alliance and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, the Lefferts Historic House will be restored and renewed to serve as a living testament to the hurdles we have overcome in the quest for equality and as a reminder of the harsh realities of slavery.”

“These dual projects to honor the end of slavery on which the Prospect Park Alliance is partnering are right on time,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The unveiling of “Juneteenth Way” as restoration of Lefferts Historic House commences, and the rotating art exhibit surrounding it, first featuring the photography of Jamel Shabazz, acknowledge the profound cultural contributions that continue to be made by people of African descent in this country, and the long overdue homage being made to those formerly enslaved who learned late in1865 that they were finally free. I thank Prospect Park Alliance and my colleagues in government for their work to begin this recognition process.” 

“Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park is one of many cultural milestones in my district,” said Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo. “I know my neighbors and many residents cherish the local history of Brooklyn and their neighborhoods, and I cannot wait to see how Jamel Shabazz’s installation will depict the Park as the oasis it truly was, and always will be, for Brooklyners.”

“The restoration of Lefferts Historic House and the unveiling of Juneteenth Way is not only a beautiful addition to our beloved Prospect Park but a step in making sure all New Yorkers’ history is represented. As well as celebrating the career of photographer Jamel Shabazz,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “This is a critical moment to make sure our collective histories are shared and not to gloss over some parts of it we don’t want to share. I hope that when it reopens, the Lefferts Historic House will be able to teach all who come to visit it the stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked there, and that we continue to make New York City historical sites more inclusive.”

“It is a great honor for me to join my colleagues from the Brooklyn Delegation in funding the $2.5 million restoration of  Lefferts Historic House,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “This project represents a very important long-term investment in our community that is preserving history for future generations of New Yorkers. By restoring this historic landmark, once home to prominent slaveholder Pieter Lefferts, we are preserving a part of our city’s rich history and recognizing the struggle that our enslaved ancestors went through on their journey to freedom. The dedication of Juneteenth Way in the very place that housed slaves so many years ago is indeed a powerful statement to the progress we have made as a society towards equality.”  

Background on Lefferts Historic House

Lefferts Historic House is an 18th-century historic house museum jointly operated by Prospect Park Alliance and the Historic House Trust. Its programming focuses on the lives of the people that lived and worked the land, including the Lenape, Dutch colonists and enslaved Africans. The museum features a working garden and farm plots, historic artifacts, period rooms and indoor and outdoor exhibits. 

The Dutch colonist Lefferts family resided in the town of Flatbush starting in the 1600s. Their wealth was the result of the labor of enslaved Africans, who worked the land to produce staple crops. The original home burned down in August 1776 during the Battle of Brooklyn, and was rebuilt circa 1783. Although it is not known for certain how many enslaved Africans lived at the homestead, the 1800 census showed 12 enslaved African residents, a high number for a single family farm. By some estimates, one third of the people living in what is now Brooklyn in the early 19th century were enslaved. In 1824, the Lefferts family began to free enslaved Africans, and after the abolition of slavery in New York State in 1827, most of the Lefferts farmland was rented to tenant farmers. At the end of the 1800s, the Lefferts family sold the farmland to developers. Originally located four blocks south at 563 Flatbush Avenue near Maple Street, the house was moved to the park after its presentation to the City in 1917.

While the house is closed for restoration, Prospect Park Alliance is undertaking a re-envisioning of the museum’s mission and programming to strengthen its focus on the history and culture of the Flatbush community. This includes a stronger emphasis on the homestead as a historic site of slavery, and how the museum tells the story of the enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived and worked the land. The Alliance will be partnering with leading researchers, community leaders and cultural organizations to identify and create innovative programming for the restored museum.

Learn more at prospectpark.org/lefferts.

Jamel Shabazz

Jamel Shabazz: Prospect Park, My Brooklyn Oasis

June 17, 2021

In celebration of the start of restoration of Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park, Prospect Park Alliance is proud to partner with Photoville to present a site-specific photo exhibition celebrating the work of legendary photographer Jamel Shabazz: Prospect Park: My Oasis in Brooklyn. Opening in timing with Juneteenth, the exhibit will bring the work of Shabazz to the Brooklyn community. The photographer, whose work is housed within the permanent collections of The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, is best known for his iconic photographs of New York City in the 1980s.

Jamel Shabazz, Best Friends, 2006
Best Friends, Jamel Shabazz, 2006.

“At the early stage of my photographic development, I wanted to improve my skills as a photographer, and Prospect Park with its five hundred and eighty-five acres, became the ideal place for me to practice” Shabazz says. Forty-one years and thousands of Prospect Park photos later, Shabazz has captured reunion picnics, musicians, races, dog walks, and so much more in the beloved park he calls his “oasis in Brooklyn.” Exhibited along the construction fence surrounding Lefferts Historic House, the community of Brooklyn will be able to discover new stories and recognize old friends in Shabazz’s work.

“I have photographed a number of locations during my career as a photographer, but I can honestly say that my work centered on Prospect Park is both my largest and one of my very favorite series” says Shabazz.

The Art of Love, Jamel Shabazz, 1988
The Art of Love, Jamel Shabazz, 1988.

Prospect Park: My Oasis in Brooklyn will be on display outside Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park through Spring 2022.

Header Image: We Are One, Jamel Shabazz, 1998

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival Announces 2021 Season

June 2, 2021

Today, BRIC, a Brooklyn-based leading arts and media institution, announced its artist lineup for the 2021 BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, which recently confirmed it will return to the Prospect Park Bandshell with live, in-person performances. For the past 43 years, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival has grown to become one of the city’s foremost cultural attractions and a beloved summer tradition. This year’s festival will take place from Saturday, July 31st through Saturday, September 18th with doors opening at 6:00pm for all shows, except the family day performance.

“The opportunities we have been afforded to provide a platform for incredible talent from Brooklyn and around the globe, brings up indescribable joy,” said Kristina Newman-Scott, President of BRIC. “This year’s line-up marks a momentous time for BRIC, continuing our tradition of bringing some of the best talent to the Prospect Park Bandshell stage, which we have called home for 42 years. We can’t wait to see everyone there.”

“After the past challenging year, it is such a thrill to welcome the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival back to the Prospect Park Bandshell,” said Sue Donoghue, President of the Prospect Park Alliance. “This is one of our flagship events, and for our community a clear sign of summer. Over the past four decades, this festival has brought a wide range of free music and family programming to Prospect Park, to the delight of the many diverse communities we serve.”

The festival will boast  an impressive lineup showcasing musical artists from Brooklyn and around the world including: Neo soul phenom Ari Lennox; grandson of the reggae legend Bob Marley and GRAMMY award-nominated singer/songwriter Skip Marley; Global Afrobeats superstar Mr. Eazi; Multi-instrumentalist Trombone Shorty with his notorious brass funk band Orleans Avenue; Brooklyn-bred hip hop powerhouse Junglepussy; folk rock icon and climate activist Buffy Sainte Marie and singer/songwriter/advocate Naia Kete for a special evening dedicated to highlighting the impact of climate change; Latinx alternative multi-lingual quartet Ladama, Haitian born, Brooklyn based multi-instrumentalist Tiga Jean-Baptiste and a set by DJ Ali Coleman for a family-friendly daytime performance; local Jazz artists including rhapsodist Vijay Iyer, vibes innovator Joel Ross, singer and multi-instrumentalist Melanie Charles, and renowned poet/author, and educator Mahogany Browne for an evening in remembrance of the impact of COVID-19 on the Jazz community; Colombian-Canadian singer/songwriter Lido Pimienta; Korean-American Brooklynite Yaeji, who curated a hand-picked lineup for the evening that includes up and coming singer/songwriter/instrumentalist KeiyaA and prolific local writer/rapper/producer, and emcee Nappy Nina; politically conscious rapper and poet KAMAUU; Jamaican R&B singer Gary “Nesta” Pines; Philly-based rapper and producer Ivy Soly; Jamaican-born multi-disciplined musician Tygapaw; celebrated Dominican-born, Puerto Rico-based cult hero Rita Indiana; the GRAMMY award-winning Attacca Quartet and Brooklyn based indie rock collective led by Ellis Ludwig-Leone San Fermin; R&B musician Son Little, and boundary-pushing singer Yendry.  

The 2021 BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival will also offer a movie night featuring the 1973 documentary Wattstax, which highlights the 1972 Watts Summer Festival, as well as an evening dedicated to dance co-conceived by Tatiana and BRIC featuring the Passion Fruit Dance Company with DJ sets by Soul Summit Dance Party and St James Joy. Founded in 2016 with a mission to promote the authenticity and contributions of social dance styles and cultures like street and clubbing, Passion Fruit Dance Company comes to the park for the world premiere of TRAPPED, a brand-new work commissioned by BRIC. After the show, stay for a very special iteration of legendary Brooklyn party Soul Summit. To open the night will be St. James Joy, a streetwise celebration that sprang up in Fort Greene during the pandemic honoring the distinguished history of black house music.  Additionally, there will be a ticketed benefit concert with British Rock Band Glass Animals.    

In accordance with New York State and CDC guidelines, BRIC is currently planning for reduced capacity within socially distanced pods. While the Festival will remain free of charge, RSVPs will be required to manage capacity, and either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will need to be shown; however, these terms remain subject to change. BRIC hopes all music, film, and dance lovers will prioritize getting vaccinated as a step towards bringing back live performances in their fullest form. BRIC will ensure the Festival is accessible to the community at large by creating both a web-based RSVP portal as RSVP by telephone system. RSVPs officially open July 1 for opening night and then every two weeks after that for subsequent performances. 

Learn more at the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! website. 

Jordan Rathkopf

Neighborhood Guide: Little Caribbean

May 19, 2021

Little Caribbean, a neighborhood located in and around Flatbush, Brooklyn, has been a major hub of Caribbean-American-Latinx life in New York City since the 1960s. It is home to the largest and most diverse community of people from various Caribbean islands outside of the West Indies. Shelley Worrell, founder of caribBEING, spearheaded the movement to officially name the neighborhood Little Caribbean in 2017, and Prospect Park Alliance had a chance to sit with her and ask her about some of her favorite destinations in the area. June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month and we’re celebrating with free fitness, music and food events—see the full lineup!

One of Worrell’s favorite things about Little Caribbean is the mix of old and new: second or third generation family owned businesses, such as Allan’s Bakery on Nostrand Avenue, share a neighborhood and culture with new businesses such as Aunts Et Uncles and Hibiscus Brew, located on Nostrand Avenue and Flatbush Avenue respectively. Other highly recommended eateries include Peppa’s Jerk Chicken on Prospect Place and Nostrand Avenue and Scoops on Flatbush Avenue.

Allan's Bakery Allans caribBEING
Allan’s Bakery. Photo courtesy of Christian Rodriguez.

The Drummer’s Grove, located in the park near the Parkside Avenue and Ocean Avenue entrance, is another staple Caribbean institution. “What would the park be without it?” Shelley remarked. When asked about her other favorite spots and activities in the park, she mentioned the Boathouse, Smorgasburg, and Grand Army Plaza’s beautiful archways: but her favorite and most frequented spots are the Parkside and Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue entrance, both located in Little Caribbean.

Labay Market Little Caribbean caribBEING
Labay Market, another staple of Little Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Christian Rodriguez.

Finally, we talked a little about the caribBEING House, currently stationed in the park near the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. “It’s a mobile shipping container: part gallery, part shop,” Shelley explained. It’s a space for Caribbean arts, culture, and community. It’s traveled all around Brooklyn, from Greenpoint, to Williamsburg to Downtown Brooklyn. It is slated to open in the summer season along with a slate of caribBEING events hosted in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance in timing with June’s Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Check out the full list of caribBEING’s food, music fitness events coming to the park in June.

caribBEING House WinterPhoto courtesy of Pablo Serrano.

Learn more about the Little Caribbean neighborhood and learn more about caribBEING on the caribBeing website.

Andrea Pippins

Celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage in Prospect Park

Celebrate National Caribbean-American Heritage Month in Prospect Park with caribBEINGJouvayfest Collective, and Prospect Park Alliance. Brooklyn’s Backyard will be home to a month of workshops, live music, culinary arts and other special events. Enjoy Caribbean music, dance, food, wellness and much more during this cultural celebration for Brooklynites of all ages. All participating artists and practitioners are based in Little Caribbean NYC, and hail from Haiti, Trinidad, Panama and Puerto Rico. Also, enjoy a guide to the neighborhood of Little Caribbean from Shelley Worrell, founder of caribBEING.

Wellness Afternoon: Marlon Jude + Third Root
Sunday, June 6, 1-4pm

Boathouse, Free
Learn to utilize the park to improve your fitness and wellness regimens. Pop-up wellness stations will be hosted by Flatbush-based performance coach, Marlon Jude and community health center, Third Root. In these guided workshops participants will be guided through body-weight workouts, yoga, meditation and sound healing. (Mats are not required for this workshop. If you’d like to use one, please bring your own).

Cooking: Peppa’s + Allan’s Bakery
Sunday, June 13, 1-4pm
Breeze Hill/Lincoln Rd BBQ Grills, Free

Learn safe grilling practices whilst exploring culinary traditions of Brooklyn’s Little Caribbean with a demonstration and tasting led by Flatbush’s Peppa’s, in addition to freshly baked goods from Allan’s Bakery, a third-generation family institution. Food and beverage will be first come first serve, while supplies last.

Long Live Our Flag Bearers Workshop
Sunday, June 13, 2-5pm
Boathouse, Suggested Donation – $10

In this workshop, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE and BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project with Prospect Park Alliance commemorates the Flag Bearers of the past and present with interviews, historical video and live demonstrations. Long Live Our Flag Bearers workshop hopes to encourage the younger generations in maintaining this cultural art form and have fun in the process.
 
Music: Paul Beauburn + Zing Experience
Sunday, June 20, 5-9pm
Boathouse, Free

Groove to the healing music of Paul Beaubrun scion of Haitian musical royalty and son of the Grammy nominated band Boukman Eksperyans. Inspired by his heritage, constantly aware of his roots, the struggle of an immigrant and the drive of New York life, Paul & Zing Experience forged a path where music, artistry and history meet.

Music: Steel Pan Day
Sunday, June 27, 1-3pm
Boathouse, Free

Did you know Brooklyn has its very own Steel Pan Day? Proclaimed by Borough President Eric Adams at Brooklyn Museum in June 2015— come celebrate the only instrument invented in the 20th century alongside local performance groups including Zane Rodolfo’s pan-jazz trio and Hearts of Steel.

These events are first come, first served—no registration required.

caribBEING is supported by Con Edison, Affinity Health Plan, Kings Theatre, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, CAMBA, and New York State Council for the Arts.

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Re:New Prospect Park

Prospect Park is the place to be for our community—which is why Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard, has launched Re:New Prospect Park: new stewardship efforts to help serve our community and meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, both Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks lost critical funding, which resulted in a reduced workforce and resources. This combined with an increase in park visitors led to the park getting much more love than it can handle. However, thanks to the support of our community of donors and volunteers over the past year, the park has been able to weather the storm, and the Alliance is placing much-needed funds to renew the park in time for our busiest season.

“We know how important the park is to our community and the role is serves in recovering from the challenges of the past year,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “Prospect Park is showing serious signs of wear and tear, and without our normal workforce, we are so grateful for our community, who over the past year has pitched in to help sustain this cherished green oasis.

Critical support  for this initiative is made possible through generous funding from Amazon, the Leon Levy Foundation, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in the New York Community Trust, NYC Green Relief + Recovery Fund, and many generous individuals and community members who made first-time or increased gifts to the Alliance during this challenging time.

Re:New Prospect Park Initiatives

Park Maintenance

Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with Ace New York, a non-profit that empowers the homeless, to provide additional maintenance resources to help clean the park on peak weekdays and weekend evenings through October. In addition, the Alliance has brought on board four seasonal groundskeepers to help supplement NYC Parks maintenance crews during this busiest time of year.

The crew is partially funded via a grant from Amazon. 

“Throughout the pandemic, Prospect Park has provided badly needed, outdoor refuge to Brooklyn families,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s New York Head of External Affairs. “Unfortunately, this has meant wear and tear on the park at the exact time resources are strained. By partnering with ACE, Prospect Park Alliance will create job opportunities, while ensuring this local gem remains a resource for our city and borough.”

“ACE is proud to partner with the Alliance to help keep Prospect Park clean and safe for all New Yorkers to enjoy. These jobs not only benefit our City by keeping the park beautiful, they also provide meaningful employment for men and women who have overcome histories of homelessness,” said ACE Executive Director James Martin.

To support these efforts, Prospect Park Alliance is encouraging park visitors to carry in and carry out their trash via promotional signage at all park entrances, the Alliance has also installed large trash receptacles in key areas of the park. View this map for large trash receptacle locations.

Park Improvements

The Alliance will also be re-investing back into the park by improving lawn areas, comfort stations, barbecue areas and even the park’s beloved Drummer’s Grove through funding from our community of donors. Work will take place this spring into early summer, and will include renovated restroom facilities at the Lincoln Road and Children’s Corner, new barbecue grills, fixtures and furnishings at the Picnic House and Bandshell barbecue areas, similar to the new grills installed at the Lincoln Road and Parkside + Ocean Avenue barbecue areas.

We also will be bringing on board an expanded “Fix-It” crew and volunteer services staff to help renew our lawn areas, repaint benches, fix broken fencing and give a deep clean to our rustic and historic structures.

Park Volunteer Opportunities 

Prospect Park Alliance has expanded its Volunteer Services staff to accommodate more volunteer opportunities in the park, including the return of our popular Green and Go Kit and It’s My Park Monday programs.

It’s My Park Mondays
Join us on Mondays for special It’s My Park Day community volunteer events, where groups and individuals can help us sustain the park during these challenging times.

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Green and Go Kits
Want to help keep the park clean and green? Register today to check out a Green and Go Kit, available weekends at various locations around the park. Kits include a trash grabber, garbage bags and gloves. You must be 18 years old to check out a kit, but children are welcome to accompany adults.

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Re:New Volunteer Corps
This spring, Prospect Park Alliance is launching a new volunteer opportunity to help us renew the park following the incredible wear and tear of the past year. The Re:New Volunteer Corps will meet weekly in the park and work on improvement projects from filling divots and reseeding holes in the park’s lawn areas, sweeping paths, and painting benches, railings and storage containers.

Register as a volunteer to receive an invitation to the Re:New Corps, which will launch in June.

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Help us to continue to sustain the park during these challenging times, while enjoying great benefits to enhance your enjoyment of the park.

Become a Prospect Park Alliance member today!

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About Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, in partnership with the City of New York. The Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the Park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About ACE

ACE was founded in 1992 and provides job-readiness training, work experience, all around support, and much more to New Yorkers who have histories of homelessness, incarceration and addition. At ACE, men and women overcome barriers through hard work to reach their goals of full-time employment, economic self-sufficiency, and family reunification. Over 3,000 men and women have secured full-time employment through ACE’s programs. Learn more at acenewyork.org.

Paul Martinka

Prospect Park Enjoys Wave of Community Support

May 11, 2021

In July of 2020, New York City Parks were faced with an impossible challenge. Just as New Yorkers surged to the parks to escape the confinement of their homes, the City announced the Parks budget was being cut by $84 million. What unfolded was a summer of parks across the city trying desperately to keep up with the record crowds and ensuing litter.

Luckily, as parks experienced their time of need, New Yorkers realized just how much they needed their parks reports the Wall Street Journal. As one of the only places to safely social distance, New Yorkers were doing everything, from workout routines to birthday parties, in parks. And with more time at the park, there was more time to notice the errant takeout container or patchy flower bed. In the past year, New Yorkers citywide stepped up to volunteer at or donate to parks, sometimes at record levels as the Journal discovered while connecting with parks across the city.

Between July 2020 and March 2021, Prospect Park Alliance alone saw a 142% increase in new volunteers and a 42% increase in individual donors. Thanks to this rise in community involvement, Prospect Park Alliance is making essential improvements throughout the park and engaging more workers to ensure that Brooklyn’s Backyard is renewed and ready for all visitors. Alliance President Sue Donoghue took Journal reporter Anne Kadet on a tour of the park to point out improvements the nonprofit is making, thanks to the windfall. They include new benches and landscaping at the Drummer’s Grove and upgraded restrooms, not to mention new picnic tables, coal bins and communal grills in the barbecue areas. 

Read about New Yorkers who have stepped up to take care of their parks in The Wall Street Journal. Interested in becoming a Prospect Park Alliance volunteer? Visit our Volunteer page to learn more and register.

Virtual Tour: Spring Planting at Lakeside

May 7, 2021

Take a virtual walk through LeFrak Center at Lakeside with Turnstile Tours and Corbin Laedlein, the Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener for Prospect Park Alliance. Learn how Corbin and his fellow Lakeside gardeners curate Lakeside’s plant mix for ecological, aesthetic, and habitat purposes, and visit the green roof atop the Lakeside skating rink.

Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance is sustaining the environment.