Take a free, self-guided audio tour of Prospect Park’s watercourse—a marvel of nature, history and eco-innovation. The tour is presented by Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with artist Mary Mattingly and More Art, and powered by Gesso. The tour serves as an educational component of the ecoWEIR pilot program currently operating in Prospect Park, and is presented through funding from the Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program for Park Services, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s landmark park, is a natural wonder but also a feat of engineering: home to the borough’s last remaining forest and only lake, the park’s watercourse is fed by the New York City water supply. The free, self-guided audio tour, narrated by Mary Mattingly and Jason Chan, provides a new perspective on the natural and human-made ecosystems found in Prospect Park, and its connection to New York City’s water supply. From the natural ponds, local springs, and streams that were here before the park, to the waterways designed by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux that today are fed by watersheds as far as 125 miles north of the city, to the future health of these waterways through an innovative ecoWEIR that uses plants to filter water—the tour peels back layers of history, environmental stewardship, and human intervention that are hidden beneath the surface.
The tour begins at the Grand Army Plaza entrance of the park and ends on Wellhouse Drive in the park, a total of 2.02 miles and 12 narrated stops. The route includes a steep set of stairs in the Ravine and passes over dirt/gravel and paved paths. There is an accessible restroom at the end of the tour located at the Wellhouse.
2022 Winter Checklist
December 30, 2021
As we enter the new year, Prospect Park Alliance encourages you to look ahead to the fun that the new year has in store! From sledding, skating, winter walks and more, we’ve put together 5 perfectly-park activities for you to check off your list in the new year. Take a look and we’ll see you in the park.
Get Out on the Ice
Enjoy a beloved winter tradition in Prospect Park—head down to the rinks at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside for hours of fun. There’s room for all ages and abilities, and make sure to warm up and refuel with hot chocolate at the Bluestone Café. Plus, the rinks aren’t just for ice skating—sign up for a hockey league, and even plan a birthday party at this popular recreational destination. Lakeside is open everyday in-season!
Get Ready to Sled!
Both through nature and by design, Prospect Park’s landscape is dotted with rolling hills, which makes it prime territory for winter sledding. When conditions are right, make sure to stop by the top sledding destinations in Brooklyn’s Backyard. Get there early, you’ll be competing with all of Brooklyn for a spot on the slopes!
Game, Set, Match
Planning on making a New Year’s resolution to take up a new hobby? The Prospect Park Tennis Center is the perfect place to try something new. Play under the bubble on the facility’s indoor courts all winter long and improve your tennis—whether you’re a beginner or just hoping to take your game to the next level.
Prospect Park Alliance Volunteer Helps Revive the American Chestnut
December 21, 2021
Ever wonder what happened to the American Chestnut? At the turn of the 20th century, the American chestnut towered over other trees in Eastern forests. The trees would grow as much as 100 feet high, and 13 feet wide. According to legend, a squirrel could scamper from New England to Georgia on the canopies of American chestnuts, never touching the ground.
And then, the trees began to disappear, succumbing to a mysterious fungus. The fungus first appeared in New York City in 1904—and then it spread. By the 1950s, the fungus had wiped out billions of trees, and effectively finished off the American chestnut.
Now, some folks are trying to resurrect the American chestnut– including a longtime Prospect Park Alliance volunteer, Bart Chezar, who works closely with the Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management Team.
Alliance Breaks Ground on Ballfields and Honors Council Member Lander
December 10, 2021
NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff and Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue joined City Council Member Brad Lander, New York State Assembly Member Bobby Carroll, Prospect Park Baseball Association President Eddie Albert, and community members for the ceremonial groundbreaking of Long Meadow ballfields 2 and 3 in Prospect Park. The fields are the last of seven in Long Meadow to be reconstructed thanks to $1.5 million in funding from Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Brad Lander, who has been a champion of this project and others in Prospect Park throughout his tenure.
“Prospect Park is affectionately known as Brooklyn’s backyard, and any good backyard needs to provide space to throw around a ball or two. Thanks to $1.5 million in funding from Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Lander, there will be plenty of room to enjoy the fully restored fields at the Long Meadow,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “We are excited to near the end of this restoration project and support our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance as their vision comes to life. We know these ballfields will be a treasured amenity for decades to come.”
“Brad Lander has done so much for Brooklyn’s Backyard during his tenure in the City Council, and we thank him for his service to our community,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. “The groundbreaking of the final two ballfields at the Long Meadow represent his stewardship and support of the restoration of these vital recreational amenities for all of Brooklyn, and the larger legacy he will leave in Prospect Park.”
“Prospect Park has often been called Brooklyn’s backyard, and the Long Meadow Ballfields are the part of the yard where people of all ages are given free rein to play, compete, and have fun. The thousands of Brooklynites who use these fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and other recreational activities are rejoicing at this news today. I thank the Prospect Park Alliance, as well as Council Member Lander for his leadership,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“I’m so glad that the restoration of the final two Long Meadow Ballfields is under way!” said New York City Council Member Brad Lander. “Our parks and play areas are a critical resource, especially during this pandemic. We must continue to work to keep our communities happy, healthy, and connected through community green spaces. Brooklynites of all ages will enjoy these ballfields for years to come.”
“Prospect Park is the crown jewel of Brooklyn and it has never played a more vital role in the lives of Brooklynites than it has these past two years. For his entire tenure as a City Councilmember, Brad Lander has worked hand in hand with the Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks to maintain, enhance and restore this incalculably valuable public space. While I know that his support will continue in his new role as City Comptroller, I want to extend a special thank you to Brad for his partnership with me and his generous and truly unselfish support for the park and this project in particular,” said New York State Assemblymember Bobby Carroll. “Thanks in part to Brads’ funding, the next generation of Brooklyn ballplayers will be nurtured on these fields and with a little bit of luck, maybe one of those players will lead my Mets to win another World Series!”
“For more than ten years I’ve known Brad as our elected official, and also as a coach and a parent. He’s always been thoughtful, empathetic, decisive, and creative – qualities that speak very well for the future of our city. His unwavering support of the creation of the best ballfields in the city is a tribute to his dedication to the families of Brooklyn and will be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands for decades to come,” said Eddie Albert, President, Prospect Park Baseball Association.
Upon its completion, this project will boast fully restored ballfields with additional drainage to keep the fields in good playing condition. It will also feature new pathways and benches, dedicated clay storage bins, and shaded dugouts. Construction will officially begin in January 2022, with completion anticipated for December 2022. Funding for these two fields included an $800,000 allocation from Mayor de Blasio and $750,000 from Council Member Lander.
From the early years of Prospect Park, in the late 19th century, the southern end of Long Meadow was used heavily for sporting purposes – first by croquet clubs, then for lawn tennis and then America’s ultimate pastime: baseball. With increasing demand overwhelming the nearby Parade Ground fields, five baseball diamonds and space for football and soccer were constructed on this portion of the Long Meadow in 1959, with concrete and brick bleachers and surrounded by fencing, both of which interrupted views down the length of the meadow.
In 2011, Prospect Park Alliance created a new master plan to restore the fields in the Long Meadow. To date, five of the seven fields have been restored, with these two remaining fields slated to begin construction. City Council Member Lander has been integral in the execution of this plan as he secured funding for this project and others in Prospect Park. His contributions include:
Funded: Children’s Corner Improvements
In Design: Horseback Riding Ring; Prospect Park Tennis House Restoration; Nethermead Pedestrian Paths Restoration
In Procurement: Harmony Playground Improvements and Adult Fitness Area; Maintenance Compound
In Construction: Lefferts Historic House
Completed: Concert Grove Pavilion; Long Meadow Ballfields 1, 4-7 including Dog Beach, Endale Arch pavement and drainage, the Parade Ground Dog Run