Andrea Pippins

Celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage in Prospect Park

May 4, 2022

Celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month in Prospect Park with I AM caribBEING, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE, BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project, and Prospect Park Alliance. Enjoy Caribbean film, live music, dance, wellness and much more during this cultural celebration for Brooklynites of all ages. All participating artists and practitioners have roots in Little Caribbean NYC, and hail from Trinidad, Jamaica, Haiti and elsewhere.

I AM caribBEING is supported by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid and Showtime.

RSVP today for these upcoming events!

I AM caribBEING Prospect Park: Rockers + Dre Island
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 7-10pm
Prospect Park Alliance and I AM caribBEING kick off Caribbean-American Heritage Month with the cult classic film, Rockers. The 1978 film offers a tale of struggle and triumph in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica. Protagonist, Horsemouth, knows all too well the difficulty it takes to get into the music business in Kingston. Although talented, he earns very little and hustles to make ends meet. As tension begins to build with the local mafia after they steal his motorbike, Horsemouth and his friends concoct a plan to bring their reign of terror to an end and bring justice the the people of Kingston.

Prior to the film, multi-talented singer, keyboardist Dre Island, hailing from Kingston, Jamaica, will join the celebration for a very special performance. Complex calls him “one of the most refreshing voices in reggae right now.” With his gravelly vocals and calm demeanor, he evokes a mystery and edge that gravitates reggae and dancehall fans alike. The versatile artist has collaborated with the likes of UK R&B singer Jorja Smith, contemporary reggae star Chronixx and Jamaican dancehall artists like Popcaan and Skillibeng. In June, he will release his sophomore album High Times, which follows his 2020 debut, Now I Rise.

 

ALERT: Canceled due to predicted sever weather, check back for reschedule date TBD.
I AM  caribBEING Prospect Park: Lean Strong Fast Hike
Sunday, June 12, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 9-11am
Join I AM caribBEING and Prospect Park Alliance to learn to improve your fitness and wellness regimens with the Little Caribbean-based performance team, Lean Strong Fast. Attendees will be guided through the park on either a beginner or intermediate level hike-walk based on their comfort level. Bring out your sneakers and come join us in the park!

 

RESCHEDULED: Tribute to the Rhythm Workshop
Now Thursday, June 16 (was Sunday, June 12)
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 6-9pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE and BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project for a workshop in Prospect Park this June which gives tribute to The Rhythm Section, The Iron Men, and the other percussionists that create the dynamic rhythm section so essential to Steelpan and Calypso music. Participants will learn about the history and role of drummers through speakers and performances. All ages are invited to enjoy the workshop.

 

I AM caribBEING Prospect Park: Juneteenth + One Love Little Caribbean Day
Sunday, June 19, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 4-9pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance and I AM caribBEING for Juneteenth, I AM caribBEING style, with live performance by Grammy-Award winning Angela Hunte backed by Da Jerry Wonda Band, peer-to-peer gaming powered by Fun With Friends DJ sets by Gab Soul + Khalil and Little Caribbean artisan vendors.

Escape the excitement and enter the calming Rooftop Oasis showcasing local Black-owned self-care brands on the Boathouse’s Rooftop. Upon entering this haven, guests can choose their wellness adventure. From refreshing natural elixirs to essential oil blends for whatever ails you, Rooftop Oasis will take you there and bring you back to life.

Rooftop Oasis is curated by I DON’T DO CLUBS and TAKE CARE WELLNESS

I AM caribBEING Prospect Park: Brukwine
Sunday, June 26, 2022
Location: Prospect Park Boathouse
Time: 2pm-2:45pm
Are you ready to wukkup and juk? Join I AM caribBEING and BRUKWINE for a high energy workout routine. This Caribbean inspired dance workout is sure to get your heart rate up, hips moving and thighs burning!

I AM caribBEING is supported by NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York State Council for the Arts, Con Edison, TD Bank, National Grid and Showtime.

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.  

Prospect Park Alliance Announces New Food Options in Prospect Park

April 6, 2022

Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard, has announced a new food and beverage concession coming to the Prospect Park Picnic House: WINNER, a Brooklyn-based restaurant group, will open a cafe in the lower level of the Picnic House, which is located on the park’s Long Meadow.

The cafe will offer baked goods, sandwiches, beverages and picnic meals, and will open in early May. Service will kick off with breakfast, and additional hours will be rolled out weekly until Memorial Day when hours will be 7 am–9 pm daily. WINNER will operate in Prospect Park through December.

“The park is an essential resource for our community, and we know that Prospect Park patrons want more food options to enhance their park experience,” said James Snow, Prospect Park Alliance Interim President. “We’re excited to welcome this amenity and we are confident that our community will welcome having WINNER in the park to add to our other food offerings.”

“One of the pillars of WINNER is to create something for everyone,” said WINNER Owner and Founder Daniel Eddy. “Be it pre-run or post-run, with family or friends, or a solo walk just to commune with nature, WINNER at the Picnic House will have something for everyone.”

WINNER was founded by Chef Daniel Eddy, who opened the Park Slope outpost days before the shutdown in March 2020. Despite the obstacles, WINNER quickly became a beloved neighborhood institution, frequently featuring lines out the door for their baked goods and chicken dinners. WINNER in Prospect Park will offer many of their coveted Park Slope menu items, including pastries, coffee, sandwiches, and rotisserie chicken.

Last year, Prospect Park Alliance issued a Request For Proposals for interesting and affordable food options in the park as part of its mission to improve the visitor experience in the park for the community. In addition to WINNER, the Alliance has brought King David Tacos to Grand Army Plaza, Smorgasburg to Breeze Hill, Bluestone Cafe to Lakeside, as well as the Mohammed Islam Hot Dog Cart to the Ballfields.

Learn more about food options at prospectpark.org/food.

Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Alliance Launches Poetry Partnership with Writing the Land

February 23, 2022

Prospect Park Alliance is partnering with Writing the Land, which connects poets with land set aside for people and nature to foster collaboration between the environmental and creative communities. Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with Writing the Land to commission four poets to produce work about Prospect Park and share their work with the Brooklyn community: Black poet Rachelle Parker, and Native American poets Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet and Ty Defoe.

This partnership is a stage for diverse voices to engage in a dialogue about the park and its history, an important part of Prospect Park Alliance’s community engagement work. The collaboration, while embracing the park as a whole, connects to the Alliance’s Re-Imagine Lefferts initiative, currently underway, which seeks to re-envision the mission and programming of the park’s historic house museum to recognize its role as a site of slavery and to elevate the voices of the enslaved Africans who lived and worked the land, and the Indigenous people that were forced to leave their ancestral lands at the time of Dutch colonization.

“Our partnership with Writing the Land fits incredibly well into the work of the Alliance,” says Maria Carrasco, the Alliance’s Vice President of Public Programs. “Poetry is empowering and the perfect vehicle for engaging our community in contemplating the viewpoints of traditionally unheard voices. The spoken word can provide members of our community with new ways of thinking, and hopefully will encourage them to actively participate in social change and civic engagement here in the park and beyond.”

“Writing the Land is excited to expand our work with traditional land trusts to more diverse organizations that protect land,” says director of Writing the Land, Lis McLoughlin, PhD. ”Prospect Park is an amazing resource for its community and beyond, and we were delighted to find they were very open to using poetry as a way to highlight the great work they do. Our poets are looking forward to building bridges between the park and those who love and use it.”

The poets will spend the next several months visiting the park and creating poems inspired by the land, which will culminate in a reading in the park in October. Prospect Park poets will be featured performers, and they will give a sneak peek of some poems they are preparing for the Writing the Land Anthology to be published in December.

From left to right: Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet, Rachelle Parker, Ty Defoe

Michaeline Picaro is a member of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation Turtle Clan. As a traditionalist with knowledge of medicinal plants, Picaro is currently seeking to further her expertise and is enrolled at Chamberlain College to receive her nursing BSN to further assist the Turtle Clan with nursing needs and assessments. Picaro is also a co-founder of the Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm which creates jobs and works toward food sovereignty. She is a co-founder of Ramapough Culture and Land Foundation, which preserves and restores the economic, social, cultural, sacred and environmental assets of the Ramapough Munsee ancestral lands.Picaro carries the Clan Mother title and is a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribe and preservationist for ceremonial landscapes.

Opalanietet is a member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribal nation of New Jersey.  Since graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Opalanietet has performed in workshops and productions at renowned New York theatrical institutions including New Dramatists, LaMaMa E.T.C. and New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. In 2012, Opalanietet founded Eagle Project, a theater company dedicated to exploring the American identity through the performing arts and Native American heritage. Opalanietet is currently studying for his doctorate in Theatre & Performance Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.

Rachelle Parker is a Nassawadox-born, Brooklyn-bred writer. She was selected the winner of the Furious Flower Poetry Prize, was awarded third prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and was a finalist in Rhino Founders’ Prize. She was recognized in the Arts By The People – 2021 Moving Words. Her work appears in About Place Journal, The Adirondack Review, Taint Taint Taint Magazine and she is a contributor to the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: Black Girl Magic. Her photography also debuted in Orion Magazine.

Ty Defoe is an Indigiqueer citizen of the Oneida Nation and Anishinaabe Nations. Defoe is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and Grammy Award winner. Defoe aspires to an “interweaving and glitterizing approach to artistic projects with liberation and environmentalism.” Defoe’s global cultural arts highlights include the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; International Music Festival in Ankara, Turkey; and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. The artist’s accolades range from the Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, Jonathan Larson Award, Helen Merrill Playwriting Award 2021, and Cultural Capital Fellowship with First People’s Fund 2021.

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.

Reimagining a Historic House: A Community Conversation

October 12, 2021

Prospect Park Alliance hosted a Community Conversation with Meredith Sorin-Horsford, Director of the Dyckman Farmhouse Museum, as part of its Re-Imagine Lefferts Historic House initiative to re-envision the mission and programming of this historic house museum while it undergoes restoration, recognize the role the house played as a site of slavery, and tell the stories of enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived and worked the land.

In the lead up to the event, we asked Meredith a few questions about Dyckman DISCOVERED and her team’s approach to sensitive historical research.

Can you tell us a bit about your Dyckman DISCOVERED  Initiative?
The Dyckman DISCOVERED initiative investigates the stories of the enslaved and free people that lived and worked on the Dyckman Farm and the community that is now called Inwood in Upper Manhattan. This initiative brings an inclusive history to the community, fosters a sense of transparency and, we hope, engages visitors who have not seen themselves represented in the current narrative.

Where did you find information about the enslaved Africans and others who lived and worked the land apart from the Dyckman family?
We utilized the Dyckman papers at the New-York Historical Society as well as runaway slave ads, bills of sale and papers that relate to families that the Dyckmans did business with.

If you don’t have a lot of information about an enslaved person who lived in the house, how do you give visitors a sense of their lives?
Every piece of information that we find gives us an inkling into their lives, the languages they spoke, the skills they possessed, the food they ate, the spaces they would have occupied, etc. Additionally, information about the lives of enslaved people in the region might also help us to learn more about their lives.

How did you engage your community in your project?
We held community conversations during which we talked about the research that we found and used that as an opportunity to find out more from our neighbors about what they would like to learn more about. We have also held numerous public programs that relate to the Dyckman DISCOVERED initiative, including a lecture series and site-specific contemporary art installations.

Why is it important to preserve authentic and meaningful documents, artifacts, images, stories and places?
Authentic historic documents, images, stories, and places are so important to preserve because they tell us where we have been and how we ended up where we are now. Utilizing historic artifacts and stories are also a great way to engage our present-day community in conversation about the past and how it is connected with the present.

What kinds of programs help participants to see how their experiences in life are related to the interpretation of slavery?
I think that our lecture series, Talking About Race Matters: Join the Conversation, illustrates this best. This series, which we have hosted three times since August 2020, features professionals in the fields of history, archeology, anthropology, Africana and Latinx studies, women and gender studies, music and dance to talk about race from different perspectives. Through these community conversations, attendees are able to learn about, discuss, and ask questions about how the institution of slavery has shaped the history of this nation and the evolution of who and where we are today.

For those who couldn’t make it to the community conversation, the Alliance created a form where you can respond to the questions that were raised to our audience, and we encourage you to share your feedback. We do plan future community conversations in the coming months, and hope that you can join this continued dialogue.

The restoration of Lefferts Historic House is made possible through $2.5 million in funding from the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, and includes replacing the roof, restoring the exterior of the building, and repairing paths and drainage surrounding the house. The restoration is currently underway, and slated to be completed in 2022.

Learn more about Lefferts Historic House.

c. Paul Martinka

Prospect Park Alliance Welcomes Juneteenth Way

June 18, 2021

Today Prospect Park Alliance kicked off the restoration of Lefferts Historic House with a celebratory event led by Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and Council Member Mathieu Eugene, who joined civic leaders and community members. The occasion was marked with two unveilings: the designation of the path across from Lefferts as “Juneteenth Way,” and a site-specific installation produced in partnership with Photoville, “Jamel Shabazz: Prospect Park, My Brooklyn Oasis.” 

Prospect Park Alliance is restoring Lefferts Historic House through $2.5 million in funding from the Speaker and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council. The restoration will enable the Alliance to replace the roof, restore the exterior of the building, and repair paths and drainage surrounding the house. The restoration is slated to conclude by Fall 2022.

In timing with Juneteenth and in partnership with NYC Parks, the pathway across from Lefferts Historic House is being designated as “Juneteenth Way.” The stretch of benches along this shaded walkway were painted the colors of the pan-African flag, and interpretive signage was installed as part of this designation. The Alliance and NYC Parks will look to officially rename the area after a celebrated Black community member next year via the public nomination and voting process of the NYC Parks Renaming Project.

In partnership with the non-profit Photoville and acclaimed Brooklyn-based photographer Jamel Shabazz, the Alliance unveiled “Prospect Park: My Oasis in Brooklyn,” a site-specific installation of works on the Lefferts Historic House construction fencing. For the past 41 years, Shabazz has documented the people and places that truly make the park Brooklyn’s Backyard. His work is exhibited worldwide, and featured in the collections of The Whitney Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The installation is on view through December 1, 2021.

“Lefferts Historic House is located at the nexus of Prospect Park and the Flatbush community, and our vision in terms of its restoration is to rethink its mission and vision to make it better reflect the history and culture of our community,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. “In strengthening the bones of this historic structure, the Alliance is committed to recognizing the role the house played as a site of slavery, and telling the stories of enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived and worked the land. We are so thrilled to be marking this moment by unveiling ‘Juneteenth Way’, and also celebrating the work and career of the preeminent photographer Jamel Shabazz.”

“We are elated to celebrate the start of Lefferts Historic House’s restoration and the unveiling of Prospect Park’s Juneteenth Way. It is fitting that this momentous occasion would fall on the eve of Juneteenth,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “We hope that collectively we can reflect and acknowledge the history of this site as a former slave property. Thanks to the Prospect Park Alliance and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, the Lefferts Historic House will be restored and renewed to serve as a living testament to the hurdles we have overcome in the quest for equality and as a reminder of the harsh realities of slavery.”

“These dual projects to honor the end of slavery on which the Prospect Park Alliance is partnering are right on time,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “The unveiling of “Juneteenth Way” as restoration of Lefferts Historic House commences, and the rotating art exhibit surrounding it, first featuring the photography of Jamel Shabazz, acknowledge the profound cultural contributions that continue to be made by people of African descent in this country, and the long overdue homage being made to those formerly enslaved who learned late in1865 that they were finally free. I thank Prospect Park Alliance and my colleagues in government for their work to begin this recognition process.” 

“Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park is one of many cultural milestones in my district,” said Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo. “I know my neighbors and many residents cherish the local history of Brooklyn and their neighborhoods, and I cannot wait to see how Jamel Shabazz’s installation will depict the Park as the oasis it truly was, and always will be, for Brooklyners.”

“The restoration of Lefferts Historic House and the unveiling of Juneteenth Way is not only a beautiful addition to our beloved Prospect Park but a step in making sure all New Yorkers’ history is represented. As well as celebrating the career of photographer Jamel Shabazz,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “This is a critical moment to make sure our collective histories are shared and not to gloss over some parts of it we don’t want to share. I hope that when it reopens, the Lefferts Historic House will be able to teach all who come to visit it the stories of the enslaved people who lived and worked there, and that we continue to make New York City historical sites more inclusive.”

“It is a great honor for me to join my colleagues from the Brooklyn Delegation in funding the $2.5 million restoration of  Lefferts Historic House,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene. “This project represents a very important long-term investment in our community that is preserving history for future generations of New Yorkers. By restoring this historic landmark, once home to prominent slaveholder Pieter Lefferts, we are preserving a part of our city’s rich history and recognizing the struggle that our enslaved ancestors went through on their journey to freedom. The dedication of Juneteenth Way in the very place that housed slaves so many years ago is indeed a powerful statement to the progress we have made as a society towards equality.”  

Background on Lefferts Historic House

Lefferts Historic House is an 18th-century historic house museum jointly operated by Prospect Park Alliance and the Historic House Trust. Its programming focuses on the lives of the people that lived and worked the land, including the Lenape, Dutch colonists and enslaved Africans. The museum features a working garden and farm plots, historic artifacts, period rooms and indoor and outdoor exhibits. 

The Dutch colonist Lefferts family resided in the town of Flatbush starting in the 1600s. Their wealth was the result of the labor of enslaved Africans, who worked the land to produce staple crops. The original home burned down in August 1776 during the Battle of Brooklyn, and was rebuilt circa 1783. Although it is not known for certain how many enslaved Africans lived at the homestead, the 1800 census showed 12 enslaved African residents, a high number for a single family farm. By some estimates, one third of the people living in what is now Brooklyn in the early 19th century were enslaved. In 1824, the Lefferts family began to free enslaved Africans, and after the abolition of slavery in New York State in 1827, most of the Lefferts farmland was rented to tenant farmers. At the end of the 1800s, the Lefferts family sold the farmland to developers. Originally located four blocks south at 563 Flatbush Avenue near Maple Street, the house was moved to the park after its presentation to the City in 1917.

While the house is closed for restoration, Prospect Park Alliance is undertaking a re-envisioning of the museum’s mission and programming to strengthen its focus on the history and culture of the Flatbush community. This includes a stronger emphasis on the homestead as a historic site of slavery, and how the museum tells the story of the enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived and worked the land. The Alliance will be partnering with leading researchers, community leaders and cultural organizations to identify and create innovative programming for the restored museum.

Learn more at prospectpark.org/lefferts.

Jordan Rathkopf

Neighborhood Guide: Little Caribbean

May 19, 2021

Little Caribbean, a neighborhood located in and around Flatbush, Brooklyn, has been a major hub of Caribbean-American-Latinx life in New York City since the 1960s. It is home to the largest and most diverse community of people from various Caribbean islands outside of the West Indies. Shelley Worrell, founder of caribBEING, spearheaded the movement to officially name the neighborhood Little Caribbean in 2017, and Prospect Park Alliance had a chance to sit with her and ask her about some of her favorite destinations in the area. June is Caribbean-American Heritage Month and we’re celebrating with free fitness, music and food events—see the full lineup!

One of Worrell’s favorite things about Little Caribbean is the mix of old and new: second or third generation family owned businesses, such as Allan’s Bakery on Nostrand Avenue, share a neighborhood and culture with new businesses such as Aunts Et Uncles and Hibiscus Brew, located on Nostrand Avenue and Flatbush Avenue respectively. Other highly recommended eateries include Peppa’s Jerk Chicken on Prospect Place and Nostrand Avenue and Scoops on Flatbush Avenue.

Allan's Bakery Allans caribBEING
Allan’s Bakery. Photo courtesy of Christian Rodriguez.

The Drummer’s Grove, located in the park near the Parkside Avenue and Ocean Avenue entrance, is another staple Caribbean institution. “What would the park be without it?” Shelley remarked. When asked about her other favorite spots and activities in the park, she mentioned the Boathouse, Smorgasburg, and Grand Army Plaza’s beautiful archways: but her favorite and most frequented spots are the Parkside and Ocean Avenue and Lincoln Road and Ocean Avenue entrance, both located in Little Caribbean.

Labay Market Little Caribbean caribBEING
Labay Market, another staple of Little Caribbean. Photo courtesy of Christian Rodriguez.

Finally, we talked a little about the caribBEING House, currently stationed in the park near the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. “It’s a mobile shipping container: part gallery, part shop,” Shelley explained. It’s a space for Caribbean arts, culture, and community. It’s traveled all around Brooklyn, from Greenpoint, to Williamsburg to Downtown Brooklyn. It is slated to open in the summer season along with a slate of caribBEING events hosted in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance in timing with June’s Caribbean-American Heritage Month. Check out the full list of caribBEING’s food, music fitness events coming to the park in June.

caribBEING House WinterPhoto courtesy of Pablo Serrano.

Learn more about the Little Caribbean neighborhood and learn more about caribBEING on the caribBeing website.

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Re:New Prospect Park

Prospect Park is the place to be for our community—which is why Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard, has launched Re:New Prospect Park: new stewardship efforts to help serve our community and meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, both Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks lost critical funding, which resulted in a reduced workforce and resources. This combined with an increase in park visitors led to the park getting much more love than it can handle. However, thanks to the support of our community of donors and volunteers over the past year, the park has been able to weather the storm, and the Alliance is placing much-needed funds to renew the park in time for our busiest season.

“We know how important the park is to our community and the role is serves in recovering from the challenges of the past year,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “Prospect Park is showing serious signs of wear and tear, and without our normal workforce, we are so grateful for our community, who over the past year has pitched in to help sustain this cherished green oasis.

Critical support  for this initiative is made possible through generous funding from Amazon, the Leon Levy Foundation, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in the New York Community Trust, NYC Green Relief + Recovery Fund, and many generous individuals and community members who made first-time or increased gifts to the Alliance during this challenging time.

Re:New Prospect Park Initiatives

Park Maintenance

Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with Ace New York, a non-profit that empowers the homeless, to provide additional maintenance resources to help clean the park on peak weekdays and weekend evenings through October. In addition, the Alliance has brought on board four seasonal groundskeepers to help supplement NYC Parks maintenance crews during this busiest time of year.

The crew is partially funded via a grant from Amazon. 

“Throughout the pandemic, Prospect Park has provided badly needed, outdoor refuge to Brooklyn families,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s New York Head of External Affairs. “Unfortunately, this has meant wear and tear on the park at the exact time resources are strained. By partnering with ACE, Prospect Park Alliance will create job opportunities, while ensuring this local gem remains a resource for our city and borough.”

“ACE is proud to partner with the Alliance to help keep Prospect Park clean and safe for all New Yorkers to enjoy. These jobs not only benefit our City by keeping the park beautiful, they also provide meaningful employment for men and women who have overcome histories of homelessness,” said ACE Executive Director James Martin.

To support these efforts, Prospect Park Alliance is encouraging park visitors to carry in and carry out their trash via promotional signage at all park entrances, the Alliance has also installed large trash receptacles in key areas of the park. View this map for large trash receptacle locations.

Park Improvements

The Alliance will also be re-investing back into the park by improving lawn areas, comfort stations, barbecue areas and even the park’s beloved Drummer’s Grove through funding from our community of donors. Work will take place this spring into early summer, and will include renovated restroom facilities at the Lincoln Road and Children’s Corner, new barbecue grills, fixtures and furnishings at the Picnic House and Bandshell barbecue areas, similar to the new grills installed at the Lincoln Road and Parkside + Ocean Avenue barbecue areas.

We also will be bringing on board an expanded “Fix-It” crew and volunteer services staff to help renew our lawn areas, repaint benches, fix broken fencing and give a deep clean to our rustic and historic structures.

Park Volunteer Opportunities 

Prospect Park Alliance has expanded its Volunteer Services staff to accommodate more volunteer opportunities in the park, including the return of our popular Green and Go Kit and It’s My Park Monday programs.

It’s My Park Mondays
Join us on Mondays for special It’s My Park Day community volunteer events, where groups and individuals can help us sustain the park during these challenging times.

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Green and Go Kits
Want to help keep the park clean and green? Register today to check out a Green and Go Kit, available weekends at various locations around the park. Kits include a trash grabber, garbage bags and gloves. You must be 18 years old to check out a kit, but children are welcome to accompany adults.

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Re:New Volunteer Corps
This spring, Prospect Park Alliance is launching a new volunteer opportunity to help us renew the park following the incredible wear and tear of the past year. The Re:New Volunteer Corps will meet weekly in the park and work on improvement projects from filling divots and reseeding holes in the park’s lawn areas, sweeping paths, and painting benches, railings and storage containers.

Register as a volunteer to receive an invitation to the Re:New Corps, which will launch in June.

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Help us to continue to sustain the park during these challenging times, while enjoying great benefits to enhance your enjoyment of the park.

Become a Prospect Park Alliance member today!

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About Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, in partnership with the City of New York. The Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the Park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home.

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Play + Go in Prospect Park

April 29, 2021

Join Prospect Park Alliance at pop-up locations around the park and surrounding neighborhoods as we bring our favorite activities from the Prospect Park Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House on the road in easy-to-borrow Play + Go Kits.

Visit our event calendar for dates and locations for this season!

Pick up to five (5) items and mix and match historic games and toys, or nature games and activities. While you are here, you can participate in our new Nature’s Helpers activities by lending a hand and participating in stewardship activities such as raking, litter patrol or mulching and afterwards, take a fun nature walk and explore the natural wonders of the park or search for the many historic elements that are scattered all around us.

The Pop-Up Lefferts Play + Go Kit features a fun assortment of historic games that include Quoits, Rolling Hoops, Game of Graces, Checkers, and Mancala. Take home games such as Nine-Man Morris, Igba-Ita Game of Chance, Lenape Dice Game or a DIY Scented Sachet Kit. Pop-Up Lefferts is supported in part by NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

The Pop-Up Audubon Play + Go Kits feature a range of fun nature activities and games, as well as a birdwatching checklist with binoculars, and much more. Families and children can enjoy nature on their own as they explore and learn more about the park. Pop-Up Audubon is made possible through the generous support of Con Edison.

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