Martin Seck

City Releases New Budget with Funding for Prospect Park

July 13, 2022

On July 1, the City began a new budget year, including funding for NYC Parks and Brooklyn’s Backyard. Thanks to the advocacy of community members, the Play Fair Coalition and local elected officials including New York City Council Members Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph and Parks Chair Shekar Krishnan, the City has strengthened its commitment to its parks, and in the words of Mayor Eric Adams, made a “down payment” on his pledge for 1% of the City budget for parks.

The Play Fair campaign, which recognizes the importance of properly funding city parks, has worked with its coalition partners, including Prospect Park Alliance, to advocate for more funding for park operations, including maintenance workers, gardeners, Urban Park Rangers and the Parks Enforcement Patrol. In the current $101 billion budget, $624 million has been allocated for Parks, which is the largest parks budget to date.

In Prospect Park, the City and Prospect Park Alliance work hand in hand to care for Brooklyn’s Backyard, with the Alliance taking care of the “green and blue” landscapes (woodlands and waterways), and the City taking the lead in basic maintenance and trash management. In the busy summer months, the Alliance supplements the City’s trash management efforts via a partnership with the non-profit ACE New York, which provides a supplementary crew on peak weekdays and weekends.

“We applaud our local elected officials, and our community, for their advocacy of Prospect Park,” said Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow. “Prospect Park is truly Brooklyn’s Backyard, and welcomes millions of community members each year. Our park thrives through the public-private partnership between the non-profit Alliance and the City, and the partnership would not be possible without our community’s support.”

In addition to operating support, the City budget also includes funding for capital improvements to our parks, recognizing the fact that parks need infrastructure upgrades in addition to basic maintenance to keep these heavily used public spaces safe and accessible for millions of New Yorkers each year.

In Prospect Park, through the support of the community, and the advocacy of our local elected officials, Council Members Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson and Rita Joseph, the City allocated funding for a number of projects to improve the park.

I’m proud to have worked alongside my Council colleagues to ensure that our Parks Department received the funding it deserved in this budget,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “Our open green spaces are essential to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and equitable investments ensure they are accessible to everyone. I’m happy to see that Prospect Park received ample funding for projects like improvements to the lakeshore through this budget and to complement hundreds of thousands of dollars in new funding going to the park through Participatory Budgeting both in mine and neighboring districts.”

“This year’s historic investments in our parks is a formal acknowledgment that green spaces are vital to the wellbeing of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “The funding we secured will go toward keeping our parks safe, clean and beautiful through much-needed infrastructure improvements, including in Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park––a space that not only offers all of us a place to play, exercise, and rest, but also acts as a critical hub for community building. These investments are crucial, and thanks to the advocacy of Prospect Park Alliance, we won them for our neighbors. I look forward to continuing to work alongside  Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks to maintain investments in Brooklyn’s Backyard and parks across the City.”

“Prospect Park is essential to the neighborhoods I serve both as a community gathering space  and a cherished green space that improves our health and well being,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “I am committed to working with our partners at NYC Parks and Prospect Park Alliance to keep Prospect Park thriving, and investing in important projects that will benefit the park and our community.”

“Under the leadership of Speaker Adams and with my Council colleagues, we won a record budget for NYC Parks this year, including resources to maintain beautiful, restorative places like Prospect Park,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “We achieved permanent funding to protect the jobs of hundreds of parks workers that keep our parks clean and safe. We fought to win funding for our natural areas, forestry, and Green Thumb gardens. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor to achieve his promise of 1% or $1 billion for parks.”

Lakeshore Improvements: through the advocacy of our community (more than 1,100 community members shared letters of support) and Council Members Hanif, Hudson and Rita Joseph, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and the Brooklyn Delegation allocated $2 million for the restoration of Lakeshore, which will make environmental and accessibility improvements along the shoreline of the Prospect Park Lake. This support leveraged an additional $1 million from the Mayor, for a total of $3 million in funding toward our $20 million goal. This funding will enable us to create a master plan and execute a portion of the restoration, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for funding in future budget cycles to fund the full project.

Parade Ground Field 9: Through discretionary funding from Council Member Joseph, $800,000 was allocated for the restoration of Field 9, a heavily used turf field in the Parade Ground. This allocation, in addition to a $700,000 allocation by former Council Member Mathieu Eugene in a previous budget cycle, will enable us to kick off this $1.5 million project, and contribute greatly to the communities who rely on this field for recreation.

Parkside Entrance Pergola: Council Member Joseph also allocated $750,000 for the restoration of a historic pergola at the Parkside Entrance. This is the final piece in the restoration of this entrance, which will also be home to a monument of Shirley Chisholm.

Willink Comfort Station: Council Member Hudson allocated $500,000 toward the $4 million restoration of the Willink Comfort Station, a historic facility at the entrance to the park near the Carousel (where Flatbush meets Empire Boulevard) that has not been restored in over 50 years and needs a full restoration plus mechanical upgrade. We look forward to continuing to advocate for full funding of this project.

Esdale Bridge: Through District 39 Participatory Budgeting, Council Member Hanif allocated $500,000 for the restoration of this historic rustic bridge, which connects the Long Meadow to the Ravine (at the pathway that traverses the Long Meadow from the Picnic House).

Pathway Lighting (Center Drive to Long Meadow Ballfields): Through District 40 Participatory Budgeting, Council Member Joseph allocated $130,000 to add new lighting along a woodland pathway that connects Center Drive at the Nethermead to the Long Meadow Ballfields.

Learn more about Capital Projects in Prospect Park on our Capital Projects Tracker.

NYC Parks / Daniel Avila

Alliance Breaks Ground on Parade Ground Fit

April 12, 2022

New York City Council Member Rita Joseph joined Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow and community members to break ground on Parade Ground Fit. The project is a District 40 participatory budgeting initiative that won popular support from local residents. The $525,000 project transforms the southwest corner of the Prospect Park Parade Ground into a community space that supports health and wellness in the neighborhood.

Editor’s Note: find photos at www.prospectpark.org/parade-ground-fit-groundbreaking  

The project will transform the southwest corner of the Prospect Park Parade Ground into a community gathering and gaming space. The area will feature new ping-pong tables, a refurbished petanque area and game tables. Additionally, new benches will be installed and the tree-filled area will be landscaped with new plantings.

“The opening of the Parade Ground Fit shows the power of Participatory Budgeting. When communities are able to directly decide how their money is spent, real improvements are made. That’s why I am so excited for our neighbors to be able to use this PB project,” said New York City Council Member Rita Joseph.

“Parade Ground Fit is an exciting project that will create a beautiful space for all New Yorkers to gather and enjoy. During the height of the pandemic, our outdoor spaces were vital for communities, especially those who simply wanted some fresh air,” said Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit Commissioner Fred Kreizman. “This project delivers on just that, and we’re thrilled for New Yorkers of all ages to enjoy a game of ping-pong with the new game tables.”

“We are excited to partner with Prospect Park Alliance and break ground on the new Parade Ground Fit, an area dedicated to adult fitness complete with revamped petanque courts and new ping-pong tables. We know how important access to health and wellness is to all communities,” said NYC Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher. “We look forward to the completion of this project and to celebrating what this new resource will mean to the neighborhood.”

“This corner of the Parade Ground will be a great neighborhood enhancement, and builds on our Adult Fitness Area in the northeast section of the Parade Ground, which was also funded through District 40 Participatory Budgeting, and the nearby Kensington Dog Run,” said James Snow, Interim President of Prospect Park Alliance. “Thanks to the support of local residents and Council Member Joseph, the Alliance is looking forward to bringing the community’s vision for this space to life.”

The Prospect Park Parade Ground is one of Brooklyn’s most popular recreational areas, with 40 acres of baseball, tennis, soccer and football fields for local schools, leagues and clubs for children and adults, as well as basketball, netball and volleyball courts. The Parade Ground also features the Stewart Playground, the Prospect Park Tennis Center, the Kensington Dog Run, and the seasonal Time Out Snack Bar, a full-service concession stand with picnic and seating areas. The Parade Ground Fit project joins other recent improvements to the area, including the Adult Fitness Area and the Kensington Dog Run.

For more information about capital improvements in Prospect Park, visit www.prospectpark.org/tracker.  

c. NYC Parks Daniel Alvia

Alliance Breaks Ground on Ballfields and Honors Council Member Lander

December 10, 2021

NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff and Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue joined City Council Member Brad Lander, New York State Assembly Member Bobby Carroll, Prospect Park Baseball Association President Eddie Albert, and community members for the ceremonial groundbreaking of Long Meadow ballfields 2 and 3 in Prospect Park. The fields are the last of seven in Long Meadow to be reconstructed thanks to $1.5 million in funding from Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Member Brad Lander, who has been a champion of this project and others in Prospect Park throughout his tenure.

“Prospect Park is affectionately known as Brooklyn’s backyard, and any good backyard needs to provide space to throw around a ball or two. Thanks to $1.5 million in funding from Mayor de Blasio and Council Member Lander, there will be plenty of room to enjoy the fully restored fields at the Long Meadow,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff. “We are excited to near the end of this restoration project and support our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance as their vision comes to life. We know these ballfields will be a treasured amenity for decades to come.”

“Brad Lander has done so much for Brooklyn’s Backyard during his tenure in the City Council, and we thank him for his service to our community,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. “The groundbreaking of the final two ballfields at the Long Meadow represent his stewardship and support of the restoration of these vital recreational amenities for all of Brooklyn, and the larger legacy he will leave in Prospect Park.”

“Prospect Park has often been called Brooklyn’s backyard, and the Long Meadow Ballfields are the part of the yard where people of all ages are given free rein to play, compete, and have fun. The thousands of Brooklynites who use these fields for baseball, softball, soccer, and other recreational activities are rejoicing at this news today. I thank the Prospect Park Alliance, as well as Council Member Lander for his leadership,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“I’m so glad that the restoration of the final two Long Meadow Ballfields is under way!” said New York City Council Member Brad Lander. “Our parks and play areas are a critical resource, especially during this pandemic. We must continue to work to keep our communities happy, healthy, and connected through community green spaces. Brooklynites of all ages will enjoy these ballfields for years to come.”

“Prospect Park is the crown jewel of Brooklyn and it has never played a more vital role in the lives of Brooklynites than it has these past two years.  For his entire tenure as a City Councilmember, Brad Lander has worked hand in hand with the Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks to maintain, enhance and restore this incalculably valuable public space. While I know that his support will continue in his new role as City Comptroller, I want to extend a special thank you to Brad for his partnership with me and his generous and truly unselfish support for the park and this project in particular,” said New York State Assemblymember Bobby Carroll. “Thanks in part to Brads’ funding, the next generation of Brooklyn ballplayers will be nurtured on these fields and with a little bit of luck, maybe one of those players will lead my Mets to win another World Series!”

c. NYC Parks Daniel Alvia

“For more than ten years I’ve known Brad as our elected official, and also as a coach and a parent.  He’s always been thoughtful, empathetic, decisive, and creative – qualities that speak very well for the future of our city.  His unwavering support of the creation of the best ballfields in the city is a tribute to his dedication to the families of Brooklyn and will be enjoyed by hundreds of thousands for decades to come,” said Eddie Albert, President, Prospect Park Baseball Association.

Upon its completion, this project will boast fully restored ballfields with additional drainage to keep the fields in good playing condition. It will also feature new pathways and benches, dedicated clay storage bins, and shaded dugouts. Construction will officially begin in January 2022, with completion anticipated for December 2022. Funding for these two fields included an $800,000 allocation from Mayor de Blasio and $750,000 from Council Member Lander.

From the early years of Prospect Park, in the late 19th century, the southern end of Long Meadow was used heavily for sporting purposes – first by croquet clubs, then for lawn tennis and then America’s ultimate pastime: baseball. With increasing demand overwhelming the nearby Parade Ground fields, five baseball diamonds and space for football and soccer were constructed on this portion of the Long Meadow in 1959, with concrete and brick bleachers and surrounded by fencing, both of which interrupted views down the length of the meadow.

In 2011, Prospect Park Alliance created a new master plan to restore the fields in the Long Meadow. To date, five of the seven fields have been restored, with these two remaining fields slated to begin construction. City Council Member Lander has been integral in the execution of this plan as he secured funding for this project and others in Prospect Park. His contributions include:

  • Funded: Children’s Corner Improvements 
  • In Design: Horseback Riding Ring; Prospect Park Tennis House Restoration; Nethermead Pedestrian Paths Restoration 
  • In Procurement: Harmony Playground Improvements and Adult Fitness Area; Maintenance Compound 
  • In Construction: Lefferts Historic House 
  • Completed: Concert Grove Pavilion; Long Meadow Ballfields 1, 4-7 including Dog Beach, Endale Arch pavement and drainage, the Parade Ground Dog Run 

Learn more about Prospect Park’s Alliance’s Capital Projects.

Alliance Restores Northeast Paths

November 10, 2021

Through $2 million in funding by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Prospect Park Alliance has completed the restoration of the pedestrian paths in the northeast corner of Prospect Park to make the area more accessible to the communities who use the park. The project kicked off in the summer of 2020 and wrapped up in August 2021.

“This project replaces broken and inaccessible pavement that’s been in poor condition for more than half a century as layers upon layers of asphalt have continued to erode,” said Svetlana Ragulina, Prospect Park Alliance Senior Landscape Architect. “Now visitors of all abilities will be able to more easily navigate the area and experience it for longer periods each day thanks to the newly installed lighting and benches.”

This project included the following:

  • The reconstruction of approximately 2,500 linear feet of paths, with new asphalt paving and traditional hex block pavers between Grand Army Plaza and the newly restored Endale Arch.
  • Installation of 15 new park benches and lighting along the paths through the addition of 60 light poles.
  • Much-needed tree care, seeding and new plantings to restore the natural areas.
  • Replacement of the play sand in the beloved Zucker Natural Exploration Area.
  • Clearing and reconstruction of 19 catch basins, which will help with drainage in heavy rain events.

The newly restored paths connect major points of interest in the northeast, including Grand Army Plaza, Endale Arch, the Park Drive, Vale of Cashmere, the Zucker Natural Exploration area, the Rose Garden and the new park entrances at Flatbush Avenue.

Learn more about park projects on our Captial Projects Tracker.

Walking Tour of New Park Features

July 21, 2021

Prospect Park’s 585 acres boast a variety of picturesque destinations, delightful nature elements, and important architectural features, shaped by 150+ years of history. For those interested in learning more, Turnstile Tours offers in-park tours weekly to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at Brooklyn’s Backyard. Learn more and book your tour today. 

Prospect Park Alliance has recently completed work on a few exciting projects around the park, and we’ve put together a self-guided walking tour for you to enjoy during your next park visit. Let’s get started!

Endale Arch (directions) Above, the newly restored Endale Arch in Prospect Park, c. Paul Martinka.

Entering the park from Grand Army Plaza, head in through the pathway furthest on the left, closest to the Brooklyn Public Library. Follow the path to the newly restored Endale Arch, a transporting portal out of the concrete of the city and into the peaceful landscape of the park.

Endale Arch was one of the first architectural elements constructed in Prospect Park in the 1860’s, conceived of by park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In recent decades, the arch had fallen into disrepair, and Prospect Park Alliance undertook a restoration that completed in 2020. Now, fully restored to it’s original splendor, visitors can enjoy the alternating color motif and fine craftsmanship of the arch with the added benefit of new LED lighting that illuminates the interior. The result is a breathtaking window into Prospect Park’s historic past—learn more about the Endale Arch. 

Flatbush Entrance Dec 2020
New Flatbush Avenue Entrance, c. Svetlana Ragulina.

Flatbush Avenue Entrance (directions)

Head south down the path by the Long Meadow, and cross the Park Drive at Nellie’s Lawn. Follow the path into the woods and you’ll arrive and Prospect Park’s first new entrance to be added to the park since the 1940’s. The Flatbush Avenue Entrance was funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio through the Parks Without Borders initiative, and was designed by Prospect Park Alliance.

The entrance, which opened in early 2021 features new landscaping, seating and lighting, two rock scrambles, and plantings of a variety of resilient trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. It is the only park entrance that leads directly into the woodlands, and provides easy access to the Rose Garden and Vale of Cashmere. Learn more about the contruction and features of the new Flatbush Avenue Entrance. 

PPA Concert Grove Pavilion 029.JPG
Newly restored Concert Grove Pavilion, c. Paul Martinka.

Concert Grove Pavilion (directions)

Continue south, either along the Park Drive or on the paths that meander through the Ravine. Pass the Boathouse and arrive at the newly restored Concert Grove Pavilion. The Pavilion was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874 and borrows motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish and Egyptian architecture. The Pavilion—a beloved community destination, was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1974, but the elaborate cast iron columns were salvaged and the pavilion was restored for the first time in 1988, and again in 2021.

Through this current restoration, the Alliance brought back beautiful features including elaborately detailed wooden trim and moldings at the eaves of the roof, terne-coated, stainless-steel roof shingles, and new high-efficiency light fixtures illuminate a beautiful star-patterned, stained-glass ceiling in the center dome and light the surrounding landscape. Learn more about the restoration of the Concert Grove Pavilion. 

Interested in learning about more of Prospect Park Alliance’s work? Visit our Capital Project Tracker to stay up-to-date on improvement projects in the park. 

Martin Seck

ecoWEIR In Action

April 23, 2021

This Earth Week, Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard in partnership with the City, debuted its ecoWEIR pilot program in Prospect Park. This innovative natural filtration system, designed by Brooklyn College Professor Jennifer Cherrier, helps to remove nutrients from Prospect Park’s watercourse that cause toxic blue-green algae blooms in the summer months, which are dangerous when in contact with pets and humans. 

The pilot program, the first in an urban park, is funded by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through a $390,000 grant. 

ecoWEIR Paul Martinka0010.JPG

“We are so grateful to our partners at New York State Parks for their support of innovative, environmentally sustainable ways for Prospect Park Alliance to sustain our natural areas,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. “From their funding of goats to remove invasive plants in our woodland areas, to our ecoWEIR pilot program, New York State Parks has always been responsive and forward-thinking in their efforts to support this urban wonder.”

Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “New York State Parks is grateful for this innovative stewardship project led by Prospect Park Alliance. Lakes, pools, waterfalls and streams are so often the scenic and recreational centerpieces of our parks. This project will help restore the water quality at Prospect Park, while offering lessons that may be applied to other parks that are also threatened by excessive algae growth.”

“The innovative ecoWEIR pilot program is a fantastic way to help manage the harmful algal blooms that pose a threat to pets and humans alike. We are grateful to New York State Parks and Brooklyn College for lending their support to this program,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Efforts like this help make our parks safer and more environmentally sustainable for generations to come.”

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of Prospect Park to our Borough and our City, and I am proud to support New York State’s efforts to recognize this with the financial and technical support the Park requires to operate as an oasis and refuge for millions,” said State Assembly Member Robert Carroll. “I am also proud that Prospect Park will pilot the use of the new ecoWEIR technology to keep the park’s water system healthy for wildlife, pets and residents–Brooklyn just keeps on leading in every way!”

“We are excited that Brooklyn College and Professor Jennifer Cherrier were able to partner with the Prospect Park Alliance and New York State Parks on this important project,” said Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson. “Professor Cherrier’s expertise in the world of aquatic sciences and water resource sustainability is well known. The fact that she is able to also include students in her research to enhance this iconic space cherished by all in Brooklyn makes it even more special.”

While the park is a natural wonderland, many people are not aware that Prospect Park’s lake, pools, waterfalls and streams are fed by the New York City water supply. Phosphates in the water, which make it safe for us to drink, lead to excessive algae growth. This algae growth limits resources for other plant life and wildlife, which is detrimental to the health of the park’s waterways.

Phosphates in the water also produce blooms of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Certain types of cyanobacteria produce toxins that can pose a health risk for humans and animals. Skin contact can cause rashes or eye irritation, while ingestion can cause more serious effects. These blooms have led to closing areas of the Prospect Park Lake that were previously available for dogs to swim due to concerns over exposure.

In 2020, the Alliance installed ecoWEIRs at two locations in the park, near Dog Beach (where city water enters the watercourse). The aim of this system is to reduce phosphates, thereby reducing excessive algae growth. The filtration system and its results are being monitored over the course of multiple seasons to determine if the pilot study is a success. In addition to enhancing the health and resilience of Prospect Park Lake, this project provides an opportunity to educate the public about water health. If successful, the Prospect Park ecoWEIR project will be replicable in parks nationwide.

The pilot will run through December 2021. Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance sustains the park environment. 

c. Paul Martinka

Concert Grove Pavilion Restored

April 7, 2021

Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher gathered to cut the ribbon on the Concert Grove Pavilion in Prospect Park. 

Prospect Park Alliance’s restoration of the Concert Grove Pavilion was made possible through $2 million in funding from former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council. The restoration of this historic structure, which was closed to the public in 2014 due to structural damage, repaired water damage, reconstructed missing historical details and added new lighting to bring new life to this cherished community gathering place.

The Concert Grove Pavilion is available for reserved events by the public via the NYC Parks Special Events permitting process. Please visit our permits page for more information. 

“The Concert Grove Pavilion is a beloved landmark, and has served our community as the location for family reunions, birthday parties and celebrations for generations,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “Thanks to funding from the Brooklyn Delegation, Prospect Park Alliance’s team of architects have been able to restore one of Brooklyn’s brightest jewels—and we’re excited to welcome the community back to enjoy it.”

“The Concert Grove Pavilion is a key piece of the identity of Prospect Park; as it serves as a venue for enjoying concerts, celebrating special occasions, and so much more,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Through the support of Prospect Park Alliance,  former Speaker Melissa Viverito, and the City Council this historic structure has been revitalized for an entirely new generation to enjoy and explore.”

“During this health crisis Brooklynites have been using Prospect Park and all its amenities more than ever and I think everyone in New York City’s appreciation has grown for their local parks during this pandemic” said Council Member Brad Lander. “I am thrilled that with the completion of the Concert Grove Pavilion, it will add an additional place for a new generation of families and picnickers to enjoy the pavilion and all Prospect Park has to offer.”

“The Concert Grove Pavilion is an important part of what makes Prospect Park such an inviting place for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene. “I want to commend and thank the Prospect Park Alliance for partnering with The Brooklyn Delegation and former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of the City Council to make this renovation possible, and for helping to maintain its historical significance within the park.”

The Pavilion was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874 and, as was typical of the time, borrows motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish and Egyptian architecture. Situated in the Upper Concert Grove in the park’s southeast corner, adjacent to Lakeside, the pavilion was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1974, but the elaborate cast iron columns were salvaged and the pavilion was restored in 1988.

Through this current restoration, the Alliance fully restored the Pavilion, bringing back beautiful features including elaborately detailed wooden trim and moldings at the eaves of the roof, and terne-coated, stainless-steel roof shingles. New high-efficiency light fixtures illuminate a beautiful star-patterned, stained-glass ceiling in the center dome and light the surrounding landscape. The original colors of the painted wood ceilings and iron columns were matched through extensive color testing and mockups. All of the iron railings and roof finials were trucked to an iron foundry in Alabama that specializes in historical restoration where missing elements were recast and damaged pieces were repaired and restored. The Alliance also installed an intricate waterproofing system to prevent future water damage of the structure.

In 2018, Prospect Park Alliance was honored with an Award for Excellence in Design by the New York City Public Design Commission for the restoration design of the Concert Grove Pavilion by the Alliance’s Capital Projects team, which includes architects, landscape architects, construction supervisors and an archivist. 

For more information about capital improvements in Prospect Park, visit our Capital Projects Tracker.

NYC Parks/Daniel Avila

CPI Project Penn Triangle Reopens

March 17, 2021

As 2020 came to an end, the Penn Triangle playground in South Williamsburg reopened its gates, renovated and ready for visitors. The design of the playground was undertaken by Prospect Park Alliance pro bono as part of the City’s Community Parks Initiative (CPI). The Alliance has also contributed designs for two additional CPI projects: Epiphany Playground, also in South Williamsburg, which is currently in the procurement phase, and Stroud Playground in Crown Heights, which was completed and reopened to the public in 2019.

The Penn Triangle Playground, which sits on a small footprint at the intersection of Wythe Avenue and Penn Street, was identified by NYC Parks as being a candidate for much-needed capital investment. Now complete, the playground boasts colorful new play features for all ages, with updated amenities like seating and water fountains. 

“I really like the color scheme,” says Jabari Taylor, the Assistant Landscape Architect at the Alliance who was tasked with the redesign of the Penn Triangle Playground. “We created 4 distinct zones that we refer to as “color rooms” with colored canopy-like structures that play with the casting of shadows and color on the ground.” Taylor, who coincidentally lives near the playground, says he’s delighted to see that since the reopening, the playground has received many enthusiastic visitors. 

penn_triangle_2.JPG

“This and other CPI projects that the Alliance has designed underscore our commitment to partner with NYC Parks for the betterment of public spaces throughout the city; especially those that haven’t received capital investment in a long time,” says Taylor. 

Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance is working for our Brooklyn community.

 

c. Paul Martinka

Virtual Program: Tour of Endale Arch

February 1, 2021

Prospect Park Alliance recently completed the restoration of the Endale Arch, one of the original portals to the park designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. In this virtual tour, hosted by Turnstile Tours, get an insider’s look at the restoration process, which required years of research, incredibly skilled craftspeople, and painstakingly detailed work to bring the arch back to its original splendor. With guests Sarena Rabinowitz, Assistant Architect, Design & Construction at Prospect Park Alliance, and Curtis Barnhart of Barnhart Restoration & Design, the group that did the restoration work on the stunning interior. We go live to the arch itself to see these wonderful details up close.

The arch restoration was generously funded by the Tiger Baron Foundation, with additional support from Council Member Brad Lander through District 39 participatory budgeting. Learn more about this multi-phase restoration project. 

Prospect Park Alliance

New Flatbush Entrances Open

January 28, 2021

Just in time for the new year, Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks have opened to the public the first new entrances to Prospect Park since the 1940s, and the restored Flatbush Avenue Perimeter, while work is completed on site. The new entrances were funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio, and designed by Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that operates the park in partnership with the City, through the Parks Without Borders initiative.

Get Directions to the new Flatbush Entrance.

“Guided by input from New Yorkers, Parks Without Borders makes access to our beautiful park space across the city easier for all,” said NYC Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “Prospect Park’s new Flatbush Avenue entrance and the adjacent street improvements bring the benefits of green space to even more New Yorkers.”

“We are so excited to formally cut the ribbon on this transformative project I hold personally dear to me,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “The iconic Prospect Park is now even more inviting and accessible thanks to this investment from Mayor de Blasio and the efforts of our partners at Prospect Park Alliance. When I imagined how Parks Without Borders could improve and revitalize many of our beloved parks, I could not have pictured a more perfect example than Prospect Park. PWB has opened up new possibilities and new pathways for New Yorkers to enjoy our green spaces for generations to come.”

“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 Bill de Blasio and NYC Parks 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.”

New Entrance Design

Prospect Park was nominated for Parks Without Borders with overwhelming support from the surrounding communities. The $3.2 million project includes a major entrance in the northeast section of the park near the former Rose Garden, the site of future restoration by Prospect Park Alliance, and a secondary entrance located just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. Both entrances feature new lighting, seating and new 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, and opens opens onto a small public plaza.

The entrance design includes:

  • An extensive new landscape with over 150 new trees—a mix of elms, hackberry, sweetgum, a variety of oak species, and a large mix of evergreen varieties, such as pines and hollies, which are important for wildlife and help to screen traffic noise.
  • Two levels of terraced seating, which provides views of the woodlands and serves as a gathering space for the community.
  • Rock scrambles of boulders with stepping stones that lead to an informal running trail. These boulders were sourced from the building site of the NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital Center for Community Health in Park Slope.
  • A palette of native flowering and perennial plants that will be visually stunning, beneficial to the park ecosystem and resilient to climate change.
  • Access directly into Prospect Park’s woodlands—the first entrance to open directly onto this important park amenity, which is an area of focus and restoration for the Alliance since the early 1990s. Visitors are greeted by towering trees and can choose multiple paths that wind through the park’s 250 acres of woodlands.

Broader Restoration Plans

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 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. Through $2 million in funding by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Prospect Park Alliance also is restoring 1,200 linear feet of paths in this area of the park, with new paving, park benches and lighting, and much-needed tree care. In addition, Prospect Park Alliance is in the early design phases of creating a covered horseback riding ring for this area of the park, just north of the Zoo, for public and therapeutic riding. This $4.1 million project is funded through the support of the New York City Council, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York Council Member Brad Lander.

Flatbush Entrance Ribbon Cutting Mailchimp.jpg

Left to Right: Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President; Assembly Member JoAnne Simon; Council Member Brad Lander; Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver; Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo; Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher.

For the ribbon cutting, Deputy Mayor Been, Parks Commissioner Silver, and Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue were joined by City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, Council Member Brad Lander, Assembly Member JoAnne Simon, Borough Parks Commissioner Martin Maher and the Alliance design team.

“Although planned pre-pandemic, the unveiling of our new and improved Prospect Park could not be more timely. COVID-19 has provided further support for the notion that our parks are a fundamental part of the Brooklyn experience! I am so proud to stand alongside Mayor de Blasio, Borough President Adams, and my fellow elected officials to not only make Prospect Park more accessible but to invest in its beautification for all to enjoy ahead of Summer 2021,” said Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo.

“Prospect Park has been a wonderful reprieve for myself and many others during this pandemic period,” said City Council Member Brad Lander. “The new Flatbush Avenue entrances and the perimeter restoration will offer greater access to the Park as well as continued enjoyment for all users! I am thrilled to be apart of this ribbon cutting and am looking forward to watching my constituents as well as all the residents of Brooklyn enjoy these new features!”

Learn more about capital projects underway in Prospect Park on our Capital Projects Tracker.