2022 Winter Checklist

December 30, 2021

As we enter the new year, Prospect Park Alliance encourages you to look ahead to the fun that the new year has in store! From sledding, skating, winter walks and more, we’ve put together 5 perfectly-park activities for you to check off your list in the new year. Take a look and we’ll see you in the park.

Make the Most of Your Holiday Tree
Join Prospect Park Alliance on January 8 + 9 for Mulchfest! Bring your holiday tree to Prospect Park, where it will go through a chipper and transform into environment-friendly mulch. Plus, you can take some home for your own yard or garden. Learn more about this beloved tradition—including how to volunteer. 

Get Out on the Ice
Enjoy a beloved winter tradition in Prospect Park—head down to the rinks at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside for hours of fun. There’s room for all ages and abilities, and make sure to warm up and refuel with hot chocolate at the Bluestone Café. Plus, the rinks aren’t just for ice skating—sign up for a hockey league, and even plan a birthday party at this popular recreational destination. Lakeside is open everyday in-season!

Try a Winter Walk or Run
Looking forward to enjoying Prospect Park’s natural spaces during this beautiful time of year? We can help with that! We’ve put together a suggested Winter Walk in Prospect Park to help you explore Lookout Hill. If running is your preferred speed, don’t miss our Cold Weather Running Tips that will help you make the most of a workout at this time of year.

Get Ready to Sled!
Both through nature and by design, Prospect Park’s landscape is dotted with rolling hills, which makes it prime territory for winter sledding. When conditions are right, make sure to stop by the top sledding destinations in Brooklyn’s Backyard. Get there early, you’ll be competing with all of Brooklyn for a spot on the slopes!

Game, Set, Match
Planning on making a New Year’s resolution to take up a new hobby? The Prospect Park Tennis Center is the perfect place to try something new. Play under the bubble on the facility’s indoor courts all winter long and improve your tennis—whether you’re a beginner or just hoping to take your game to the next level.

Virtual Tour: Spring Planting at Lakeside

May 7, 2021

Take a virtual walk through LeFrak Center at Lakeside with Turnstile Tours and Corbin Laedlein, the Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener for Prospect Park Alliance. Learn how Corbin and his fellow Lakeside gardeners curate Lakeside’s plant mix for ecological, aesthetic, and habitat purposes, and visit the green roof atop the Lakeside skating rink.

Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance is sustaining the environment.

 

c. Andrew Gardner

2020 Winter Checklist

December 17, 2019

As we approach 2020, Prospect Park Alliance encourages you to look ahead to the fun that the new year has in store! From fireworks to sledding, winter walks and curling, we’ve put together 7 perfectly-park activities for you to check off your list in the new year. Take a look and we’ll see you in the park. 

Kick of the New Year with Fireworks!
Join Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Prospect Park Alliance for Brooklyn’s most spectacular New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration at Prospect Park’s iconic Grand Army Plaza. This free event includes live entertainment followed by fireworks at the stroke of midnight. This family-friendly fireworks display, now in its 40th year, attracts tens of thousands of revelers to Prospect Park, making it one of the city’s most popular celebrations. This event is free and open to the public, and will take place rain or shine. RSVP to let us know that you are coming!
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Make the Most of Your Holiday Tree
Join Prospect Park Alliance on January 4 + 11 for Mulchfest! Bring your holiday tree to Prospect Park, where it will go through a chipper and transform into environment-friendly mulch at both 3rd Street and Park Circle Entrances. Plus, you can take some home for your own yard or garden. Learn more about this beloved tradition—including how to volunteer. 
 

Get Out on the Ice
Enjoy a beloved winter tradition in Prospect Park—head down to the rinks at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside for hours of fun. There’s room for all ages and abilities, and make sure to warm up and refuel with hot chocolate at the Bluestone Café. Plus, the rinks aren’t just for ice skating—sign up for a curling lesson, hockey league, and even plan a birthday party at this popular recreational destination. Lakeside is open everyday in-season, including New Years day!
 

Try a Winter Walk or Run
Looking forward to enjoying Prospect Park’s natural spaces during this beautiful time of year? We can help with that! We’ve put together a suggested Winter Walk in Prospect Park to help you explore Lookout Hill. If running is your preferred speed, don’t miss our Cold Weather Running Tips that will help you make the most of a workout at this time of year. 
 

Get Ready to Sled!
Both through nature and by design, Prospect Park’s landscape is dotted with rolling hills, which makes it prime territory for winter sledding. When conditions are right, make sure to stop by the top sledding destinations in Brooklyn’s Backyard. Get there early, you’ll be competing with all of Brooklyn for a spot on the slopes!
 

Game, Set, Match
Planning on making a New Year’s resolution to get in shape? The Prospect Park Tennis Center is the perfect place to meet your goals while enjoying this fun activity. Play under the bubble on the facility’s indoor courts all winter long and improve your tennis—whether you’re a beginner or just hoping to take your game to the next level. 

Martin Seck

Ready to Skate!

November 19, 2019

The winter ice-skating season at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park will begin Wednesday, November 20, 2019, with open skating hours the entire family will enjoy.

The LeFrak Center at Lakeside is Brooklyn’s premier ice skating destination. The center welcomes the public for ice skating as well as lessons and leagues in a range of winter ice activities, from figure skating to hockey and curling. 

This season, Lakeside is updating its fleet of ice skates with brand-new skates for rent, which will roll out in the coming weeks. In addition, world-renowned Olympic figure-skating athletes Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov have been appointed as Directors of Sports Programs for Lakeside’s growing Skate School.

Gregory and Petukhov represented the United States in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy, and claimed six consecutive U.S. National Championships medals. They won the United States Olympic Committee “Rings of Gold” award for innovative sports programming and youth development, and continue to represent the United States Olympic ideals. Along with Hockey Director Greg Vaslet, the team will further strengthen Lakeside’s commitment to the community by providing exceptional coaching and expanded learn to skate programs. 

Learn-to-Skate and Learn-to-Play-Hockey classes will kick off the week of December 2, 2019. Interim booster classes for all ages will be available the weekends of November 23/24 and November 30/December 1 at 9 am for hockey, and 10:30 am for skating. To register, please contact skate@lakesidebrooklyn.com.

The LeFrak Center at Lakeside is a year-round recreational destination created by Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks, and operated by Upsilon Ventures, featuring ice skating and related sports in the winter months and biking, boating, roller skating and water play in the spring through fall. This 26-acre destination also includes a cafe and beautifully landscaped terraces and an esplanade to enjoy all four seasons. Lakeside opened to the public in 2013, and is the most ambitious project in the history of the park since its creation in 1867. It serves more than 250,000 people each year.

Visit our Lakeside page for hours, admission and additional information.

c. Prospect Park Alliance

The Park’s New Rustic Pergola

April 22, 2019

Prospect Park Alliance’s Lakeside gardeners made the most of the mild winter this year. While they waited for the busy warmer season, they built a new destination, much to the delight of park visitors. The new rustic pergola, built by LJ Philp, Lakeside Lead Gardener; Allison Loux, Lakeside Assistant Gardener; and Melissa Finley, Lakeside Assistant Gardener, is located off the Park Drive, just north of the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.

“A common problem in the park is desire lines,” says Philp, referring to the improvised and unintended paths made by park visitors. “We had a very noticeable one at Lakeside, so we decided instead of putting up another fence to keep people from walking through the planting, why not create an inviting destination for people to walk through and sit under.”

Much of the unmilled, untreated wood sourced for the pergola came from downed park trees. In the coming months, additional decoration will come in the form of native plantings, including American wisteria that will grow over the structure. “I’m proud of our work and very happy to have had the opportunity to expand my carpentry skills,” says Finley, “the pergola is an aesthetically pleasing and useful addition to the Lakeside landscape, which is as naturalistic as possible.”

This new pergola carries on a tradition of rustic landscape features that date back to 18th century. Rustic work, which features unmilled wood, had been very popular in the grand English estates of the time period. Park designer Calvert Vaux’s early mentor and business partner, Andrew Jackson Downing, was one of America’s foremost landscape designers in the mid-1800s, and had popularized this style of building with his American clientele.

Calvert Vaux adopted this style to great acclaim, and when Prospect Park opened in 1867, the public was delighted by his rustic-style thatched shelters, romantic arbors and scenic overlooks nestled throughout the park. They became beloved destinations, and can be seen in many early photographs and postcards of the park.

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Rustic viewing platform in Prospect Park ravine, circa 1890. Prospect Park Archives/Herbert Mitchell Collection

None of these original structures have survived into modern times, but the rustic style can be seen throughout the park, notably at the Summerhouse on the lake shore near the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance; Binnen Bridge near the Boathouse; and the railings through the woodlands created and maintained by the Alliance’s Natural Resources Crew and the Woodland Youth Crew.

And as for the reception of the park’s new pergola? “It seems like park users love it,”  says Loux. “It feels great when someone walks by and says thank you, or that it’s beautiful, or asks how we made it.”

So, on your next run or walk on the Park Drive, make sure to stop and enjoy this exciting new addition to the park, and learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance is advancing the park.

c. Martin Seck

Park Checklist: 7 Ways To Enjoy Winter

January 15, 2019

Every season is wonderful in its own way, and we love winter in Prospect Park! From snow-day activities to school break programs, here are 7 recommendations from Prospect Park Alliance to get you out of the house and into the park this season.

  1. Head to the LeFrak Center at Lakeside: It’s time to get out on the ice in Prospect Park. From a day of skating with friends, to  curling, hockey and more, visit the park’s state-of-the-art skating rink this season while the weather is still cold. 
  2. Enjoy family fun at the Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House: Prospect Park’s beloved Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House have plenty of exciting programming coming up this winter. Stop by both sites for Lunar New Year activities, including paper-lantern making at Lefferts, and a variety of activities during Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the Presidents Week school break.  
  3. Take a Winter Walk: If summer crowds aren’t your scene, the colder months are the perfect time of year to explore the park’s 585 acres of meadow, forest and lake. Take a look at our suggestions for winter walks that take advantage of the season. 
  4. Tennis, anyone? It can be hard to suit up for exercise in sub-zero temperatures, but the Prospect Park Tennis Center has you covered, literally. Heated, indoor courts are the perfect place to get a work out, with friends or in classes, while supporting Brooklyn’s Backyard.  
  5. Winter Birdwatching: Brush off the binoculars, because winter is the perfect time for birdwatching in Prospect Park! With the leaves off the trees throughout the park, spotting birds is easy–and Prospect Park is a world-renowned location to spot our avian pals. Learn more about birdwatching in the park, including upcoming birdwalks in January and February.
  6. Sledding in Prospect Park: While our winter is off to a mostly snow-free start, our fingers are crossed for flurries in the forecast and plenty of sledding days in the park. Check out our list of top Prospect Park sledding locations, and see you next blizzard!
  7. Take in our Prospect Park exhibition at Brooklyn Historical Society–last chance! An offsite checklist suggestion, head to the Brooklyn Historical Society to check out The Means of a Ready Escape: Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, an exhibition presented in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance that celebrates the founding vision of the Park, and traces its social and historical trajectories. Hurry, this exhibition closes February 10!

Learn more about upcoming events in Prospect Park.

c. Harpers Weekly

The “Beautiful Spectacle” of Skating Carnivals

January 14, 2019

Long before Prospect Park Alliance opened the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, the park’s state-of-the-art skating rink, Brooklynites would wait for temperatures to drop and then flock by the tens of thousands to Prospect Park’s 60-acre Lake to enjoy this winter recreation, with crowds as many as 20,000 skaters on peak days.

A Brooklyn Daily Eagle article from February 7, 1881, reports:

The ice on the Prospect Park lake is eighteen inches thick. Yesterday it was crowded all day, and by the afternoon the surface was rather badly cut up by the steel runners of the skaters. The ice is swept at night after the skaters leave and flooded a little, so as to make a smooth, even surface in the morning. The skaters are allowed to remain until 11 o’clock on all except Sunday nights, when the ice is cleared at about 9 o’clock.

With so many people flocking to the ice, and with periodic warm spells midwinter, the scene at the Lake was often chaotic. Collisions between skaters and slips through thin patches of ice were not uncommon, and “keepers” uniformed in blue kept watch over the crowds.

By the early 1900’s, the city was staging “skating carnivals” as reported on in the January 2, 1915, edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Brooklyn was treated to a new and beautiful spectacle last night, when the Park Department permitted a skating carnival to be held on the Prospect Park lake. In the light of the full moon and with a thousand Chinese lanterns strung around the big body of water, 10,000 men, women and children flitted to and fro on the flashing steel runners. Some of them even danced on the ice.

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Photo of lanterns around frozen Prospect Park lake, c. New York Historical Society.

In the 1930’s and ’40’s, as all kinds of ice sports became increasingly popular, these “carnivals” became daytime sporting events with thousands watching from the shore, including ice hockey matches between teams from Brooklyn Technical High School and Manual Training High School (later called John Jay High School), speed-skating races and figure-skating displays. The carnivals even had an Ice Carnival King and Queen.

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The 1936 Ice Carnival King and Queen, c. Prospect Park Archives.

Today, New Yorkers can experience with thrill of gliding over the ice throughout the season at Prospect Park’s LeFrak Center at Lakeside. And while skating on the Lake is no longer permitted, Lakeside’s two rinks are just yards from the water’s edge, and visitors need only a bit of imagination to relive those festive nights over 100 years ago.

Martin Seck

Unleash Your Inner Olympian at Lakeside

February 9, 2018

As the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games heat up, many of us are feeling inspired to satisfy our own Olympic ambitions. At the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park, visitors can try figure skating, hockey and even the more obscure sport of curling, without ever leaving Brooklyn!

Curling
Curling is a sport which suffers from the popular misperception that it is easy. While slow moving in comparison to many of its Olympic compatriots, this sport requires balance, precision and a knack with a broom. Originated in medieval Scotland, curling is a game in which players, wearing grippy shoes, slide polished, 44-pound granite stones toward a circular target marked on the ice. Long popular in Canada, curling has been enjoying a wider revival since being added to the Olympic games in 1998, and has sparked a devoted following in Brooklyn.
The LeFrak Center is home to the official Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club, and currently the LeFrak Center is offering weekly classes for those interested in trying the sport. Learn more about Curling at Lakeside.

Figure Skating
If you love watching figure skating in prime time, you’ll enjoy it even more in person at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, spangled spandex costumes encouraged! The third annual Lakeside Open Competition takes place on February 25, and members of the public are invited to watch this exciting event free of charge. Figure skaters can take to the ice in freestyle sessions, sign up for lessons or perform in the Spring Show. Learn more about Figure Skating at Lakeside.

Hockey
Hockey isn’t just for the pros! You can get into the game at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside with clinics and open hockey sessions, and Youth and Adult league play. Sessions are coed and hockey enthusiasts of all levels can gain experience. Learn more.

Broomball
Don’t know how to skate, but want to score a goal? You’re in luck! Broomball, on offer Friday nights at the LeFrak Center, is played in sneakers on ice.

And, if organized sport isn’t your preference but you want to get out on the ice, the LeFrak Center at Lakeside is open for ice skating seven days a week. Learn more about visiting the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. 

Brittany Buongiorno

A Guide to Winter Activities in Prospect Park

December 14, 2016

Temperatures are hovering around freezing, the first snowflakes have fallen and here in Prospect Park, we say, “let it snow!” Are you ready for the cold-weather activities that we wait all year to enjoy? Here is our roundup of winter activities in the Park. 

Ice Skating
Strap on a pair of skates: the ice skating season at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside is in full swing! Come with friends for freestyle laps around the two rinks, or sign up for Skate School and learn the fundamentals of skating. Plus, Prospect Park Alliance members at the Supporter level or above can take advantage of Member Wednesdays and skate for free.

Sledding
When the city gets more than a few inches of snow, head to the Park to be among the multitudes that get a rush from sliding down our steep slopes. Bring a sled, toboggan or whatever your preference and check out a list of our top sledding spots in Prospect Park

Curling
Ready for a round of… curling? Believe it or not, the LeFrak Center at Lakeside is home to the official Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club, which offers classes and tournaments. This sport, best known as an event in the Winter Olympics, is played in teams by players wearing shoes with grippers. Learn more about curling at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside

Figure Skating 
In addition to regular ice-skating, figure skating has found a home at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. Figure skaters are encouraged to take to the ice in freestyle sessions, classes or during one of the shows, such as the Ice Spectacular, taking place Sunday, December 18. Learn more about figure skating at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.

Cross-Country Skiing 
While not an “official” sport, cross-country skiing enthusiasts can’t wait for enough snow to strap on their skis and head out with smooth strides into the Park. Expanses like Long Meadow and the Nethermead are excellent locations to bring this traditionally rural pastime into city parks. 

Hockey 
Grab your pucks and pads! You can get into the game at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside with clinics, open hockey sessions, and (new this season!) Youth and Adult league play. Don’t know how to skate, but want to score a goal? Try Broomball Friday nights at Lakeside, played in sneakers on ice. Learn more about hockey at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.

A Walk in the Park
There is no easier way to enjoy the serene and snowy season than with a walk in Prospect Park, no special skates, sticks, pads or gear required. Wander through the Park’s 585-acres, or let our curated Winter Walk guide your way on a tour up Lookout Hill, with views only available during this time of year. Learn more about the Winter Walk. 

Indoor Tennis
Snow and ice not quite your scene? Don’t worry; the Prospect Park Tennis Center has got you covered with heated indoor courts through mid-May. Participate in a variety of classes and leagues, or simply book a court to use with a friend. The Center will also offer special holiday programs during the Winter Recess. Learn more about the Tennis Center

New PPA Member Benefits at Lakeside

March 30, 2016

It’s always paid to be a Prospect Park Alliance member. Whether through invitations to members-only events, or discounts at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, membership helps Park visitors get the most out of their time in Brooklyn’s Backyard. To make membership even better, we’re thrilled to announce even more Prospect Park Alliance membership benefits at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, across every membership level.

Just in time for springtime fun, new member benefits include:

  • 10% season passes at Lakeside for ice skating, roller skating, bike rentals and boat rentals (Friend membership level and above)
  • Complimentary skating and discounted boat and bike rentals on PPA Wednesdays (Supporter membership level and above)
  • 10% off food and beverages at the Bluestone Café (Naturalist membership level and above)
  • And more! Learn about all of the great perks of PPA membership.

Support Prospect Park. Check out exclusive events. Skate for free. Become a member today, and spend your spring in style at Lakeside!