New Year's Surprise: Flatbush Entrances Open
December 31, 2020
Just in time for the new year, pedestrian access has opened at two new entrances to Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue, completed through the Parks Without Borders (PWB) Initiative. Work is concluding on site, and a formal ribbon cutting with the community will take place in the coming weeks to celebrate the project, which represents the first new entrances to Prospect Park since the 1940s.
“When you are fortunate enough to work for the city where you grew up, there are some things you do that hold not just professional, but personal significance. For me – this is that project,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “When I was in high school, my brother and I would run around the park along Flatbush Avenue, and it always struck me that there needed to be an easier way to get into the park from there. Later on, this experience became my inspiration for creating the Parks Without Borders initiative to make green spaces all over the city more welcoming and easier to access. I am thrilled to see these pathways open today, to inspire and welcome all people into the park the way I had once only dreamed about.”
"Prospect Park Alliance is committed to making Prospect Park open and accessible to all communities it borders, and we are grateful to be able to open pedestrian access while work concludes on the site," said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. "I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Silver for their innovative Parks Without Borders Initiative, and the many community members who came out in support of this project. These new entrances will serve as an important gateway to the park for our east side communities, and to the park's northeast corner, a focal point of our future restoration efforts."
Prospect Park was nominated for Parks Without Borders (PWB) with overwhelming support from the surrounding communities. The $3.2 million project, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio and designed by Prospect Park Alliance, includes a major entrance to the northeast section of the park near the former Rose Garden, the site of future restoration by Prospect Park Alliance, and a minor secondary entrance located just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. Both entrances feature new lighting, seating and landscaping. The major entrance aligns with a future DOT traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, intersecting a berm retained by a three-foot-high granite wall. This will open onto a small public plaza with two levels of terraced seating that provides views of the surrounding woodlands. Stepping stones will lead to an informal running trail atop a berm. The plaza will also feature a rock scramble of boulders sourced from the building site of nearby NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Settees will be installed along the paths and between the boulders.
Parks Without Borders, part of OneNYC, was announced in November 2015 with a call for community involvement. NYC Parks asked New Yorkers to nominate the sites that would benefit the most from a PWB improvement project. Utilizing an online survey and 37 conferences with citizens, Parks received more than 6,000 nominations for 691 parks—approximately 30 percent of our parks. The eight selected showcase projects, sharing $40 million in funding from Mayor de Blasio, were revealed in May 2016; and an additional $10 million has been applied to another 40 capital projects in progress. The other PWB projects are: Fort Greene Park (Brooklyn); Van Cortlandt Park and Hugh Grant Circle / Virginia Park and Playground (Bronx); Jackie Robinson Park and Seward Park (Manhattan); Faber Park (Staten Island); and Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens).
The creation of these entrances is part of a comprehensive restoration of the Flatbush Avenue perimeter of Prospect Park. A second project, funded with $2.4 million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and led by the Prospect Park Alliance, restored the Flatbush Avenue perimeter from Grand Army Plaza to the Prospect Park Zoo to its original grandeur with new landscaping, an expanded promenade, and new furnishings.
Prospect Park Alliance