On April 1, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver and other elected officials joined community members to kick off the celebration of Prospect Park’s 150th Anniversary, with a weekend of special events and festivities. This Opening Weekend celebration kicks off a full season of 150th anniversary programming marking this milestone, which includes special concerts, tours, an oral history project and exhibition with partners including the Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn Public Library, New York Philharmonic, BRIC and Turnstile Tours.
“Prospect Park is one of New York City’s jewels and a landmark in the life of my family,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Celebrating the park’s 150th anniversary reminds me of being married there and the days I spent coaching baseball and taking my children to the playgrounds. On behalf of 8.5 million New Yorkers, I want to thank the Prospect Park Alliance and all the volunteers and organizations that help maintain ‘Brooklyn’s backyard,’ and urge anyone who hasn’t had the chance to pay it a visit.”
“Happy 150th birthday, Prospect Park!” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “This year marks a major milestone for ‘Brooklyn’s backyard,’and Parks is honored to be a part of the celebration. For thirty years, the partnership with Prospect Park Alliance has made it possible for such a beloved outdoor space to thrive and become the destination is it today. This year, there are plenty of opportunities to come together and enjoy this park we all hold so dear. We look forward to another 150 years of joining this community to care for Prospect Park.”
“Prospect Park’s history closely mirrors that of the city, and its upswings and downswings,” said Sue Donoghue, President of the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains the Park. “Prospect Park Alliance was founded at a time when the Park was in decline, and through a successful private-public partnership, today the Park is once again a cherished community haven. We are so thrilled to present a range of events this spring, summer and fall that will bring the community together to celebrate this important milestone.”
Prospect Park’s history closely mirrors the history of Brooklyn, which was chartered in 1834 and by the 1860s became the nation’s third largest city. This growth prompted civic leaders to spearhead the creation of Prospect Park as Brooklyn’s flagship park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who also designed Central Park. In 1866, ground was broken and in 1867, the Park Commissioners held an “Opening Day” event that attracted thousands of visitors. Since that time, the Park has served as Brooklyn’s Backyard, a haven for millions of community members from across the borough. Since 1987, the Park has operated through a private-public partnership between the City and Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances the Park.
Prospect Park Anniversary Season
This full season of programming is funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies. A calendar of highlights follows:
Friday, March 31 – Sunday, April 2
Join Prospect Park Alliance to kick off the 150th anniversary celebration of Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, with a full weekend of special events and festivities. The fun kicks off Friday, March 31, when Lola Star brings her popular skating disco to the ice at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. All weekend long, enjoy the start of the spring season with an Opening Day Parade and Fair, an exhibition 1860s ballgame, running and walking tours, and the first Smorgasburg of the season, including the launch of a special Brooklyn Brewery Prospect Park 150th brew: Long Meadow Gold.
Party for the Park
Thursday, May 11
Prospect Park Boathouse
This spring fundraising party for Prospect Park Alliance will celebrate the Park’s 150th! Enjoy music, light bites from some of Brooklyn’s top restaurants and cafes, and specialty cocktails from some of the borough’s top mixologists. The party will feature Butter & Scotch, Tooker Alley, El Atoradero, Insa, Littleneck, Lumpia Shack, East Wind Snack Shop, Hugo & Sons, No. 7 Restaurant, Four & Twenty Blackbirds and Ample Hills. Nitehawk Cinema will host a lounge with exclusive cocktails and film screenings celebrating the Park’s 150th.
It’s My Park! Day: Prospect Park 150
Saturday, May 20
Join Prospect Park Alliance and REI to care for your Park! On It’s My Park! Day, Alliance volunteers will participate in a citywide effort to care for our green spaces with brooms, shovels, rakes, and trash grabbers. In honor of Prospect Park’s 150th anniversary, the Alliance is aiming to have 150 volunteers in the Park on May 20. Stewardship work will include woodland restoration. Presented by REI.
New York Philharmonic Concerts in the Parks: Prospect Park 150
Friday, June 16
Long Meadow Ball Fields, Prospect Park
The New York Philharmonic partners with Prospect Park Alliance to honor the Park’s 150th Anniversary as part of the Philharmonic’s Concerts in the Parks, Presented by Didi and Oscar Schafer. The Philharmonic will feature Brooklyn-based musicians performing an opening act, presented as part of the Philharmonic’s Share the Stage program and in celebration of the Park’s 150th and the Philharmonic’s 175th anniversary.
The Means of a Ready Escape: Brooklyn’s Prospect Park
On view July 13, 2017 – September 30, 2018
Brooklyn Historical Society
In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Prospect Park, Brooklyn Historical Society and Prospect Park Alliance present an exhibition that celebrates the founding vision of the Park, traces its social and historical trajectories, and examines the important role that Prospect Park has played as “Brooklyn’s Backyard” for 150 years.
The Connective Project
July 7–17, 2017
In celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park Alliance is bringing together artists, Brooklyn notables and the public to create a site-specific art installation, which celebrates the special meaning the Park has in the lives of millions of community members from across the borough and beyond. Funded in part by Bloomberg Philanthropies and NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.
BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival: Prospect Park 150th Celebration
Prospect Park Bandshell
As part of the 150th celebration, BRIC and Prospect Park Alliance will host a special one-evening celebration of Prospect Park as part of the annual BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival, featuring performances and special festivities in honor of the Park.
The Moth StorySLAM: Prospect Park 150
Thursday, September 7
Prospect Park Picnic House
Prospect Park Alliance and The Moth present a special Moth StorySLAM in celebration of the Park’s 150th Anniversary. This open-mic storytelling competition is open to anyone with a five-minute story to share on the night’s theme: Anniversaries. Come tell a story, or just enjoy the show!
Prospect Park History Tour
Select Sundays at 10 am and select Friday evenings at 6 pm, April through October
Celebrate the 150th anniversary of Prospect Park on this special series of guided walking tours of this iconic park in the heart of Brooklyn. These tours will examine the Park’s many layers of natural and human history, from the landscape design to architectural eras visible in the built environment to stories about how people have enjoyed the Park over time. Presented by Turnstile Tours in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance.
April 1, May 6, June 3
Lefferts Historic House, Prospect Park
Prospect Park Alliance and the Brooklyn Public Library kick off a new monthly event series as part of the 150th celebration of Prospect Park. The first Saturday of the month, enjoy live music, community conversations and refreshments around a roaring fire.
Our Streets, Our Stories: Prospect Park 150
All season long, share your Prospect Park story with Prospect Park Alliance and Brooklyn Public Library, which will be recorded for posterity in the Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection. The Alliance and Library are seeking 150 stories in celebration of the 150th: learn more at www.prospectpark.org/150stories.
Brooklyn Brewery – Prospect Park 150th Brew: Long Meadow Gold
In celebration of the Park’s 150th, Brooklyn Brewery brewed Long Meadow Gold, a beer that captures the countless long afternoons of fun in Prospect Park, and turns them into a crisp pale ale packed with laidback vibes that could only come from Brooklyn. A portion of all sales will benefit the non-profit Prospect Park Alliance to sustain, restore and advance the Park. Long Meadow Gold will be available at Smorgasburg Prospect Park which takes place Sundays on Breeze Hill in Prospect Park starting April 2.
Programs and prices are subject to change. For up-to-date information, please visit our events calendar.