c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Alliance Launches Open Air Care Connections

March 26, 2024

Prospect Park Alliance and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene have announced the launch of a pilot program, Open Air Care Connections, which seeks to remove the stigma around mental healthcare through community health outreach, events and educational programs. Through the pilot, community health workers provided by housing nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn (NHS Brooklyn), will be placed at key locations in the park and embedded into Alliance events and public programs to address mental health needs of our community.

Coming out of the COVID pandemic, mental healthcare is one of the primary needs of New York City residents, yet one that often goes untreated. According to an opinion poll by The Health Department, nearly 25% of all New Yorkers identified experiencing anxiety, and nearly 18% experiencing depression. Nearly 50% of those who expressed needing mental health support felt that they did not know did not know where to go to get services or how to access them. Time spent in nature is proven to reduce stress, relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, and boost cognition, attention and sleep quality. Green spaces also give communities vital places to gather: strengthening social ties and lessening isolation.

Through this pilot program, which will run through June 30, 2024, The Health Department and the Alliance seek to address mental health and well-being through education and coping skill-building; and creating a pathway for quality care through assessment, intervention and direct referrals to mental and physical health services. Among the reasons that those who experience anxiety and depression do not seek treatment is the stigmatization of mental health concerns, as well as concerns about cost and access to care. The program focuses on addressing these barriers while leveraging the benefits of the natural environment. The program will engage park-goers to assess their social needs and provide direct referrals to find support for emotional health, substance use, physical health, housing, career, education and food-access concerns.

“When it comes to mental health resources, we must meet people where they are,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Our parks and green spaces are a haven for millions of New Yorkers and by offering mental health support through this new pilot program, we’ll connect even more New Yorkers with the services and care they need.”

“Parks are a hub for activity whether you’re taking a stroll in the evening, spending an afternoon with your partner and children, and so many more ways New Yorkers utilize parks. This is especially true for Brooklynites and Prospect Park,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Ann Williams-Isom. “This partnership helps us meet people where they are to engage them in a way to support their and their families’ mental health needs. We know that mental health is a lifelong journey and this initiative adds to the avenues of support and options available to New Yorkers.”

“In recent years it has become more clear than ever before how essential Prospect Park is for the health and well-being of the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home,” said Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator Morgan Monaco. “Prospect Park is a place of comfort and healing to so many, and the pandemic illustrated how important access to quality health care is and how far we have to go to ensure everyone has access. There is widespread evidence of the health benefits that come from being in nature, and being able to offer park-goers direct wellness support and resources here in Brooklyn’s Backyard is crucial to help our community go from surviving to thriving. We thank the New York City Health Department and Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn for their partnership to address barriers of entry and establish connections between our green space and access to much needed social, health and wellness services.”

“Crises like serious illness, job loss, or the death of a family member can so destabilize a family’s finances that they lose their home. Our mission at NHS Brooklyn is to stabilize our community by helping our neighbors keep their home. That’s why Open Air Care Connections is such an exciting initiative for us. By connecting residents to services and programs, we’ll help them to not only avoid personal, financial, and health disasters. We’ll help them thrive.” said Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn, Tonya Ores.

“Parks do so much for our mental health and wellbeing,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “This partnership will help us turn beloved parks into pathways for support. It will also start an important public conversation about mental health, which for too long has been stigmatized, shamed and marginalized. It is time to bring this work into the open.”

“Our public parks and greenspaces are vital for New Yorkers’ mental and physical wellbeing, offering spaces for relaxation, community, and connection with nature. Now, thanks to this initiative, visitors to Prospect Park will be able to directly access mental health resources, right in Brooklyn’s Backyard,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “This new program is a great complement to our Let’s Green NYC initiative, which seeks to combat the nationwide epidemic of loneliness and foster connections between communities through volunteerism. I’m so grateful to our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance and the Health Department for this great collaboration.”

Community health workers will leverage the park and its natural setting to engage park patrons to discuss mental health and well-being, starting at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in March 1-2 days a week, with the aim of fostering compassionate and engaging interactions with patrons, and promptly linking those with concerns to the necessary support services and resources. In the Spring, the pilot will expand to existing Prospect Park Alliance public programs at the Prospect Park Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House, where NYC Health experts will help to center these programs in health and well-being. In addition, The Health Department will host special workshops and programs on topics such as the Impact of Racial Trauma on Health and Processing Grief through Gratitude. Lastly, through its partner, Neighborhood Housing Services, the Alliance will provide housing education and expert services at select programs and events.

Learn more about health and wellness in Prospect Park.

Shirley Chisholm c. Pictorial Parade : Getty Images

Women’s History Month Spotlight: Shirley Chisholm

March 1, 2024

March is Women’s History Month!  To celebrate the impact women have had in Prospect Park and in our Brooklyn community, we’re spotlighting the storied legacy of Brooklyn trailblazer Shirley Chisholm. A local hero, Shirley Chisholm is a beacon of perseverance and dedication in Brooklyn and far beyond. In the coming years, two tributes to Chisholm and her legacy are also coming to Brooklyn’s Backyard. The Shirley Chisholm monument, commissioned through the She Built NYC Initiative through funding from the NYC Mayor’s office, will pay homage to Chisholm and the Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center, made possible through funding from NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and the Brooklyn Delegation, led by Council Members Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph, Shahana Hanif and former Council Majority Leader, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, will transform a former maintenance building into a space that honors Chisholm’s impact and complements the new monument.

Chisholm was born 1924 in Brooklyn to Barbadian parents. She spent her childhood in Barbados but returned to Brooklyn at age ten and lived much of her life in Crown Heights, to the northeast of Prospect Park and blocks away from historic Weeksville. Chisholm graduated from Brooklyn Girls’ High and from Brooklyn College. She initially worked as a nursery school teacher in Brooklyn and earned a master’s degree in early childhood education. By 1960, she was a consultant to the New York City Division of Daycare. Shirley fought for racial and gender equality even before her time in congress and joined local chapters of the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Urban League, and the Democratic Party Club in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Chisholm was a leader and an advocate for residents of Brooklyn and the country at large.

In 1968, Chisholm became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. Congress. Her notable achievements in Congress included working to expand access to food stamps, extending minimum wage requirements to domestic workers, and helping to pass Title IX, the landmark federal civil rights law that prohibits any sex-based discrimination in any government-funded school or education program. Chisholm introduced more than 50 pieces of legislation and championed racial and gender equality throughout her time in congress. She was one of the founding members of the Black Caucus in 1971 and that same year was one of the founding members of the National Women’s Political Caucus, and in 1977 became the first Black woman and second woman ever to serve on the powerful House Rules Committee. 

By 1972, Shirley Chisolm was one of the most visible and powerful members of Congress. That same year, Representative Chisholm became the first Black major-party candidate to run for President of the United States. True to her famous slogan, “unbought and unbossed,” Chisholm refused to abandon the interests of her constituents, no matter what establishment politicians did to intimidate her or mitigate her efforts. As Chisholm once said, “If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair.” 

During Chisholm’s quest for the 1972 Democratic Party presidential nomination, she was blocked from participating in televised primary debates, and after taking legal action, was permitted to make just one speech. Her resilience prevailed and Chislhom entered 12 primaries and garnered 152 of the delegates’ votes despite the extensive discrimination she faced, earning her nickname “Fighting Shirley”. Chisholm retired from Congress in 1983. She taught at Mount Holyoke College and co-founded the National Political Congress of Black Women. Chisholm’s legacy lives on in her hometown of Brooklyn and far beyond, as she remains a national symbol of triumph and a true catalyst for change.

Prospect Park Signage System Survey

February 8, 2024

Prospect Park Alliance wants to hear from you! The Alliance is working with noted signage designers Two Twelve to create a master plan for wayfinding, stewardship, information and education signage in Brooklyn’s Backyard to improve the visitor experience and better serve the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home.

Share your feedback and ideas to help inform the plan’s design:

Take the survey button

Morgan Monaco in the rain posing with a shovel among other people planting saplings.

Surprising Storms and Historic Events: President Morgan Monaco’s First Year

Morgan Monaco has wrapped up an eventful first year leading Prospect Park Alliance to advance and sustain the park, engage the community and care for Brooklyn nature. We chatted with Morgan about her presidency and vision for the park’s future, including what most surprised her about the role and memorable moments in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

What are some of your favorite parts of leading Prospect Park Alliance so far?

Getting to meet our diverse community of park users. The number one thing that unites them is how beloved this park is to them. I’ve heard so many stories from people who are nearly brought to tears when they talk about how the park really saved them during the pandemic. The park was a safe haven and a place of joy during a very dark time in the world. It’s inspiring to come to work everyday knowing that we are providing such an essential public service.

But this is more than just a park: it’s a canvas for the many cultures of Brooklyn. Just walk through the Long Meadow or Lincoln Road picnic area on any given Saturday, you can hear the music and smell the delicacies of Brooklyn. I’m honored that this is a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves and their cultures—all facets of life are happening here.

What Prospect Park Alliance accomplishments from your first year are you most proud of?

Most people don’t know that there is so much happening in Prospect Park. The Alliance offers programming all year round. Last year, I was especially proud of our signature ReImagine Lefferts Initiative, including Pinkster Day and Juneteenth events, and the wildly successful immersive J’ouvert exhibit. We also provide a venue for countless events that add to the richness and the experience of the park, from music events like Celebrate Brooklyn, to athletic events, fundraising walks and so much more.

I’m also excited about the many robust capital projects we have in progress. We’ve completed the  design of  the Vale in the park’s northeast corner, and have begun the redesign of the Lincoln Road and Third Street playgrounds and the Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center. We’ve really honed our ability to incorporate community feedback into our design process and I’m looking forward to sharing our designs for these projects soon.

We conducted a series of listening tours in five neighborhoods surrounding the park to better understand the role it plays in each of those communities, which resulted in some very meaningful dialogue.

I’ve gotten to know some of our volunteers and see the work they do and the knowledge they’ve gained by giving back to the park. They are amazing extensions of our staff, and our Volunteer Services and Landscape Management teams really rely on them. It’s been incredible to witness not only the admiration that our community holds for the park, but also people rolling up their sleeves to help us care for the park.

Did anything about your role especially surprise you in your first year?

Tropical Storm Ophelia in September was a big surprise: both the impact that it had and our team’s incredible ability to respond to it. Our team jumped into action and was able to quickly assess the damage, and our supporters were equally at the ready to respond and contribute funds and volunteer hours. We were able to weather the storm because we have so many amazing supporters.

The celebrated opening of Fallkill Trail was another surprise! People across our community came together to experience a beautiful part of the park that had been previously closed off to the public. It was a testament to how much people crave access to nature and want to make the most of their time here in Prospect Park.

What are you most looking forward to in the year to come?

Now that I’ve had time to listen to our community, learn about how they use the park, and explore the role the park plays in their lives, I’m really excited to tackle some of the big strategic questions we’ve been exploring over the past year. What is our role in a post-pandemic world that is facing increasing threats from climate change and uncertainty around the city budget? We need to ensure that we are able to withstand those threats and remain resilient. We’re about 75% of the way through the developing the strategic plan, and I look forward to sharing a very clear set of priorities that answer the big questions of who we are and our focus in the park. .

How has the past year informed your vision for the future of the park?

I came in with a specific vision to explore the ways in which the park can be a venue for health and wellness services and public art. I am so grateful that that vision has been well received by members of the public, park users and by potential partners both in academia and clinical practice who see that there are some barriers to entry for people accessing health and wellness services.

The storm in September was an important learning experience for me to understand the investments that need to be made to prepare the park for climate change.

Are there any new park destinations you’ve visited or activities you’ve taken up in your first year at the Alliance?

I definitely feel like I know the park so much better than I ever have before. I’ve had the pleasure of exploring almost every acre and I think our woodlands are such a treasure. It’s been really rewarding for me to learn more about our trails and the dedicated work our Landscape Management team does day in and day out to sustain these beloved woodland areas.

Still from "Chisholm '72," courtesy of Realside Productions

Shape the Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center Design

Prospect Park Alliance wants to hear from you! Through funding from New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and the Brooklyn Delegation, led by Council Members Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph, Shahana Hanif and former Council Majority Leader, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo, the Alliance is transforming an existing building at the Parkside and Ocean entrance to Prospect Park into a space that complements the new Shirley Chisholm Monument planned for this entrance to the park. The Center will orient visitors to the life and legacy of the Brooklyn trailblazer, while providing visitor amenities.

View the Community Visioning Presentation to learn more about the project, then take our online survey to share what you’d like to see in the new Welcome Center.

Take the survey button

Want to share your feedback in person? Join an upcoming community engagement opportunity:

Shirley Chisholm Monument + Welcome Center Presentation: St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church
Sunday, February 25, 12 – 1 pm, St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church (331 Hawthorne Street, Brooklyn, NY 11225)

Flatbush Library Tabling Session
Thursday, February 22, 3 – 7 pm tabling session at the Brooklyn Public Library Flatbush Branch (22 Linden Blvd. at, Flatbush Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11226)

*7 7* Community Event: Bleu Nuk BK
Tuesday, February 27, 7 – 8 pm tabling session at Bleu Nuk BK (1150 Nostrand Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225)

Prospect Park Alliance Unveils Art Installation at Grand Army Plaza

Prospect Park Alliance and Art For Change, which connects socially conscious art collectors with in-demand contemporary artists and their work, have unveiled a large-scale public art exhibition in Grand Army Plaza: Park Of Dreams, on view through Spring 2024. The project is installed on the construction fencing of the iconic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, which is currently being restored, along with the Plaza and Berms, by Prospect Park Alliance through $8.9M in Mayoral funding. 

Park Of Dreams was made possible in part through a $25,000 grant from Assembly Member Brian Cunningham, with additional funding from Council Member Crystal Hudson. The project was undertaken through the City Canvas initiative of the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and in partnership with NYC Parks. 

“The beloved Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza is a Brooklyn icon and its plaza is an important space for community dialogue and gathering. Art and creative expression is part of what makes Prospect Park so special, and we are honored to partner with Art For Change to present a new generation of artists in Brooklyn’s premier civic space while restoration is underway,” said Morgan Monaco, Prospect Park Alliance President.

Park Of Dreams is one of Art For Change’s most exciting projects to date and we are thrilled to be working with Marcus Brutus, Kelly Beeman, Amy Lincoln, Jules de Balincourt, and Danielle Orchard amongst others,” says Art For Change Founder, Jeanne Masel. “Parks are a crucial part of any community and Prospect Park in particular holds a special place in my heart as a Brooklynite. Parks not only connect city dwellers to nature and offer a respite from the hustle and bustle, they support an incredible ecosystem of flora and fauna. Environmental conservation is a central tenet of Art For Change’s mission. Curating and producing this project enables us to leverage our deep relationships with artists and, in turn, show our respect for a park that is both a vital aspect of the Brooklyn community and an important ecosystem in itself.”

Park Of Dreams is a curated presentation of contemporary artworks by Marcus Brutus, Kelly Beeman, Alyssa Klauer, Danielle Orchard, Cydne Coleby, Jules De Balincourt, Amy Lincoln, Bianca Nemelc, Maria Calandra, Jon Key, Kirsten Deirup, and Na’ye Perez, which celebrates and supports Brooklyn’s beloved Prospect Park. The installation is accompanied by limited edition prints of each image available for purchase on the Art For Change website, with a portion of proceeds benefiting Prospect Park Alliance.

“The restoration of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza spotlights the majesty of Prospect Park, enabling all visitors to be in touch with nature and take in the art that permeates these vital public spaces. I am proud to allocate $25,000 to Prospect Park Alliance’s Park Of Dreams exhibit, which showcases Grand Army Plaza’s revival, highlighting some of New York’s most talented, local artists that inspire creativity among the thousands of visitors who pass by each week,” said Assembly member Brian Cunningham. 

“The social good that the arts and public parks bring to our communities is indisputable,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “The partnership between the Prospect Park Alliance and Art For Change is an ambitious project that will combine these civic goods and allow our neighbors to not only engage with their built environment in a special way but experience the work of renowned and burgeoning artists in an equally innovative way.”

Visit the Art for Change website for more information on this exciting project.

c. Left, Adama Delphine Fawundu c. Right, Obed Obwoge

Prospect Park Alliance Announces Artist In Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu

Prospect Park Alliance has announced the first Artist in Residence at Lefferts Historic House Museum. Brooklyn Artist Adama Delphine Fawundu will create a monumental, site-specific installation informed by new research from the Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts Initiative, which seeks to focus interpretation at the museum on the resistance and resilience of the Indigenous people of Lenapehoking whose unceded ancestral lands the house rests upon and the Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. The installation will debut in Spring 2024 in timing with the seasonal opening of the museum, and is funded through a Humanities in Place grant from the Mellon Foundation.

“Prospect Park Alliance’s first ReImagine Lefferts Artist in Residence is a step towards healing deep-seated wounds from our nation’s past,” said Prospect Park Alliance President, Morgan Monaco. “Art is a key medium for storytelling and this installation will help tell the stories of those who have traditionally been silenced. I look forward to park visitors engaging with and reflecting on Delphine’s installation as a form of healing, learning and community building.”

“When the Alliance reached out it was so special because we were both on a specific trajectory. My whole existence is based in this neighborhood. The smell of the grass when it rains in the park means so much to me…I have such a history here. It felt very much like a 360 degree event to connect with the ReImagine team here in Prospect Park,” reflects Artist in Residence Adama Delphine Fawundu on initial conversations with the Alliance.

Fawundu’s connection with Prospect Park is long standing. A born-and-raised Brooklynite, Fawundu has a personal history in the park. Her work with the Alliance was sparked by her 2020 performance piece, In the Face of History Freedom Cape, which was filmed in part in Prospect Park and Lefferts Historic House. Fawundu’s relationship with the park continued in 2021 through Joyful Blues, an installation with BRIC at the Lena Horne Bandshell that combined photographs taken in the late 1990s of Black girls in Brooklyn as well as garra fabric designs from Sierra Leone, West Africa.

Artist in Residence, Fawundu is creating a new site-specific work that is informed by the research Prospect Park Alliance has conducted into the lives of Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. To date, the Alliance has identified 25 people enslaved by the Lefferts family at the house between its construction in 1783 and the abolition of slavery in New York in 1827. Fawundu’s installation will include 25 textile pieces, each paying homage to the everyday heroism of these 25 individuals, installed across the historic house’s Flatbush Avenue facade.

“Delphine’s work builds upon research to honor the humanity of those whose stories were previously not told,” said Maria Carrasco, Prospect Park Alliance Vice President, Public Programs. “Her vision and work fit seamlessly with the ReImagine Lefferts Initiative in centering the resistance and resilience that enslaved Africans and generations of descendants have embodied throughout history.”

Fawundu’s work is rooted in humanism: “Knowing these names leads us to think about the stories of each person enslaved here, and to see each others’ humanity. We know of course that every enslaved person had intelligence and expertise, but we humanize them further when we ask ‘what else?’ about their story. Who was the scientist? Who was the herbalist? The fact that we tell these stories and the way that we tell them is so important,” says Fawundu.

Fawundu’s work is shaped not only by her personal history with the park and surrounding neighborhoods, but also by her over 10 years of experience as an educator in New York City public schools. “Resistance is so important for the younger generation. Black people have always been resisting from generation to generation, and telling stories that make our youth feel less-than is violent. Stories of the past clearly impact how younger people see themselves. The way we understand the past informs the present and future. This is something I have grappled with throughout my career as an artist and educator.”

About Adama Delphine Fawundu

Adama Delphine Fawundu is a photographer and visual artist of Mende, Krim, Bamileke and Bubi descent. Her distinct visual language centered around themes of indigenization, and ancestral memory, enriches and expands the visual art canon. Fawundu co-published the critically acclaimed book MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora. She is an Assistant Professor of Visual Art at Columbia University. Learn more at delphinefawundu.com.

About ReImagine Lefferts

Prospect Park Alliance has launched ReImagine Lefferts, an initiative to re-envision the mission and programming of the Lefferts Historic House museum, an 18th-century Flatbush farmhouse and New York City landmark, to focus its interpretation and programming on exploring the lives, resistance and resilience of the Indigenous people of Lenapehoking, whose unceded ancestral lands the park and house rests upon, and the Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. The Alliance seeks to engage the public in thoughtful dialogue about the legacy of enslavement and the exploitation of marginalized communities in Brooklyn and beyond. Learn more at prospectpark.org/lefferts.

About Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains “Brooklyn’s Backyard,” working in partnership with the City of New York. The Alliance was founded in 1987 to help restore Prospect Park after a long period of deterioration and decline. Today, the Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. The Alliance cares for the woodlands and natural areas, restores the park’s buildings and landscapes, creates innovative park destinations, and provides free or low-cost volunteer, education and recreation programs. Today, Prospect Park is an international model for the care of urban parks, and one of the premier green spaces in the United States. Learn more at prospectpark.org.

About the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Learn more at mellon.org.

Mellon Foundation Logo

c. Paul Martinka

Free Winter Wellness in Prospect Park

January 3, 2024

Ward off the winter blues this season by exploring your park and getting active. Spending time in nature has known positive impacts on mental and physical health–and winter is no exception. Research shows that being in nature in all seasons can improve focus, lower blood pressure, improve sleep quality, boost your immune system, accelerate recovery from illness, and increase energy levels so you can kick off 2024 feeling like your best self.

Enjoy opportunities to get active, take in the serenity of the season and explore your park with a variety of free fun wellness opportunities for all ages:

Upbeat Pop! Dance Fitness at the Boathouse

Saturdays through February
Prospect Park Boathouse
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Shape-up NYC for a 45-minute dance fitness class! Come prepared to shake, roll, grapevine, and clap to your favorite upbeat pop songs. We will use this time to cultivate joy and silliness while getting a great workout and reaping the benefits of cardiovascular fitness. All levels are welcomed and encouraged. Whether you want to learn some new choreography or need a space to step-touch and sing, this class is for you!

Introduction to Birdwatching Outings

Saturdays through May
Prospect Park Boathouse
Whether you’re just starting out or have already joined the birding ranks, this introductory outing is for you! Every Saturday, join Prospect Park Alliance and a member of the Brooklyn Bird Club on an introductory walk to learn the basics of birding and search for the dozens of species that visit Prospect Park through all seasons. All levels are welcome and walks will begin at the Prospect Park Audubon Center. No registration necessary. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please bring binoculars if you have them.

Take a Winter Walk in Prospect Park

Winter brings a serene stillness to the park that makes this season unlike any other. Check out the Alliance’s recommendation for the perfect winter walking route: one that will take you to Lookout Hill, one of the highest points in Brooklyn, with unparalleled views of the city and beyond. Plus, see some scenic sights on your route? Share them with us by tagging us in your winter walking photos on social media @prospect_park!

Try Ice Skating

Open Daily
LeFrakCenter at Lakeside
Get your heart rate up, brush up on skills, or pick up a brand new hobby at LeFrak Center at Lakeside’s two open air ice skating rinks! Whether you’re interested in skating lessons, hockey, or trying out curling, there is something for everyone to glide into 2024 with health, wellness and fun in mind.

Volunteer in the Park

Wednesdays through February
Locations Vary
Get active while lending a hand to your park at a Winter Corps volunteer session! Join Prospect Park Alliance every Wednesday through February 28 for a fun filled way to give back and explore Brooklyn’s Backyard. Volunteers will assist in raking, minor shoveling, trail mulching, and other landscaping needs throughout Prospect Park.

c. Katey St. John for BK Reader

BK Reader Features Adrian Clarke

December 11, 2023

Prospect Park Tennis Center Director Adrian Clarke was recently featured by BK Reader. Get to know Adrian, learn about what drew him to tennis and what sparked his longtime passion for steel pan drumming.

An excerpt from the December 8 story Steel Pan Drums and Tennis: The Double Life of Brooklyn’s Adrian Clarke:

Growing up in Barbados, Adrian Clarke surrounded himself with two things: tennis and music. When he moved to Brooklyn in 1973 as a young adult, he took his two passions with him. The 67-year-old East Flatbush local now works as the director of the Prospect Park Tennis Center by day. But by night, he’s a steel pan drum player.

“When you’re playing music, usually everyone is smiling,” Clarke said. “You usually bring joy to a lot of people, and that’s the best part of it.”

Long before learning to play steel pan, Clarke began playing tennis in Barbados at the age of 12 and went on to play professionally, competing in the 1983 U.S. Open qualifying rounds.  “I wasn’t that much into school, but I needed something to be focused on. And tennis became that thing,” Clarke said.

Clarke’s two passions play a huge role in his life, and often their significance overlaps, the Brooklynite said. “You’re bringing joy to people when you’re playing music,” he said.  “When you’re teaching tennis to people, you’re also bringing something to them that they really need.”

Read the full story from BK Reader and view the video below on Adrian Clarke’s Double Life.


Shanna Sabio’s Guide to Flatbush

November 14, 2023

Flatbush, a neighborhood that borders the southeast corner of Prospect Park, is a must-visit destination for delving into Brooklyn history, art, food, fashion and more. Prospect Park Alliance spoke with Flatbush civic leader and born-and-raised Brooklynite, Shanna Sabio, about her work in the neighborhood as well as her take on the must-visit, Black-owned spots throughout Flatbush. Sabio is co-founder of GrowHouse Community Design + Development Group and trustee of the Flatbush African Burial Ground Coalition, a Black-led, multiracial coalition that is working to preserve the Flatbush African Burial Ground and make it an accessible space for the community. Her most recent work, the Sankofa Walking Tour, is an exploration of Black and African history in Brooklyn. In her own words below, Sabio takes us through some of her most beloved spots in Flatbush.

Sabio leading the Sankofa Walking Tour. c. Shanna Sabio

Brooklyn has been an epicenter of global Blackness, with people hailing from almost every Caribbean island, the American South and the African continent. Brooklyn is also an epicenter of gentrification. Amidst the demographic shifts, Black-owned businesses throughout the borough are building a renaissance that needs the support of all New Yorkers to keep Central Brooklyn as a site of important culture, creation and evolution for generations to come. There are a few corridors that feel like the heart of this renaissance in Flatbush.

In researching for my Sankofa Walking Tour at the Flatbush African Burial Ground, I realized that Flatbush has been a melting pot of global Blackness since the mid 1600s when enslaved Africans were brought here to build the infrastructure of what would become Brooklyn. People from the Congo and Angola, Madagascar, Ghana and Nigeria all were brought here, as well as Black people enslaved in the Caribbean. The walk has been evolving as I learn new information and partner with the amazing staff with Prospect Park Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts Initiative, which is bringing to light the history of enslaved Africans at Lefferts Historic House. As a member of the ReImagine Lefferts Advisory Board, I’m so pleased with the care and thoughtfulness with which they’re engaging our community around this important history—the epitome of allyship in practice.The J’ouvert Genesis Immersive Experience is an example of using a historic space to connect with and highlight contemporary cultural work.

Shanna’s Guide to Flatbush

One favorite spot is Natural Blend juice bar and restaurant. When members of the Flatbush African Burial Ground Coalition get together to clean up the perimeter of the burial ground, we often fuel up at Natural Blend.Their patties are delicious and they have a wide variety of beverages including smoothies and house-made ginger beer and sorrel.The yucca pone there also reminds me of the kind my grandmother made during the holidays.

Natural Blend Vegetarian Cafe and Juice Bar c. Prospect Park Alliance


Flatbush Central Market is another key Flatbush destination. The spaces here are gorgeous, especially the Lakay Lounge. The commercial kitchen/tasting room is also really affordable to book and is state-of-the-art. Part of what I love most about Central Brooklyn is the community, and this space has tremendous potential to grow as a hub for Black folks to gather and experiment. Bunnan is also here, and if you love plantain, their sandwich (which uses fried plantains as the bun) is a must-try.

Lakay Lounge in Flatbush Central/Canton Market courtesy of Shanna Sabio and Prospect Park Alliance.

When I need to buy gifts, I always stop by Granru Market. Their t-shirts are really unique and I love their mix of vintage and new clothing. I also love that they’re adding housewares to the selection. A couple of doors down from Granru is Edie Jo’s (one of the partners is Black). It’s a great place to have a working lunch because the staff is so personable and they make you feel welcome and not rushed.

Lips Cafe c. Prospect Park Alliance

From the Burial Ground if you walk to Nostrand Avenue, you can walk pretty much into Bed-Stuy and find places to stop and explore. I’m not vegan, but I crave the food at Aunts et Uncles. Their All Green Everything salad is satisfying and delicious, and I always get their Ginger Cucumber Juice which feels very healing. If I want to imbibe, their cocktails are also expertly crafted and the vibe is always right. Lips Cafe is also a great place to have a working lunch. It feels like family there and I love the connection between this space and Aunts et Uncles across the street. They’re both family-owned, which is a part of our rich legacy as Black folks, and they also share with one another which is how we all grow.

A few blocks across Linden Boulevard is Zanmi. Friday and Saturday nights are a vibe and the food is a new twist on Haitian. The portions are healthy so make sure to save space. Plus, the jerk pork at Jerk Pit is tender, juicy, perfectly spiced, and not to be missed.

In addition to restaurants, cafes and markets, Flatbush is also a hub of fashion.The fact that the legendary Fe Noel has a shop in Little Caribbean is a testament to the work that Shelley Worrell of I AM CARIBBEING has done building this community as a brand. The space is gorgeous and really creates an experience in the shop. I also recently discovered Closet Rich when I was looking for an outfit to wear out. The owner, Star, is a wealth of knowledge about Black women in fashion. I love the fitting room which has pictures of Black women fashion icons. It’s a relatively new business and the prices are so approachable for the kinds of styles she carries.

Learn more about upcoming Sankofa Walking Tours with GrowHouse and check out the above spots to craft your perfect day in Flatbush.

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