Prospect Park Alliance Celebrates 30 Years
Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains the Park in partnership with the City of New York. We provide the majority of the staff and resources that keeps the Park green and vibrant. In this slideshow, learn about the origins and work of the Alliace.
New York City was in the midst of a fiscal crisis and Prospect Park was serious disrepair, with only two million visits a year in 1979—the lowest number in Park history. A group of concerned citizens began lobbying for localized stewardship of the Park, leading to the appointment of Tupper Thomas as the first Prospect Park Administrator in 1980.
In 1987, the non-profit Prospect Park Alliance was founded to work in partnership with the City to contribute to the care and restoration of Prospect Park. The Alliance’s work began with a campaign to restore the Park’s 1912 Carousel, which reopened to the public in 1990. The restoration of the Carousel became a symbol of the Park’s rebirth.
In the 1990s, the Alliance expanded to include an in-house team of architects, landscape architects and construction supervisors dedicated to preserving the original vision of Park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, while evolving the Park to meet contemporary needs.
In the mid-90s, the organization embarked on an ambitious, $9 million restoration of the Ravine as part of a 25-year restoration plan for the Park's woodlands, Brooklyn's last remaining forest. More than 3,500 cubic yards of topsoil were used to stabilize slopes and 160,000 native plants were reintroduced. Today the Alliance has undertaken over 75 capital improvement projects, and has a dedicated Natural Resources Crew to care for the Park's woodlands.
Around the new millennium, the Alliance undertook the restoration of the Parade Ground, a 40-acre hub for athletic activities, which is now sustained by the Alliance in partnership with the City. In addition, the Alliance undertook a $12.5 million renovation of the Prospect Park Tennis Center, which is operated by the Alliance.
After restoring the historic Boathouse, the Alliance partnered with Audubon New York to reopen the Park’s 1905 neoclassical masterpiece as the nation’s first urban Audubon Center in 2002. Today, the Prospect Park Audubon Center is one of the main destinations for the Alliance’s education and public programs, which engage 75,000 visitors per year.
In 2013, the Alliance completed a radical redesign of the Park’s southeast corner that integrated the rustic aesthetic of Olmsted and Vaux, the recreational needs of the community, and the sustainable design elements of a modern public space. The project reclaimed acres of parkland, and the new LeFrak Center at Lakeside offers programming year round.
Present Day and Future Focus
Through the success of the partnership between Prospect Park Alliance and the City, Prospect Park is once again a treasured Brooklyn green space with more than 10 million visits each year. Over the next decade the Alliance will undertake a number of new projects, including the restoration of the Park's northeast corner.
To further advance Prospect Park, the Alliance depends on the input and support of the Brooklyn community. Help us care for Brooklyn’s Backyard and impact your local community by supporting Prospect Park Alliance. Become a supporter today!