About the Vale

The Vale, tucked away in the northeast corner of Prospect Park in a woodland area, encompasses two historic Prospect Park landscapes: the Children’s Pool and the park’s former Rose Garden.

The former Rose Garden has served many functions since the park opened in 1867. It was originally a Children’s Playground, complete with the Park’s first, horse-driven carousel, and then became a formal Rose Garden, with  three pools with goldfish and lilies, at the turn of the 19th century as part of the City Beautiful movement. With the opening of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1910, the Rose Garden fell into neglect and disrepair. In 2017, Prospect Park Alliance, which has sustained this landscape of the park for many decades, embarked on an intensive community outreach initiative, Reimagine Prospect Park, to create a new vision for this landscape, working with Hester Street and Grain Collective to engage over 2,000 community members. Through this process, the team identified several possible amenities for this area of the park, including a sensory garden and rustic arbor; a nature play area for families; and a landscaped amphitheater and small building with flexible gathering space and restrooms for the community’s enjoyment. With funding now in place, Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks will embark on the design process in early 2022, and the Alliance will partner again with Hester Street to engage the community in the process.

The historic Children’s Pool is a landmarked landscape that originally featured a small pond and ornamental trees and shrubs. The Brooklyn Eagle described this spot as a “bird’s paradise,” which still holds true today. In its heyday, children would line the pond banks and race miniature toy boats. In the 1890s, the renowned firm of McKim, Mead and White replaced the pond’s soft edge with a formal marble and granite balustrade. Nicknamed the “Vale of Cashmere” after a Thomas Moore poem, it became famous for its lush, colorful foliage. Red-brick walkways, lights and benches were added in the 1960s, and in recent decades it has fallen into a state of disrepair.

Today, this area is tended by Prospect Park Alliance landscape crews and dedicated volunteers. Through a robust community engagement process, the Alliance worked with the community to create a vision for this area of the park. Learn more about the findings of this community engagement process.