C. M. Pinckney/NYC Parks

Mayor de Blasio Announces Historic $40 Million To Restore The Vale

December 16, 2021

Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a historic $40 million allocation to restore the Vale in Prospect Park. This funding is the largest single allocation in the history of Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains the park in partnership with the city, and will restore important landscapes within the 26 acres in the northeast corner of the park called the Vale. The Mayor was joined by NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff and Iris Weinshall, Chair, and Sue Donoghue, President of Prospect Park Alliance, and community leaders. 

Learn more information about the Vale restoration, and our extensive community outreach to develop this vision for the Vale.

“Prospect Park is Brooklyn’s backyard,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “It’s where I got married and raised my family, and where New Yorkers of all backgrounds come to spend time in nature. This historic $40 million in funding will ensure the Vale is restored to its full glory.” 

“On behalf of Prospect Park Alliance, we would like to thank Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and vision in advancing Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, for the millions of New Yorkers the park serves every year. His support of this important restoration, in addition to the Grand Army Plaza arch and berms, and other projects, will be a lasting legacy in Prospect Park, and one that all New Yorkers can celebrate,” said Iris Weinshall, Board Chair, Prospect Park Alliance.

“Prospect Park Alliance was founded over 30 years ago to sustain, restore and advance the park for the entire Brooklyn community. Today, through this historic funding allocation from the Mayor, we will be able to realize the community’s vision for the 26 acres in the northeast corner of the park. Since its founding, the Alliance has restored significant landscapes in the park, from the 150-acre woodland Ravine to the 26 acres in the southeast corner of the park, Lakeside and the LeFrak Center. It is critical to advance this work to make the park fully accessible and welcoming for our community,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance.

 “’How wonderful, how beautiful, when the community comes together…’ On many levels, this paraphrasing of a portion of Psalm 133 seems to encapsulate my experience as a civic leader and leader of a faith community, as I participated in the re-imagining of the ‘Rose Garden.’ Of equal importance is the funding for the restoration of the ‘Vale’ area of the park. This funding is truly an expression of commitment to making this park a park for all,” said Reverend Sheldon N.N. Hamblin, Rector, St. Paul’s Church in the Village of Flatbush, who participated in the community outreach effort that is guiding the Vale Restoration.

Conceptual Site Plan for Vale Restoration. c. Prospect Park Alliance

The Vale Restoration

The $40 million in capital funding from the Mayor will help to restore two historic landscapes: the Children’s Pool and the park’s former Rose Garden. 

Conceptual Rendering of the Vale Restoration. c. Prospect Park Alliance

The former Rose Garden has served many functions since the park opened in 1867. It was originally a Children’s Playground, complete with the park’s first, horse-driven carousel, and then became a formal Rose Garden at the turn of the 19th century. With the opening of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in 1911, the Rose Garden eventually fell into disrepair and the rose beds were removed. In 2017, Prospect Park Alliance, which sustained this landscape of the park for many decades, embarked on an intensive community outreach initiative, Reimagine Prospect Park, to create a new vision for this landscape, working with Hester Street and Grain Collective to engage over 2,000 community members. Through this process, the team identified several possible amenities for this area of the park, including a pollinator meadow and rustic arbor; a nature play area for families; and a landscaped amphitheater and small building with flexible gathering space and restrooms for the community’s enjoyment. With funding now in place, Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks will embark on the design process in early 2022, and the Alliance will partner again with Hester Street to engage the community in the process.

Conceptual rendering of the proposed Vale Restoration. c. Prospect Park Alliance

The site of the historic Children’s Pool  originally featured a small pond where children sailed miniature boats, surrounded by ornamental trees and shrubs. In the 19th century the Brooklyn Eagle described this spot as a “bird’s paradise,” which still holds true today.  In the 1890s, the renowned architects McKim, Mead and White replaced the pond’s soft edge with a formal marble and granite balustrade. Nicknamed the “Vale of Cashmere” after a Thomas Moore poem, it became famous for its lush, colorful foliage. Red-brick walkways, lights and benches were added in the 1960s, and in recent decades it has fallen into a state of disrepair but has remained an oasis for birds, which will remain a focus in the restoration.

The restoration of the Vale is the centerpiece of several restoration projects that have been achieved in recent years in this corner of the park. This includes the Flatbush Avenue Perimeter restoration through funding from Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, and the creation of two new entrances to this area of the park, the first since the 1940s, through Mayor de Blasio’s Parks without Borders initiative. Other improvements to the area include the restoration of woodland areas severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy and other recent storms through funding from the National Park Service and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; restoration of the pathways and lighting to the area through funding from the Mayor; and the award-winning restoration of Endale Arch

Design of the Vale Restoration is slated to begin in 2022, and the project will proceed through the New York City Parks design and construction guidelines, which includes a year for design, a year for procurement, and 12-18 months for construction.

Conceptual rendering of the proposed Vale Restoration. c. Prospect Park Alliance

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.

Prospect Park Alliance

New Flatbush Entrances Open

January 28, 2021

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

Get Directions to the new Flatbush Entrance.

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

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

“Prospect Park Alliance is committed to making Prospect Park open and accessible to all communities it borders, and we are grateful to be able to open pedestrian access while work concludes on the site,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Parks Commissioner Silver for their innovative Parks Without Borders initiative, and the many community members who came out in support of this project. These new entrances will serve as an important gateway to the park for our east side communities, and to the park’s northeast corner, a focal point of our future restoration efforts.”

New Entrance Design

Prospect Park was nominated for Parks Without Borders with overwhelming support from the surrounding communities. The $3.2 million project includes a major entrance in the northeast section of the park near the former Rose Garden, the site of future restoration by Prospect Park Alliance, and a secondary entrance located just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. Both entrances feature new lighting, seating and new landscaping. The major entrance aligns with a future DOT traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, intersecting a berm retained by a three-foot-high granite wall, and opens opens onto a small public plaza.

The entrance design includes:

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

Broader Restoration Plans

The creation of these entrances is part of a comprehensive restoration of the Flatbush Avenue perimeter of Prospect Park. A second project, funded with $2.4 million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, and led by Prospect Park Alliance, restored the Flatbush Avenue perimeter from Grand Army Plaza to the Prospect Park Zoo to its original grandeur with new landscaping, an expanded promenade, and new furnishings. Through $2 million in funding by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Prospect Park Alliance also is restoring 1,200 linear feet of paths in this area of the park, with new paving, park benches and lighting, and much-needed tree care. In addition, Prospect Park Alliance is in the early design phases of creating a covered horseback riding ring for this area of the park, just north of the Zoo, for public and therapeutic riding. This $4.1 million project is funded through the support of the New York City Council, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York Council Member Brad Lander.

Flatbush Entrance Ribbon Cutting Mailchimp.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

c. Paul Martinka

Endale Arch Restored to Original Splendor

November 13, 2020

Prospect Park Alliance has completed the restoration of Endale Arch and reopened this treasure to the public.

One of the first architectural elements constructed in Prospect Park in the 1860s, the arch was envisioned by park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as a transporting entrance to the majestic Long Meadow from Grand Army Plaza. The $500,000 project was generously funded by the Tiger Baron Foundation, with additional support from Council Member Brad Lander through District 39 participatory budgeting.

“Thanks to this comprehensive restoration, the historic Endale Arch will welcome visitors to Prospect Park’s Long Meadow for generations to come,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “We are grateful to the Tiger Baron Foundation and Council Member Lander for their support, and we commend the Prospect Park Alliance for their remarkable work on this project.”

“I’m thrilled that our community chose through participatory budgeting to support the restoration of Endale Arch, a historic piece of Brooklyn’s backyard,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “I thank the Tiger Baron Foundation for their support of this project. At a time when New Yorkers are appreciating their parks more than ever, it is wonderful to have an opportunity to learn about and enjoy the contributions of the past to the spaces we love so dearly today.”

“We are so thankful to the Tiger Baron Foundation and Council Member Brad Lander for supporting this work, and enabling us to undertake a restoration worthy of Prospect Park’s creators,” said Sue Donoghue, President of Prospect Park Alliance. “Our Design + Construction team has outdone themselves on this project, and we are thrilled to share this beautifully restored  archway with our community.”

The Endale Arch restoration comprises years of research, dedicated work and a number of exciting discoveries as layers of time were stripped back. The phased restoration kicked off in 2015 with the adjacent landscape. The Alliance stabilized the stone retaining walls and surrounding hillsides; removed invasive plants; added an array of native plantings; and made improvements to the arch and pathway to address drainage issues and reduce potential flooding and water damage.

In the final phase, the Alliance worked with Barnhart Restoration to restore the interior of the arch and the exterior stonework. In the course of this phase, layers of paint and grit were peeled back, revealing handsome original details that the design team was surprised and delighted to find. A motif of alternating yellow Berea sandstone and New Jersey brownstone, and white pine and black walnut wood paneling, which was hidden for nearly a century has been restored. The team opted to leave one brick and granite cross vault exposed to highlight the detailed craftsmanship put in place over 150 years ago.

Visitors can now enjoy the arch as it would have appeared to the park’s earliest visitors, all with the benefit of new LED lighting that illuminates the interior of the arch. The result is a breathtaking window into Prospect Park’s historic past. Learn more about the restoration of Endale Arch.

The restoration of Endale Arch is part of a larger effort by Prospect Park Alliance to improve the northeast corner of the park. This work also includes the restorations of the Vale Woodlands, through a grant from New York State Parks; the Grand Army Plaza berms and Soldiers and Sailors Arch, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio; the Flatbush Avenue perimeter, funded by Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo; two new entrances along Flatbush Avenue, the first in the park since the 1940s, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Parks without Borders initiative; and pathway and lighting improvements in the Vale, funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio. Learn more about these projects on the Alliance’s Capital Projects Tracker,

c. Mary Keehbauch

Beautiful Rustic Trail Caps Woodland Restoration

January 16, 2020

On a windy Saturday morning in November, Mary Keehbauch, Prospect Park Alliance Deputy Director of Landscape Management, took a break from installing cedar rails to talk about her work in the Vale of Cashmere, one of two sites that Prospect Park Alliance received funding to restore following severe damage from Hurricane Sandy and other storms.

“It’s bittersweet,” Keehbauch said of the project as the formal restoration work comes to a conclusion, “but it’s been a really exciting transformation and I hope we’ve engaged enough people in this project, that they’ll work hand in hand with the Alliance to help take care of this area.” Keehbauch and a crew of Alliance staff, volunteers and even goats have worked over the past four years to revive the woodlands in this quiet northeast corner of the park, beloved by birdwatchers and in-the-know park visitors.

On this morning, Keehbauch was joined by her Alliance colleagues A.J. Logan, Natural Resources Crew Forestry Technician, and Kate Abrams, Woodland Youth Crew Supervisor, with the dozen-or-so high school students in her charge. The teens, participants in this Alliance program that hires local high school students to become stewards of Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, chatted happily as they dug holes, sawed logs and mulched paths for the park’s newest feature—a rustic trail which is the capstone of the massive restoration effort undertaken by the Alliance.  

AJ Logan and Mary Keehbauch c. Lucy Gardner

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy brought widespread destruction to New York City, felling over 500 trees throughout Prospect Park, including 50 in the Vale of Cashmere alone. With $1.2 million in grants from the National Park Service and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to repair storm damage in the Vale as well as Lookout Hill, Prospect Park Alliance began work to restore these woodlands.

See a slideshow of the Woodland Restoration in the Vale of Cashmere

First came storm cleanup and a survey of the surrounding woodlands, which showed that relatively few species of trees and shrubs were thriving in the Vale, and many of these were considered invasive in New York State. Then came the demolition team—a group of goats hired to scale the steep hills and eat the dangerous and non-native plant species such as English ivy and poison ivy. This popular crew spent two summers in the park, eating the Vale clean, and prepping the space for the massive replanting that was about to take place. 

“We planted the area heavily, with a focus on creating a multidimensional, ecologically diverse woodland,” said Keehbauch, pointing out examples while standing in the landscape. “Throughout the changing seasons, people will be able to see a variety of native plants, understory trees and shrubs, with great flowers that will create food for insects and birds, feeding the park ecosystem.” 

In recent years, Keehbauch and her crew have worked to replant and maintain this area with essential support from fellow Alliance staff, the Woodlands Youth Crew, and many dedicated volunteers—notably a corps whose work has focused on the east side of the park, and who have dedicated countless hours to this often-overlooked area of the park. During the last two years, they’ve succeeded in planting over 20,000 trees, plants and shrubs in the Vale alone. 

In replanting, Keehbauch and her team have “stayed true to the native plant palette of the region,” bringing in more than 25 native species of plants including ferns, wildflowers, grasses, and shrubs, including elderberry and chokeberry, “plants that are going to hopefully help our butterfly and native bee population and draw in birds.” 


Members of the Prospect Park Alliance Woodlands Youth Crew, c. Lucy Gardner

And the plants aren’t the only addition to the landscape. As the restoration project came to an end this winter, Keehbauch and her team installed a new rustic rail trail, which leads visitors to two sites of future restoration: the Rose Garden to the Children’s Pool. Following in the footsteps of park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, this Adirondack-inspired feature takes a meandering route through the woods, inviting visitors to enjoy another view of Brooklyn’s Backyard. 

“We hope the trail will keep people from creating their own paths, which are destructive to this newly replanted landscape,” said Keehbauch. “It should also be an interesting experience—for birders, children—they’ll get to experience the interior of the woods right in the middle of Brooklyn.” 

Ready to try out the new trail? Visit the Vale of Cashmere—the trail is located on the eastern slope, and climb the hill to the Rose Garden. Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s work to Sustain the Environment. 

This project was undertaken by numerous contributors over the years. Special thanks are given to the Volunteer Corps, the Woodlands Youth Crew and their Alliance supervisors, and the members of the Prospect Park Alliance Hurricane Sandy Restoration team throughout the project: Christopher Guicciardo, Mary Keehbauch, Alexandra Kerr, A.J. Logan, Martha Maciasz, Michael Marino, and Victor Rendon.

New Vision for the Rose Garden

May 23, 2018

Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, has announced the results of a year-long effort to develop a community-driven vision for the park’s former Rose Garden.

This initiative is part of a larger effort by Prospect Park Alliance to restore the northeast section of the park, which also includes the restoration of the Flatbush Avenue park perimeter, a major restoration of the woodlands, as well as path and lighting improvements to make this area of the park more inviting and accessible to the public.

“Prospect Park is one of the increasingly rare, truly democratic spaces where a wide variety of people of different nationalities, cultures, ethnicities, races and socio-economic backgrounds intermingle,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President. “To make a more vibrant place for all of Brooklyn, we reached out to the many communities that use and border the park—particularly communities of color, young people, low-income families and new immigrants. Reaching out in multiple languages, in varied formats and at local venues ensured that people whose voices are often missing from local decision-making helped shape the future of this space.”

Prospect Park Alliance teamed up with Hester Street, a non-profit organization that works to ensure neighborhoods are shaped by the people who live in them, and Grain Collective, a landscape architecture and urban design practice, to engage local communities in the future vision of this little-known landscape. The Alliance engaged over 2,000 community members and local stakeholders over the course of this outreach effort, and gathered over 3,000 ideas. Ideas for the reimagined Rose Garden were gathered through a series of interviews, focus groups, “pop-up” events, in-person and online surveys, and workshops. This work was made possible through the support of the Altman Foundation.

The resulting, community-driven vision was informed by a set of guiding principles developed by community members and the Alliance to ensure any future improvements are in line with community priorities, as well as site and feasibility factors. Top priorities expressed were preserving the bucolic character of the space, and creating a welcoming environment to a broad array of communities.

“The many people we talked to were clear: the area must be open, accessible and inclusive of the diverse communities that border the Rose Garden and use the space,” reported Betsy MacLean, Executive Director of Hester Street, “and that community engagement and participation in the future design and programming of the park must be ongoing.”

View the findings of this year-long community engagement effort.

In the coming years, the Alliance will oversee related improvements to park’s northeast corner, including: the Flatbush Avenue perimeter restoration; path and lighting improvements; and the creation of two new entrances to the park. In the meantime, Prospect Park Alliance will further develop and refine design concepts for the former Rose Garden; determine the scope and budget for the project; and develop a broader fundraising campaign for the park to make this project a reality.

Learn more at prospectpark.org/reimagine.

Flatbush Avenue Groundbreaking

April 26, 2018

Today, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo celebrated the start of construction of the restoration of the Flatbush Avenue perimeter of Prospect Park, and also unveiled the design for two new entrances to this important pedestrian thoroughfare to the park.

These projects are part of a broader focus by Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains and restores the park, to improve the northeast corner of the park, which also includes a community outreach initiative to re-envision the park’s former Rose Garden, and restoration of its woodlands.

Flatbush Avenue Groundbreaking 4.26.18

“We are so grateful for the steadfast support of Borough President Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo, and I want to thank them for their funding of this important project, as well as the Parks without Borders program for making these new entrances possible,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President. “Since our founding, the Alliance has been committed to restoring and enhancing the Park for the benefit of the community. Improving the Flatbush Avenue perimeter is an important part of this work.”

“The Flatbush Avenue perimeter of Prospect Park is finally getting the restoration it deserves. And with the addition of two brand new entrances, the northeast side of the park will be more welcoming and efficient for all visitors,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Prospect Park was one of the highest voted projects for Parks Without Borders, and we can’t wait to make it even more accessible for the New Yorkers who treasure it.” 

Flatbush Avenue Groundbreaking 4.26.18 Adams
“Parks equity has been a priority of my administration, and my partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance has put equity first and foremost for the future of our borough’s crown jewel,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. “The Flatbush Avenue perimeter will offer the same top-tier entrance as all visitors can expect to enjoy in Prospect Park. Along with our millions in investment for the Parkside Avenue and Ocean Avenue perimeters, the east side of Prospect Park will soon be the gold standard for a safe, sustainable, and serene park experience.”

“I am so excited to have been able to work with Borough President Eric Adams to see our vision to create a world-class entrance way come to fruition,” said New York City Council Majority Leader Laurie A. Cumbo. “The pedestrian-friendly design will encompass increased lighting and enhanced landscaping that is so fitting of Prospect Park and will also create a safer and more accessible perimeter along Flatbush Avenue that will welcome Brooklynites and visitors alike, to one of the most beautiful parks in the nation.”

Through $2.4 million in funding from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Member Laurie Cumbo, Prospect Park Alliance will restore the Flatbush Avenue perimeter from Grand Army Plaza to the Prospect Park Zoo to its original grandeur. Currently, the narrow, 20-foot-wide sidewalk has few functioning street lights, heavily cracked pavement, sparse and unhealthy street trees, and an incomplete and deteriorating iron fence along the park. 

Following the original design of the park’s creators, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the sidewalk will be expanded into a 30-feet-wide promenade. The Alliance will remove invasive plants that have overtaken the area, and plant native species of trees to create an allée reflecting Olmsted’s design. The Alliance will also install new decorative fencing, lighting and furnishings to provide a welcoming and inviting pedestrian experience. Construction is expected to be completed by fall 2018.

Funded with $3.2 million through NYC Parks’ Parks Without Borders program, Prospect Park Alliance is also creating two new entrances along Flatbush Avenue. These will be the first new entrances to the park since the 1940s. A major entrance will be created near the park’s former Rose Garden, and a secondary entrance will be created just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. This project, which received the most votes during the Parks Without Borders nomination period, is slated to break ground in spring 2019, and open to the public in spring 2020.

The entrances will feature new lighting, seating and trees, as well as new landscaping. The major entrance will align with a future DOT traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, intersecting a berm retained by a three-foot-high granite wall. The north end of the wall will open onto two levels of terraced seating that provides views of the surrounding woodlands. Stepping stones will lead to an informal running trail that sits atop the berm. On the opposite side of the entrance, the wall ends in a rock scramble of boulders sourced from the building site of nearby NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Settees will be installed along the paths and between the boulders. 

Additional improvements to the area include $2 million in funding from the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio to enable the Alliance to restore approximately 1,200 linear feet of paths, replace park benches and add more lighting in the park’s northeast corner. Construction is slated to begin in fall 2018 and be completed by fall 2019.

Victor J. Blue for the New York Times

The New York Times Highlights Alliance’s Woodland Restoration Efforts

October 6, 2017

The New York Times gave a fond farewell to Eyebrows, Lily Belle and Swiss Cheese, and the important work these Green Goats performed to help Prospect Park Alliance restore two woodland areas that were hard hit by Hurricane Sandy and other severe storms. This month, the Alliance Natural Resources Crew and volunteers are planting over 20,000 trees, plants and shrubs throughout the Vale of Cashmere, one of the two restoration sites. These native species will help build a healthy forest habitat for birds, wildlife and humans alike. 

Read The New York Times article, and learn more about the Alliance’s work to restore the woodlands.

Martin Seck

Community Weighs In on Future of Rose Garden

June 13, 2017

On a recent Saturday afternoon, Prospect Park Alliance gathered Brooklynites of all ages in the Prospect Park Boathouse to reimagine the Park’s Rose Garden. Suggestions, written on colorful cards and placed in a 3D model of the space, ranged from the practical—bathrooms and event spaces—to the fanciful—outdoor kitchens and trampolines!

Interested in sharing your vision for the Rose Garden? Take our survey!

This community visioning session was an opportunity for Park lovers to share their ideas for the Rose Garden, one of the Park’s hidden gems. Prospect Park Alliance is working with Hester Street Collaborative, a non-profit organization focused on improving the physical environment in underserved NYC neighborhoods to engage the community in the future vision for the Rose Garden—the first step in the Alliance’s plans to restore this landscape in the Park’s northeast corner.

The 2.5-acre landscape is tucked away in the northeast corner of Prospect Park in a heavily wooded area that is surrounded by steep hillsides. The area was originally designed by Park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux as a Children’s Playground, complete with play equipment and a horse-driven carousel. In 1885, as part of the City Beautiful Movement, the landscape was transformed into a rose garden, featuring beautiful flowering trees and plants, and three pools with goldfish and lilypads. Over the years, the area fell into disuse. A 1960s attempt to restore the pools was unsuccessful, and the area has gone largely unnoticed and underused—until now.

“Since its founding, Prospect Park Alliance has been focused on renewing the Park for the enjoyment of all of Brooklyn,” said Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance. “Through this innovative community engagement process, we are looking to involve all of the diverse communities that consider the Park ‘Brooklyn’s Backyard’ in the future vision of this corner of the Park, one of the few remaining landscapes untouched by restoration.”

During the June 10 design workshop, visitors of all ages were asked to give their opinion of what should occupy the Rose Garden. Interactive models of the 2.5-acre space filled up quickly with idea-covered stickers, and over 40 attendees participated in a visioning activity to discuss the potential opportunities with members of their community. At the end of the event, Turnstile Tours, which operates walking tours throughout the Park, brought participants to the Rose Garden to learn about the history of the space, and see it firsthand. Dozens of suggestions were collected as a result of the event, and popular suggestions included an outdoor classroom, a flower garden and a cafe.

The project is possible thanks to the generous support of the Altman Foundation. “The Altman Foundation—which celebrated its centennial in 2013—has an historic interest in ensuring that individuals and families living in the city have access to resources that help them thrive, and we believe that well-maintained parks and open spaces are critical to the well-being of each of us and New York as a whole,” said Deborah T. Velazquez, Associate Director at the Altman Foundation.  “Projects like these that allow local stakeholders to be engaged in planning that shapes how capital is deployed lead to strong results, and help long-standing institutions remain vibrant and dynamic.”

The Alliance is looking to gather input from a wide variety of communities that border the Park and use the Park regularly. Over the course of the summer and fall, the Alliance and Hester Street Collaborative will be reaching out to the community in a variety of settings to help determine the future design of this space. In the month of July, a community art project—The Connective Project—will bring an immersive art installation to the area. During that time, July 7-17, the public will be able to give input on the future of the Rose Garden. 

Want to make your voice heard? Learn how you can get involved in this Rose Garden planning process.

Prospect Park Awarded Parks Without Borders Funding

May 25, 2016

The Prospect Park Alliance proposal to improve Flatbush Avenue is one of eight projects citywide to receive funding through the NYC Parks’ Parks Without Borders Initiative. The Alliance will use this funding to create two new park entrances along Flatbush Avenue, to restore a third entrance near Empire Boulevard and Ocean Avenue at the Park’s Children’s Corner, and to fund additional park improvements.

“The Prospect Park Alliance is committed to making the Park open and accessible to all communities bordering the Park,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “We are thrilled that so many community members came out in support of our proposal, and I want to thank Commissioner Silver and NYC Parks for their support and vision through Parks Without Borders.”

Parks Without Borders seeks to make parks more open by improving entrances, transforming underutilized areas, and creating vibrant public spaces. The City dedicated $50 million to the program, $10 million of which had already been allocated to parks throughout the city, while the remaining $40 million was voted on through a public input process that took place earlier this year. NYC Parks collected community input from thousands of New Yorkers both online and through in-person events. The Flatbush Avenue perimeter project in Prospect Park was the most highly requested project proposal.

“Parks Without Borders has engaged thousands of New Yorkers, who shared ideas for park improvements online and in person.  That’s proof positive of how excited New Yorkers are to increase accessibility and openness in their favorite parks,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to Mayor de Blasio’s OneNYC funding for this major placemaking initiative, we will positively transform New Yorkers’ experience of public space.”

In addition to Parks Without Borders funding, the Alliance has previously received $2.4 million from Borough President Eric L Adams and Councilmember Laurie Cumbo to renovate the Flatbush Avenue perimeter. Through this funding, the Alliance will restore and widen the pedestrian walkway, install new decorative fencing and add an allée of street trees along the park perimeter from Grand Army Plaza to the Children’s Corner, restoring the Flatbush Avenue perimeter to its original grandeur.