PPA Profiles: Tammy Hall, Storyteller

September 19, 2016

Veteran storyteller Tammy Hall began her career 20 years ago with the Prospect Park Alliance at Lefferts Historic House, and since that time has grown into one of the Brooklyn’s favorite teller of tales. In Prosect Park, she brings to life stories from around the world, as well as those told to the Lefferts grandchildren by matriarch Femmetie in the 18th century. In addition, she celebrates the work of Brooklyn’s own Ezra Jack Keats as part of the Alliance’s summer storytelling series at Imagination Playground. On September 25, the Prospect Park Alliance will celebrate this important milestone with a Storytelling Festival at Lefferts Historic House.

Tammy was born in Tennessee, where she grew up listening to Southern tales told by her father, and in the past 20 years as a storyteller has expanded her repertoire to hundreds of stories. In addition to her work with the Prospect Park Alliance, she teaches Folk Arts at the Dr. Betty Shabazz School in Brooklyn (PS 298) and has performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Apollo Theater and Symphony Space.

But Prospect Park is where it all began, according to Tammy. “I was in Prospect Park taking my daughter to the Carousel when I noticed Lefferts Historic House and spied a man telling tales under a large tree. The sight of him with his arms in the air engaging the audience was intoxicating and I thought this is something I have to do.”

Tammy was introduced to former Lefferts director Vivienne Shaffer, and began to volunteer during events, which turned into a professional appointment for Scary Stories of the Past at Halloween, and Summer Songs and Stories, which she performs to this date.

Maria Carrasco, Vice President for Public Programs at the Alliance, describes her work: “When Tammy tells her tales, stories come to life, imaginations soar and we are encouraged to expand our thinking and move beyond just being an observer. Tammy is amazing to work with and we are proud to be able to help her celebrate this wonderful milestone.”

Join us for the Storytelling Festival on September 25, and hear some of Tammy’s most beloved stories. RSVP today.

Celebrate Quilting

November 17, 2015

Tucked in amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City exists a thriving quilting community. For the third consecutive year, the Alliance is teaming up with the Brooklyn Quilters’ Guild to bring the outstanding work of its talented local artists to the Park.

“Lefferts has played a steady role in Brooklyn quilting for the past two decades,” says Maria Carrasco, Vice President of Public Programs with the Prospect Park Alliance. Quilting exhibits from various organizations have long called Lefferts Historic House home.

Longtime fans of the medium as well as curious first-timers will enjoy the craftsmanship and storytelling present in all 18 quilts in the exhibit, Celebration, whose quilters represent a diversity of cultures and backgrounds. Through November 29, join the Alliance at Lefferts Historic House to admire these original creations, which range from traditional to mixed media fiber art.

After exploring Celebration, elementary-school-aged quilting connoisseurs are encouraged to contribute to the community patchwork paper quilt, which highlights the creativity and talents of younger local artists.

Celebration caps off with a celebration of its own. November 29 marks the Lefferts Historic House annual celebration, Winter on a Flatbush Farm, and features an appearance by St. Nicholas, as well as traditional homemade Dutch treats to eat, made over an open fire.

Prospect Park Alliance Featured on NYC TV

October 23, 2015

Join TV host Dave Evans on a tour of things to do in Prospect Park! $9.99 with Dave Evans, an NYC Life program that highlights the best free or low-cost activities in the city, devoted a recent episode to Prospect Park. This episode highlights Prospect Park Alliance activities at Lefferts Historic House, the Audubon Center, the Carousel, Lakeside, and the Tennis Center, and also features an interview with Alliance President Sue Donoghue. Although it aired last week, the episode can be watched online at the NYC Media website.

Visit our calendar to learn about upcoming programs in Prospect Park.

 

Elizabeth Keegin Colley

8 Things to Enjoy this Spring

March 16, 2015

From family hikes with expert naturalists to performances by chart-topping entertainers, Prospect Park has you covered this spring. We’ve compiled our top eight concerts, programs and events not to miss this season. What are you looking forward to this spring? Share with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #ProspectParkSpring

1. Spring Break

You don’t have to go to the beach to have fun during this annual school break. Join the Alliance at some of your favorite Park destinations, which will have special programming throughout the week. Take a first spin of the season on the Park’s 1912 Carousel, enjoy nature programs at the Audubon Center, plant spring sprouts at the Lefferts Historic House and enjoy the start of the rollerskating season at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside.

2. Opening Day

Join us April 11 for the Alliance’s annual Opening Day celebration with the Prospect Park Baseball Association. Thousands of players march up Seventh Avenue accompanied by a marching band and other special guests to the Bandshell for the ceremonial first pitch of the season. Play ball!

3. Pop-up Audubon

On April 16, the Prospect Park Alliance introduces twice the Pop-Up Audubon fun with a second tent that explores the aquatic habitats of Prospect Park as well as Discovery Packs, ready-to-go kits filled with fun nature activities for families to explore the Park. April’s theme, Animal Clues, will investigate the birds and wildlife that make their home in the Park near water.

4. Party for the Park

Help support the Park you love on May 14 at the second annual Party for the Park, an unforgettable night of dancing, cocktails and small bites from some of Brooklyn’s favorite chefs and mixologists.

5. Celebrate Brooklyn!

Now in its 37th season, Celebrate Brooklyn! will rock the Bandshell starting June 3 with a free performance by the Queen of Funk, Chaka Khan. Other favorites in this year’s line up are Willie Nelson, Interpol and more. Check our website soon for the full calendar.

6. Lola Star’s Dreamland Disco 

Lola Star’s Dreamland Disco will return to the LeFrak Center at Lakeside for another season of weekly themed rollerskating dance parties featuring your favorite hits from the 1970s and ‘80s. 

7. New York Philharmonic

There are few experiences more peaceful than listening to the sounds of the New York Philharmonic as you’re stretched out on a blanket in the Long Meadow. Help celebrate the 50th anniversary of Concerts in the Park at this annual event, taking place this year on June 19. Members at the Arborist level and above will receive special access. Become a member today. 

8. Pop Up Dinner Brooklyn

Keep an eye out for the announcement of the second annual Pop-Up Dinner Brooklyn, an evening where thousands of Park lovers, dressed in white, picnic under the stars at secret location in Prospect Park.  See photos from last years’s event. Members will receive early access to presale tickets. Become a member today. 

 
c. Paul Martinka

PPA Profiles: Rafe Shaffer

September 2, 2014

There are few people more passionate and knowledgeable about the Park’s illustrious past than Rafe Shaffer, the Supervising Educator at the Lefferts Historic House. Rafe grew up in Park Slope and has spent a lot of time exploring the trails, woodlands, hills and history of Prospect Park.

“I never imagined I’d work in Prospect Park,” he explained. A graduate of Brooklyn College with a degree in anthropology, he has worked with the Alliance at Lefferts Historic House for three and a half years, starting his senior year of college and working his way to becoming a supervising educator. Rafe is passionate about history and sharing knowledge about the past. Built by a Dutch family in the 18th century farming village of Flatbush and brought to the Park in the early 20th century, Lefferts features a working garden, historic artifacts, period rooms and exhibits. Visiting the house, you can find Rafe leading tours, organizing educational programs and greeting visitors at the museum’s teaching garden.

“My favorite thing about working at Lefferts is the joy you see on children’s faces as they play with toys from the past,” said Rafe. “They don’t even realize that they’re learning. And it’s a really powerful thing to watch. They might not remember the year this house was built or the names of the people who lived here, but they will always remember making butter and apple pie over an open fire.”

Meet Rafe at the upcoming Lefferts Historic House public programs, such as the second-floor tours, hearth cooking or the Harvest Festival on September 28. Learn more about Alliance programs at Lefferts Historic House.

Lefferts was also named a top destination for children’s birthday parties by Time Out New York, with ice-cream making, potato sack races and other historic fun. Have your child’s next birthday party at Lefferts.