About the Vale
The Vale, located in the northeast corner of Prospect Park, encompasses two Prospect Park landscapes: the Children’s Pool and the park’s former Rose Garden, which have not been touched by restoration in more than 50 years.
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. 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.
In 2017, Prospect Park Alliance, which has sustained this area 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 the Vale, 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. In 2021, the City provided funding to make this vision a reality, and in Spring 2022, the Alliance partnered again with Hester Street to engage the community in the process prior to embarking on design.