c. Obed Obwoge

Elevating Black Queer Ancestors: An Inside Look

June 7, 2024

Celebrate Pride with Prospect Park Alliance at the Lefferts Historic House on Thursday, June 13, for Elevating Black Queer Ancestors: a meaningful history-packed evening presented through the Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts initiative. The event will be hosted by Lefferts Historic House ​​Public Programs Manager Riah Kinsey, who brings a colorful background and interest in Black queer history. Learn more about Riah’s work to delve into the histories of Black queer ancestors and get a sneak peak at the stories that will be shared at the event. 

RSVP for Elevating Black Queer Ancestors.

Riah Kinsey pictured outside of Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park

Riah Kinsey pictured outside of Lefferts Historic House in Prospect Park c. Obed Obwoge

Riah started their journey into the history field through a passion for recovering the stories of marginalized people. While issues of race, gender and sexuality always formed the core of their scholarship, it was not until he began to consider their own identity that the focus of their work truly began to shift to center on Black queer lives.

Their interest in Black queer history was sparked in their university studies of historical archaeology. When tasked with searching through documents in preparation for an upcoming excavation, Kinsey encountered a will that forbade the sale or hire of an enslaved woman by her enslaver’s widow, which ensured her freedom upon the widow’s death.

“I realized that if there are historical documents that speak to the intimate lives and experiences of even the most marginalized inhabitants of the property we were excavating, then there could be documents that do the same for my own ancestors. And if there is this kind of documentation for my biological ancestors, then what about my spiritual ancestors: the Black, queer people who came before me?” Kinsey recalls.

“I quickly found that there is a necessity to think outside the box, both about where to look for information and about how to interpret findings. This need for creativity isn’t due to a comparative lack of information, or even a lack of quality information, but because the current frameworks for research and analysis were never designed to tell our stories.”

This desire to think creatively when tracing Black people’s lives through history, even when there are dead-ends in records, is exactly what interested Kinsey in the Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts initiative, which seeks to explore the lives, resistance and resilience of the Indigenous people of Lenapehoking, whose unceded ancestral lands Prospect Park and Lefferts House rests upon, and the Africans enslaved by the Lefferts family. Kinsey is excited about instilling in others the range of careers, knowledge and meaning-making that are possible in the field of history, especially through events like Elevating Black Queer Ancestors

In preparation, Kinsey has pulled from a variety of uncommon archives in tracing key figures to highlight and honor. This includes Mary Jones, a Black, trans sex worker and pickpocket in antebellum New York. Mary is one of the first recorded gender non-conforming or transgender persons in America. Her life can be pieced together through newspapers, court records and contemporary tabloid literature, which documents countless arrests and incarcerations, many of which were a direct result of her refusal to present as a man. In one famous police interview, Mary was asked “How do you identify? Why do you dress like this? What is your background?” Kinsey explains that her answer was something along the lines of “I always dress like this amongst people of my own color,” which speaks to the experience of queer people of color finding community with each other at that time.

Pictured above is a source from Kinsey’s research on Mary. “The Man-Monster, Peter Sewally, alias Mary Jones &c&c. Sentenced 18th June 1836 to 5 years imprisonment at hard labor at Sing Sing for Grand Larceny. Published by H.R. Robinson.” Image courtesy The Smithsonian Institute. Despite its salacious title, the lithograph portrays Jones as an elegant Black woman.

“The Man-Monster, Peter Sewally, alias Mary Jones &c&c. Sentenced 18th June 1836 to 5 years imprisonment at hard labor at Sing Sing for Grand Larceny. Published by H.R. Robinson.” Image courtesy The Smithsonian Institute. Despite its salacious title, the lithograph portrays Jones as an elegant Black woman.

Many believe that Mary’s life story ends with her infamous 1836 incarceration for pickpocketing. Kinsey however dug deeper to find she was arrested an additional 12 times, and often imprisoned further following these arrests. While extremely tragic for Mary, each arrest created some form of documentation that helps to fill in the gaps of her extraordinary life. 

These findings led Kinsey to ask the question, “Can we use the same methods of research as we did with Mary Jones to learn more about other queer Black people?” Utilizing free-to-use digital archives such as Internet Archive, HathiTrust, and Fulton History, Kinsey used their research experience with Jones to search keywords like effeminate, masculine, dressed in womens clothes, or masquerading as a man, and was amazed at how much there was to find. Through Elevating Queer Ancestors, he hopes to show that there is much, often buried, information to be sifted through to find the beginning threads of many Black queer ancestors’ stories in New York and throughout the world. 

“Whether it’s talking about Mary Jones or uplifting the untold stories of the indigenous Lenape people or the Africans enslaved here in Flatbush, all of the work within the ReImagine Lefferts initiative points back to the question of which stories have been historically neglected and why, and how can we tell them now?” shares Kinsey. “While the work done through the initiative uncovers the names of people enslaved by the Lefferts family, the fact of the matter is that the records were always there, they just needed someone to look for them and interpret them appropriately. The same is true of the as-yet-unknown Black queer residents of early New York.”

Kinsey and the team at ReImagine Lefferts understand that many make the detrimental assumption that records on the histories of Black life and especially Black queer life do not exist. “This is just blatantly untrue. Though many historical archives have been designed to hide or silence a person’s or a group of people’s existence, there are always ways to look deeper and to expand and contextualize stories–which is exactly what the ReImagine Lefferts Initiative aims to do,” reflects Kinsey.

“The dire importance of championing research and building access to marginalized histories is incredibly clear, especially now. When people can see themselves in history, especially young people, that can help expand their hopes and dreams of what is possible in the world,” explained Kinsey, on their goals to develop regular programming on genealogy and historical research. 

It is important to reflect on how far New York and our society have come in striving to secure equality, but also how marginalized people have always worked within our own communities to uplift and support each other, regardless of the oppressive forces at play. “Initiatives like ReImagine Lefferts do just this and more, encouraging us towards a better future for everyone – Black, trans and queer people included.”

RSVP for Elevating Black Queer Ancestors on Thursday, June 13, and learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s ReImagine Lefferts Initiative.

The Public Theater in Prospect Park

Join Prospect Park Alliance and The Public Theater for a Musical Adaptation of Mobile Unit’s The Comedy of Errors in English and Spanish on June 27, 28 and 29! Plus, on June 29, enjoy music, food trucks and lawn games followed by a free outdoor screening of a live recording of The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing once the sun starts to set.

The Public Theater: The Comedy of Errors
June 27 + 28, 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Prospect Park Peninsula, Free, RSVP


Join Prospect Park Alliance and The Public Theater for The Mobile Unit’s Bilingual Musical Adaptation of The Comedy of Errors in English and Spanish! The Comedy of Errors adaptation embraces contemporary music styles from Latin America in a tale of separation and reunion. Featuring live actor-musicians, this modern musical adaptation brings a vibrant energy to an age-old tale of two sets of twins separated by stormy seas as they overcome a baffling case of mistaken identity—and the mayhem and hilarious confusion that follows.

Concebida por la directora Rebecca Martínez y el compositor Julián Mesri, la adaptación de LA COMEDIA DE LOS ERRORES (THE COMEDY OF ERRORS) adopta estilos musicales contemporáneos de Latinoamérica en una historia de separación y reencuentro. Con actores y músicos en vivo, esta adaptación musical moderna aporta una energía vibrante a una historia antigua de dos pares de gemelos separados por mares tormentosos mientras superan un desconcertante caso de identidad equivocada, y el caos y la hilarante confusión que eso conlleva.

The Public Theater: The Comedy of Errors + Much Ado About Nothing Movie Screening
June 29, 5:30 – 7:00 pm The Comedy of Errors Performance
June 29, Approximately 8:30 – 10:45 pm Movie Screening: Much Ado About Nothing
Prospect Park Peninsula, Free, RSVP


Join Prospect Park Alliance and The Public Theater for The Mobile Unit’s Bilingual Musical Adaptation of The Comedy of Errors in English and Spanish at 4:30 pm and enjoy contemporary music styles from Latin America in a tale of separation and reunion. Plus, enjoy music, food trucks and lawn games followed by a free outdoor screening of a live recording of The Public’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Much Ado About Nothing once the sun starts to set.

Free Health + Wellness Events in Brooklyn’s Backyard

May 23, 2024

Did you know that spending just 30 minutes in nature a day can decrease stress, lessen feelings of loneliness, lower blood pressure and promote wellbeing?

Whether admiring the trees from a park bench, enjoying a woodland stroll, yoga class or a high-intensity interval training session, there are countless ways that spending time in nature can help sustain your health.

If an Rx for Nature is just what the doctor ordered, join us for a range of health and wellness classes to make the most of your time in Prospect Park and be your healthiest self all summer long!

View our events below, and for more information visit prospectpark.org/wellness.

Prospect Park Yoga
Thursdays, May 30–August 29, 7–8 pm
Long Meadow North (Enter at Third Street or Grand Army Plaza)

Learn More + RSVP
Brooklyn’s most beloved outdoor yoga series is back in Prospect Park! Brooklyn Flow, Prospect Park Alliance and NewYork-Presbyterian present free, outdoor yoga on the Long Meadow. Brooklyn’s finest yoga teachers from different studios around the park lead free, outdoor group yoga classes in a low-pressure, beautiful environment. Join hundreds of Brooklynites each week to celebrate yoga and wellness in our treasured Prospect Park. Bring your own mat or towel, a bottle of water and friends. All levels are welcome. Please sign the waiver prior to your first class.

Free Fitness Walks in Prospect Park for Adults Ages 60+
Tuesdays, June 4–June 25, 10–11 am
Locations Vary

Learn More + RSVP
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Heights + Hills for free fitness group walks in Prospect Park for adults ages 60 and over. Explore the park while discussing the importance of exercise and movement, particularly for people experiencing arthritis. Participants will receive guidance on developing their own personal walking and exercise programs. Walks will be on the park’s paved walkways at a slow to moderate pace.

AMP’d Interval Training with Chelsea Piers Fitness 
Tuesdays, June 11–July 30, 6–7 pm
Prospect Park Long Meadow (enter at Third Street or Grand Army Plaza)

Learn More + RSVP
Join Chelsea Piers Fitness and Prospect Park Alliance to hit the grass and push your body to new limits in this high-intensity interval training class that combines bodyweight strength and cardio on the Prospect Park Long Meadow. You will move through a range of movements from running and jumping to lunges and crunches to keep you motivated and energized. All levels are welcome.

Energy Healing and Meditation Workshop
Mondays, June 10, 17, 24, July 15, 22 and Tuesday, July 23, 8:30–9 am
10th Avenue Lawn

Learn More + RSVP
Join Tell Every Amazing Lady® and Prospect Park Alliance for a free 30-minute guided meditation moderated by Jane Weedon MSPT, MFA, of Integrated Physical Therapy and Healing Arts, to help you relax and focus on your wellness before kicking off your day!

Prospect Park Wellness Walks 
Fridays through June 28, 10 am–12 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center

Learn More + RSVP
Join Prospect Park Alliance at the Prospect Park Audubon Center for an uplifting and energizing morning walk along the scenic trails of the Lullwater, Peninsula, Midwood and park waterfalls.

Prospect Park Stroller Walks 
Thursdays through June 27, 10 am–12 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center

Learn More + RSVP
Calling all parents and caregivers with children! Join Prospect Park Alliance naturalists for a leisurely stroll along Prospect Park’s waterways. Embrace the sound of streams and songs of birds; enjoy fragrant flowers and explore the towering trees of Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Movie Nights in Prospect Park Return for 2024

May 14, 2024

Spend your summer nights in Prospect Park with Paramount+ Movie Nights in Brooklyn, the free, outdoor movie series presented by Paramount+, Brooklyn Magazine, and BSE Global in partnership with Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso and Prospect Park Alliance.

“It’s not summer in Brooklyn without movies in the park,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Outdoor movie nights in Brooklyn are a beloved tradition that only gets better each year. I’m especially thrilled that 2024 is bringing free movies all the way to Coney Island Beach. A major thank you to Brooklyn Magazine, Paramount+, and BSE Global, as well as Prospect Park Alliance, Fort Greene Park Conservancy, McCarren Park, and Alliance for Coney Island for ensuring this summer staple only gets sweeter with time.”Paramount+ Movie Nights in Brooklyn will kick off on June 7 in McCarren Park and continue with weekly free film screenings across the four locations throughout the summer.

“We are thankful to Borough President Reynoso for continuing this long-cherished tradition of bringing our community together for free movie nights under the stars in Brooklyn’s backyard, and to Paramount+ and Brooklyn Magazine for their support of this beloved series,” said Morgan Monaco, President of Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park.

Prospect Park Movie Lineup:

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Wednesday, June 26
In 1936, archaeologist and adventurer Indiana Jones is hired by the U.S. government to find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis can obtain its awesome powers.
RSVP

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Wednesday, July 3
Video game adventurer Lara Croft comes to life in a movie where she races against time and villains to recover powerful ancient artifacts.
RSVP

School of Rock
Wednesday, July 10
After being kicked out of his rock band, Dewey Finn becomes a substitute teacher of an uptight elementary private school, only to try and turn his class into a rock band.
RSVP

Clueless
Wednesday, July 17
Shallow, rich and socially successful Cher is at the top of her Beverly Hills high school’s pecking scale. Seeing herself as a matchmaker, Cher first coaxes two teachers into dating each other.
RSVP

This event series is free and open to the public, and RSVPs are not required for entry.

The films will begin shortly after sundown at the north end of the Prospect Park Long Meadow, located nearest to the Grand Army Plaza entrance and Third Street  Entrance.

Please enter the park at the Third Street or Grand Army Plaza Entrance and note that a portion of the Garfield pathway and the Meadowport pathway between the Park Drive and Long Meadow are closed for path restoration. Please note that the movie may be cancelled in the case of inclement weather.

Caribpolitan, Andrea Pippins for I AM CARIBBEING

Celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month in Prospect Park

May 13, 2024

This June, Celebrate Caribbean-American Heritage Month in Prospect Park! Join Prospect Park Alliance with I AM caribBEING, JOUVAYFEST COLLECTIVE, BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project, Braata Productions, Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzales and more to kick off a month of celebration in Brooklyn’s Backyard. Enjoy Caribbean music, dance, cuisine and much more during this cultural celebration for Brooklynites of all ages.

Caribbean American Heritage Month Celebration
Wednesday, June 5, 6 pm–9 pm
Prospect Park Boathouse, Free, RSVP Today!
Join Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzales and Prospect Park Alliance for a Caribbean American Heritage Month celebration! Enjoy music, food and community at this celebration.

One Love Little Caribbean Day
Sunday, June 23, 11 am–7 pm
Prospect Park Boathouse, Free, RSVP Today!
Spread Love, the Brooklyn Way with I AM CARIBBEING and Prospect Park Alliance. Pull up with your friends, family and neighbors for a day filled with Caribbean Culture + Community + Commerce. From a Carnival workshop led by Fiona Compton of Know Your Caribbean, to a dance class by Soca & Sweat to authentic Caribbean cuisine, music and more, One Love Fest is a unique way to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Little Caribbean NYC.

Arrive early to shop at I AM CARIBBEING’s curated marketplace presented in partnership with Black Wall Street. Explore unique crafts + goods from artisan vendors while vibing to DJ sets & delicious West Indian cuisine.  

The Legacy of the Chicaba a.k.a. Moko Jumbie!
Sunday, June 23, 2–5 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free, RSVP Today!
Join Prospect Park Alliance, JouvayFest Collective, BUSH WO/MAN Conversations Project and 2J & Friends for The Legacy of the Chicaba a.k.a. Moko Jumbie! Traditional Character’s workshop at Lefferts Historic House. Learn about the significance of these legendary African masquerade characters and how they have circulated through the diaspora across the Caribbean and other Carnival cultures around the world.

Caribites
Sunday, June 30, 1:30–4:30
Boathouse, Free, RSVP Today!
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Braata Productions for Caribites — a Caribbean culinary paradise! Enjoy a flavorful journey of food, music, and summer bliss. Close your eyes and transport yourself to the idyllic shores of your favorite Caribbean island. Can you smell it? Can you taste it? Immerse yourself in Caribbean culinary delights and entertainment that will make this summer truly unforgettable with the finest selection of Caribbean eats from Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Haiti & Dominican Republic and exciting activities for kids. Plus, dance to the pulsating beats spun by talented DJs from those very islands, and be captivated by live performances that showcase the richness of Caribbean culture. Join us reveling in a day filled with joy, laughter and delicious food.

 

c. BRIC

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Announces 2024 Lineup

May 8, 2024

Summer is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get ready for a season of music, dance and more at the Lena Horne Bandshell! The 2024 BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, kicks off on Saturday, June 8 for a season of  free shows, benefit concerts, dance performances, film screenings,  and more. The festival, presented in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks, is back for its 46th annual season of bringing communities together for summer fun in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is known for its distinct curatorial mix that elevates emerging artists, popular indie talent and showcases legacy artists from all genres and subgenres. This season, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is paying homage to the borough’s rich cultural tapestry with the theme “Raised by Brooklyn.” The theme is a tribute to the role Brooklyn has played in shaping the lives and trajectories of global cultural icons, public servants, artists, community activists, and business leaders born – and the role of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! in shaping the Brooklyn cultural landscape. By centering “Raised by Brooklyn,” the festival celebrates the contributions of Brooklynites while providing a platform to inspire the next generation of changemakers and creatives, affirming its commitment to uplifting the diverse voices and experiences that make this community so vibrant.

Morgan Monaco, Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator, said, “BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Lena Horne Bandshell in Prospect Park is a beloved flagship event, and a clear sign of summer for our community. Music and performing arts help keep us thriving in good times and in bad, and I’m grateful that the park is a place of inspiration for artists of all kinds. The festival has brought a wide range of free music, performances and family programming to Brooklyn’s Backyard and we look forward to coming together for an exciting season ahead with the many diverse communities of Brooklyn.”

Executive Director of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!, Saidah Blount, stated, “ I am absolutely thrilled to share this vibrant and diverse festival lineup that embraces our ‘Raised By Brooklyn’ theme. This season’s array of musical genres and cultural moments represents the best of this vibrant borough! Across 10 weeks, you’ll hear music from the Caribbean diaspora, global rock and dance beats, as well as hometown heroes presenting orchestral works, powerful dance performances, and one of the most acclaimed films ever from a Brooklyn-born director. I’m hoping that everyone who comes out to the Lena Horne Bandshell this summer has the opportunity to see a bit of “their Brooklyn” in this dynamic lineup.”

Wes Jackson, President of BRIC Arts & Media, said, “We are so proud to be back at the Lena Horne Bandshell at Prospect Park for our 46th season. BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! is one of the many things that have made Brooklyn one of the cultural capitals of the world. Together with the Prospect Park Alliance and the Parks Department, we have given a stage to the world’s best and brightest for more than a generation. With this year’s theme of ‘Raised By Brooklyn’ we pay homage to artists and our community who not only have Brooklyn as their home but as their muse. Whether you are from NYC or not, we are proud of a lineup that represents us all in all of our beauty.”

Tickets are available for many of this season’s benefit shows, and the majority of the festival’s performances are free to the public. For more information, check out our BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! page, and for the full line-up, scroll down!

Saturday, June 8, Family Day: The Halluci Nation | Xiuhtezcatl | Asase Yaa Youth Ensemble

Saturday, June 15, Benefit Concert: Michael Brun Presents BAYO

Wednesday, June 19, 2024 Juneteenth UNITYFEST

Friday, June 21, Ana Tijoux | Ambar Lucid

Saturday, June 22, NPR Tiny Desk Contest On The Road – Thee Sacred Souls | Adi Oasis

Saturday, June 29, Fishbone | Son Rompe Pera

Saturday, July 6, Film Night: Do the Right Thing 

Friday, July 12, Travels Over Feeling: Celebrating Arthur Russell

Saturday, July 13, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 | Lollise | Rich Medina | IAM LOVE

Friday, July 19, Richie Ray | Meridian Brothers | Madame Vacile

Saturday, July 20, Habibi Festival

Friday, July 26, Ronald K. Brown / EVIDENCE

Saturday, July 27, Watchhouse | Black Belt Eagle Scout

Friday, August 2, Meshell Ndegeocello – No More Water: The Gospel of James Baldwin | Talibah Safiya

Friday, August 9, Jesse Royal | Anant Pradhan & Larry McDonald | Ayanna Heaven

Saturday, August 10, Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul | Sinkane | Ushka

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Celebrate Earth Week in Prospect Park

April 15, 2024

Earth Week is just around the corner! Prospect Park Alliance has several ways to get involved in caring for Brooklyn’s Backyard—home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, only lake and hundreds of species of plants and animals. Celebrate your planet this upcoming Earth Day.

Earth Day Celebration at the Boathouse
Sunday, April 28
RSVP Today
12 pm — 2 pm Nature Education Activities – Take part in family-friendly nature activities at the Boathouse on Sunday, April 28. Enjoy fun-filled seasonal discovery stations, create your own paper seed pot, and join a nature walk while tackling litter along the way to help your park shine and celebrate our earth.

2 – 3 pm The Arrival – Join Prospect Park Alliance for The Arrival, a dramatized mythical production about how water came to Earth by Something Positive, a New York City based performing arts and education organization dedicated to preserving the art and culture of the African Diaspora and its cross-cultural influences.

 

Volunteer in Prospect Park
Select Dates, Locations Vary
Join an upcoming volunteer opportunity to help care for your park while making the most of Brooklyn’s Backyard during the bustling and vibrant spring season.

 

Be a Park Champion by staying on designated paths, disposing of litter properly, leashing dogs outside of designated hours and areas, and treating flowers, plants and trees with the love they deserve.

c. Grace Jeon / Smorgasburg

Smorgasburg Announces New 2024 Vendors

March 28, 2024

Everyone’s favorite outdoor food market is back in Prospect Park! Kicking off its 14th season on Sunday April 7, Smorgasburg Prospect Park is back on Breeze Hill every Sunday through October. Presented in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance, this year’s Smorgasburg Prospect Park features over 60 new and returning vendors ranging from first-generation, immigrant-owned businesses and family-operated eateries to market debuts and long-time NYC-established and loved spots.

We hope you have worked up an appetite this winter because highlights include fragrant Ethiopian stews with fresh 100% teff-flour injera from Emeye Ethiopian cuisine, Hawaii-style street comforts like octopus poke tacos and garlic soy chicken sandos by Mama Guava at Kalihi, Jamaican favorites from Tosh’s Patties complete with top ingredients, Lisbonata’s Portuguese custard tarts, pastéis de nata, and so much more. This year’s Smorgasburg season opens with a remarkable breadth and depth of new vendors. The full, mouth-watering lineup of new vendors coming to Prospect Park is below:

Double(s) or Nothin’ Flatbush born-and-raised registered nurse turned chef Renee Davis emphasizes the iconic street food’s “importance within the Trinidadian cuisine panel.” Doubles, or curried chickpeas between barra, gets dressed up with curry goat, shrimp curry, callaloo and more. The business name not only plays on this iconic food, but nods to Davis’s mother’s resilience and commitment making a way for her family in New York as a first-generation immigrant.

Emeye Ethiopian Cuisine Meaning “mother” in Amharic, Emeye serves traditional dishes like meser wet (red lentils with the spice blend berbere) and sega wet (slow cooked beef with berbere and caramelized onions), all served with fresh, 100% teff–flour injera, the fermented flatbread that chef Ferehiwot Sheffield describes as “the backbone of Ethiopian food.” After years of working in other Ethiopian spots, she launched Emeye to introduce a wider audience to the beauty of Ethiopian food and culture—and of perfect injera.

Je T’aime Patisserie French pastry with self-described “Black girl spin,” Jatee Kearsley’s Je T’aime Patisserie is “made from love, made in love, and made to extend love to our community” in Bed Stuy. A self-taught baker known for her neighborhood bake sales as a teenager in Queens, Kearsley brings classic viennoiserie to the people plus weekend specials like a churro-inspired croissant filled with spicy chocolate or a matcha croissant, each layer laminated with matcha butter, stuffed with pineapple cream.

Kalihi Monique Cadavona aka Mama Guava aims to share “real Hawaii food” with New York: food influenced by a range of Asian, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian ingredients and techniques, interpreted through her private events and catering business, Guava Story, and now her new street food offshoot, Kalihi. Flavors of Cadavona’s Hawaii are showcased at Kalihi through dishes like octopus poke tacos and garlic soy chicken sandos piled with cucumber kimchi and mac salad.

Perro Slang Food Upending the New York street dog conventions, Perro Slang Food’s Colombian-style hot dogs feature melted cheese on each one plus lots of fixings and homemade sauces “that give our ‘perros’ a tasty and comfy touch.” Come for the perros, stay for the corn skillet: corn kernels, chicken, bacon and mushrooms, smothered in cheese and served with garlic bread.

Lisbonata Founded by George Kaya, a trained pastry chef with roots in Turkey most recently living in Poland, Lisbonata launched last year centered on a single item, pastéis de nata: Portugal’s signature sweet, flaky pastry with a custardy middle and leopard-spotted top. Lisbonata’s modern take emphasizes its all-butter crust and unorthodox flavors like pistachio cream and raspberry.

Poutine Dauphine A new concept from Antony Nassif, the shawarma mastermind behind Smorg-stand-turned-brick-and-mortar East Village runaway hit Hen House; inspired by the chef’s Montreal roots, this “fun and playful” poutine concept lays potato puffs (pomme dauphine) as the poutine foundation instead of fries.Toppings include classic cheese curds and gravy, Montreal smoked meat, even truffle and foie.

Twig’m Husband-and-wife duo draw on the Korean street food niche of “gangjung”. Try plump bites of chicken in spicy-sweet and soy-garlic glazes, mixed with chewy rice cakes; a glossy green pumpkin seed brittle; and yakgwa, a honeyed flower-shaped cookie recently repopularized in Korean pop culture. After years of working in the New York restaurant industry, this is chef Sean Lee’s first independent venture, alongside his life and business partner Jenny Yeo.

Tosh’s Patties Julian Tosh Chareton’s “high-quality hand-crafted Jamaican patties” are not your ordinary bodega patties. Seeing a gap in the market for a well-made option with good ingredients—as well as the general love of flaky, juicy, stuffed-dough foods among eaters—Chareton turned to his Jamaican heritage and lifelong “obsession with Jamaican foods, especially patties” as a response.

Virginia Smashburginia A passion project from restaurant chef turned recipe developer Tyler Thrift, Virginia Smashburginia—say that three times fast—is “inspired by the comfort of back porch gatherings and family cookouts,” drawing from Thrift’s Virginia upbringing and coast-to-coast smashburger research. Burgers on the menu reference everything from his hometown joint, Ettrick Deli, to more recent favorites from LA travels, all built around his custom beef blend, available as singles, doubles and even triples, with thinly sliced grilled onions pressed right into the meat, and a tangy “Thrifty” special sauce.

Wings by Chef Picky Osei “Chef Picky” Blackett is known for many things: Traveling the world espousing his “Everything Oxtail” platform (a hit Smorgasburg stand out the gate last season with oxtail empanadas, tacos and more); co-organizing community-centered events like the diasporic celebration Come For Curry; running his Flatbush Trinbagonian restaurant and rum shop, Ariapita. Wings by Chef Picky offers an array of turkey legs and duck and chicken wings featuring sauces inspired by the history of Asian influence in the Caribbean.

Learn more about Smorgasburg and plan your visit.

New Art Installation at the Bandshell

November 14, 2023

Prospect Park Alliance and BRIC, a leading contemporary, multi-disciplinary arts and media institution anchored in downtown Brooklyn, in partnership with NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program present a mural by Kevin Claiborne, Lost Boys, at the Lena Horne Bandshell at Prospect Park. This is the fourth annual public art collaboration between BRIC and the Alliance at the Bandshell, and the piece will be on view through April 21, 2024. Claiborne, a conceptual photographer, engages viewers in critical self-reflection and collective examination of the Black experience. With Lost Boys, Claiborne challenges established notions of cultural legibility and encourages viewers to delve deeper into the origins, embodiment, and sufficiency of Blackness, including its impact on mental health.

Where can Blackness reach

Was Blackness first

Can Blackness be worn

Where is Black enough

What is Black enough

When is Black enough

The above text is superimposed upon the repeated face of an unidentified Black male youth, sourced from a photograph captured in Harlem, New York during the early 1900s. The repeated image of the unidentified young boy carries a symbolic weight, representing not only the individual but also a broader collective experience.

Painted in vibrant shades of blue and black, the boy’s direct gaze confronts the viewer while the repeated patterning and overlay of text pushes and pulls the colorful faces between differing levels of visibility.

The mural’s artist, Kevin Claiborne, said “I’m very grateful for BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance giving me the opportunity to share my artwork with the Brooklyn community and I hope people enjoy engaging with the statements and questions posed in the work. The installation of Lost Boys at the Lena Horne Bandshell is perfect as it creates an accessible bridge between art, history, and community engagement. The poignant questions in the work serve as an invitation for introspection and also honor Horne’s legacy by fostering dialogue and reflection on themes crucial to her life’s work, including Black empowerment, identity, and inclusivity. The artwork activated by the stage and community, amplifies the park’s role beyond mere leisure, transforming it into a space for communal exchange and connection.”

Jenny Gerow, Chief Curator, Director of Contemporary Art at BRIC, said “Kevin Claiborne’s urgent message of mental health, writ large in a natural space such as Prospect Park, illustrates that not only are these topics not often addressed, but that the space in which they are delivered is taken for granted. We are excited to be partnering with Prospect Park Alliance and the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program for a fourth year to engage with this beautiful public space in the presentation of Kevin Claiborne’s artwork. ”

Morgan Monaco, President of Prospect Park Alliance, said “We are honored to be working with BRIC, the NYC Parks Art in the Parks program and artist Kevin Claiborne to welcome Lost Boys to Prospect Park. This work beautifully surfaces many of the internal monologues that generations of BIPOC people have struggled to answer for themselves as individuals and for entire communities. I look forward to park visitors engaging with the work, as we endeavor to create spaces within the park for reflection on social justice issues as well as healing. Given the prominent location of the Lena Horne Bandshell and the connection to a long history of performing art, I hope it will help people feel seen and also spark inspiration to find moments of joy.”

The mural at Lena Horne Bandshell is part of BRIC Hip-Hop, the new, permanent home for Hip-Hop education, expression, and its evolution at BRIC. BRIC’s fall programming encompasses multiple aspects of Hip-Hop culture including visual art, fashion, film, advocacy, and more. BRIC’s Hip-Hop 50 curation underscores their commitment to showcasing and institutionalizing Hip-Hop culture and preserving community connection.

c. Martin Seck

Halloween Fun in Prospect Park

October 16, 2023

Prospect Park Alliance is gearing up for Halloween fun in Brooklyn’s Backyard with Creepy Crawly Halloween at the Audubon Center, Haunted Carousel at the beloved Children’s Corner in Prospect Park and the final weekend of J’ouvert Genesis Immersive Experience at the Lefferts Historic House! Don’t miss these fun filled festive events.

Halloween Fest at Lakeside
Sunday, October 22, 11 – 2 pm + 2:30 – 5:30 pm
LeFrak Center at Lakeside, $22
Celebrate Halloween with spooky festivities at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside! Enjoy roller skating, bumper cars, a game zone, arts and crafts, and cookie decorating. Families can skate in costume and enjoy a festive goody bag with halloween treats.

Creepy Crawly Halloween
Saturday, October 28, 11 am-4 pm
Prospect Park Audubon Center, Free 
Join Prospect Park Alliance at the Audubon Center for a special Halloween celebration. Take a second look at the creatures that give you the creeps, you may find you like them! Participate in fun activities and experiments that will make your spine tingle!

Nature Chef’s Surprise, 1 – 3 pm
Our nature chef has some tasty treats for you to try that are delicious, nutritious, and crunchy!  Take a nibble and earn a special certificate and boasting button.  Learn how this mystery treat is a sustainable alternative protein source that has nutritional benefits.

Discovery Boxes, 12 – 3 pm
What’s inside?  Put your hand in and find out with a fun sensory activity with just the right amount of scary!

Creepy Crawly Walk, 3-4 pm
Participants will search for Prospect Park’s creepy residents and explore hidden areas of the park.

Haunted Carousel
Saturday, October 28 + Sunday, October 29, 124 pm
Prospect Park Carousel

Children’s Corner, $3 per ride; $13 for a book of 5 tickets; Free with Prospect Park Alliance Family Supporter membership or higher.
Don’t be scared when you see the haunted carousel! Take a spin on the spooky ride to your favorite Halloween jams at the beloved Prospect Park Carousel.
Join the Alliance at the Family Supporter  level and your family (up to 4 people) will receive unlimited rides on the Carousel for a full year!

Spookysburg Trick or Eat Extravaganza
Sunday, October 29, 12 — 6 pm
Breeze Hill, Prices Vary
Smorgasburg turns into Spookysburg, a family-friendly fall fest marking the last day of the season, and here’s what we’ve got lined up! Festivities include a Halloween Hunt and Prize BOO-nanza, a pet costume contest, KidZone nad much more!

J’ouvert Genesis Immersive Experience
Saturdays + Sundays in October, 12 – 4 pm
Lefferts Historic House, Free
While it’s not halloween-themed, the vibrant costumes of J’ouvert Genesis Immersive experience are not to be missed this October! Join Prospect Park Alliance, JouvayFest Collective and City Lore for the J’ouvert Genesis Immersive Experience — an exploration of the rich and colorful history of J’ouvert in Trinidad & Tobago and its important role in Brooklyn today through life-sized traditional J’ouvert character costumes, signature percussive instruments, large-format photography, virtual reality and more. The exhibit closes Sunday, November 19 – don’t miss it!

Prospect Park Murder Mystery Audio Tour
Gesso App, Free
Enjoy a thrilling murder mystery audio-tour, set in Prospect Park. When a key player goes missing at the marriage ceremony of the summer, reluctant wedding columnist Bobbi Rossetti transforms into an ad hoc investigative reporter on the case. Follow Bobbi through a fictional version of 1920s Prospect Park as she decodes the clues and uncovers a stunning secret in this immersive audio mystery. All you need are headphones and the Gesso mobile app to get started!