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c. Paul Martinka

Lakeside Opens for Skating

January 02, 2014

After years of planning, design, and construction, the Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside opened last month to much celebration.

On December 17, Emily Lloyd, President of the Prospect Park Alliance, welcomed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Parks Commissioner Veronica White, Borough President Marty Markowitz, the LeFrak family and other officials to the ribbon cutting ceremony unveiling this new urban treasure. The event marked the realization of a dramatic vision for the southeast corner of Prospect Park, which gracefully aligns with Olmsted and Vaux’s grand design of a park for all people. Initiated under the leadership of the Alliance’s founder Tupper Thomas, the 26-acre, $74 million project was the result of a strong partnership between the City, the Alliance and the community. Renowned architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien, in collaboration with the Alliance’s acclaimed landscape architect Christian Zimmerman, created an environmentally sensitive structure that seamlessly fits into the Park’s natural splendor.

Amid a light snowfall, guests reflected on Lakeside as a symbol of Brooklyn’s cultural renaissance. The event was as festive as it was ceremonial. Supporters of the project sipped hot chocolate and admired the new Center and its spectacular views of the Lake. The Mayor handed out skates to students from PS 161 and the Brooklyn Academy of Science and the Environment High School, who were the first to glide across the fresh ice. Lloyd recounted the monumental support that brought the project to fruition, and remarked that Lakeside is a true gift for Brooklyn’s posterity. Mayor Bloomberg also recognized the work of the Alliance, and the importance of public-private partnerships in improving the quality of the City’s parks.

In addition to the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Alliance welcomed over 1,300 supporters to the ice for a special Members Preview of the facility on December 19, and also thousands of visitors in its first week of operation.

Have you visited the LeFrak Center at Lakeside? The Alliance now has an Instagram page, share your photos with us at #prospectpark #lakeside