C. Illustration by Johansen Peralta / Brooklyn Magazine

Sue Donoghue Featured on Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast

January 15, 2022

Our friends at Brooklyn Magazine have featured Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator, Sue Donoghue in this week’s episode of Brooklyn Magazine: The Podcast. This episode, aptly titled, “The past, present and future of Prospect Park” delves into just that– the history, current happenings, and what to expect next from Prospect Park.

Take a listen to hear Brooklyn Magazine’s Brian Braiker and Sue Donoghue discuss Prospect Park Alliance’s initiatives to ensure that the park is well used, preserved, enhanced, and inviting to all. Sue even also offers her own inside scoop and walks listeners through her take on how to best experience the park for first-time visitors.

Take a listen on the Brooklyn Magazine website!

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.

c. Shutterstock/WNYC

Prospect Park Alliance Volunteer Helps Revive the American Chestnut

December 21, 2021

Ever wonder what happened to the American Chestnut? At the turn  of the 20th century, the American chestnut towered over other trees in Eastern  forests. The trees would grow as much as 100 feet high, and 13 feet wide. According to legend, a squirrel could scamper from New England to Georgia on the canopies of American chestnuts, never touching the ground.

And then, the trees began to disappear, succumbing to a mysterious fungus. The fungus first appeared in New York City in 1904—and  then it spread. By the 1950s, the fungus had wiped out billions of trees, and effectively finished off the American chestnut.

Now, some folks are trying to resurrect the American chestnut– including a longtime Prospect Park Alliance volunteer, Bart Chezar, who works closely with the Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management Team.

Take a listen to WNYC’s Science Friday segment.

Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s work to sustain the environment.

 

2021 Year in Review

November 17, 2021

This year the Alliance, through the support of our community, has accomplished so much to sustain Brooklyn’s Backyard. We invite you to make a resolution to stay involved in the coming year: volunteer in the park, plan a visit, or become an Alliance member. There are many ways to make a difference in your park. Learn more about our work this year:

Sustaining the Park

One of the biggest challenges the Alliance has faced during the pandemic is taking care of the park in the face of budget cuts, staff reductions and record use. Through the incredible support of our community, the Alliance launched Re:New Prospect Park, investing critical funds to revitalize the park after a period of significant wear and tear. 

This work included renovated barbecue areas, comfort stations, pathways and drainage; and a new park maintenance partnership with ACE New York, a non-profit that empowers the homeless, which provided an additional crew on peak weekdays and weekends during our high season. In addition, the Alliance brought on board four seasonal groundskeepers to help supplement NYC Parks maintenance crews during this busiest time of year.

The Alliance also expanded its Volunteer Services team and programs, including our popular Green and Go Kit and It’s My Park Monday cleanup events. These efforts engaged more than 1,295 community members over the course of 92 sessions, who cleaned up nearly 1,742 bags of trash and cared for 90 tree beds along the park perimeter.

A new Re:New Volunteer Corps worked alongside Alliance staff on park improvement projects. The crew removed 2.6 tons of invasive vines and weeds; filled 250 holes on the Long Meadow; replenished all playground sandboxes; and sanded and painted 270 linear feet of hand railing, 121 benches, 46 entrance bollards, and the 10 storage containers on Center Drive.

Critical support for this initiative is made possible through generous funding from Amazon, the Leon Levy Foundation, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in the New York Community Trust, NYC Green Relief + Recovery Fund, and many generous individuals and community members who made first-time or increased gifts to the Alliance during this challenging time.

Caring for Brooklyn Nature

Following a challenging 2020, the Alliance Landscape Management team was back in action in 2021 conducting its annual plantings of 14,767 trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants of more than 68 native species, while battling the effect of extreme weather. This year Hurricanes Henri and Ida delivered record rainfall in Prospect Park, which resulted in significant erosion and stormwater runoff. Alliance crews cleared drains and protected landscapes in the lead up and following each storm. 

Through funding from NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, the Alliance’s Woodlands  Youth Crew, our signature youth employment program, restored a degraded woodland area by removing invasive plants,  planting native species and creating a new rustic trail with never-before-seen views of the Ravine. In addition, the Alliance had a record year of its commemorative tree program, with 110 new trees planted around the park this spring and fall. The Alliance also celebrated its ecoWEIR pilot program, funded by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, which naturally filtrates the park’s water supply to lessen the impact of harmful algae blooms on humans, pets and wildlife. 

The Alliance also participated in the Maya Lin “Ghost Forest” public art project, planting 65 native trees, 147 native shrubs and 500 native herbaceous plants at the new Flatbush entrance, the park’s first entrance to directly lead into its woodlands. Alliance designers created a new trail that connects the new entrance to this newly planted landscape, which will continue to be enhanced in coming years. 

Advancing the Park

Many improvement projects were unveiled in the park this past year to increase access and enhance use of the park by all communities. Notable new and revived destinations include scenic new entrances to the park—the first since the 1940s—along Flatbush Avenue through Mayor DeBlasio’s Parks Without Borders initiative, the beautifully restored Concert Grove Pavilion through funding from the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, and new pathways and lighting in the park’s Northeast Corner through funding from the Mayor. The restored Endale Arch, which debuted in late 2020, was honored this year with a Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award from the Landmarks Conservancy. The Alliance will soon begin work on the restoration of Long Meadow Ball Fields 2+3, the last of the seven fields funded under the leadership of Council Member Brad Lander. 

Engaging the Community

During the pandemic, the Alliance pivoted its popular Pop-Up programs to create Play-and-Go Kits, which families were able to borrow for socially distanced fun, with games and activities adapted from our programs at the Audubon Center and Lefferts Historic House. The program served 5,413 youth and families, who borrowed 1,500 games and activities.

2021 welcomed the start of Re-Imagine Lefferts Historic House, spurred by a restoration funded by the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council. This initiative re-envisions the mission and programming at the museum to recognize the role the house played as a site of slavery, and tell the stories of enslaved Africans and Native Americans who lived and worked the land. This initiative kicked off with the debut of Juneteenth Way across from Lefferts, with interpretive signage and benches painted the colors of the pan-African flag; and the debut of Jamel Shabazz: My Oasis in Brooklyn with Photoville, which showcases 4 decades of portraiture by the acclaimed photographer. The Alliance also kicked off its first Community Conversation to discuss the future of Lefferts programming.

Many beloved partnerships and programs continued, including CaribBEING Prospect Park, a Caribbean-American Heritage Month celebration with caribBEING, University Open Air, presented with the Brooklyn Public Library, and park tours with Turnstile Tours. We also presented our second annual art installation at the Bandshell in partnership with BRIC and NYC Parks, and partnered with Creative Time for The Last Stand, an opera and sound installation inspired by the trees.

Again, we thank you for your support and invite you to make a resolution to stay involved in the coming year: volunteer in the park, plan a visit, or become an Alliance member. There are many ways to make a difference in your park.

Woodlands Youth Crew Completes New Park Trail

September 10, 2021

Visiting the park this fall, you may notice a scenic addition in the heart of our woodlands—a rustic trail just off Center Drive that invites visitors to slow their pace and meander into parts unknown. 

The work to restore this woodland area and create a new trail was work of the 2021 summer cohort of the Prospect Park Alliance Woodlands Youth Crew, one of our signature youth employment programs that provides local teens with employment, training, mentorship and professional experience in environmental conservation and park stewardship. The program was funded this summer through the generous support of NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, whose longstanding partnership with the Alliance and essential work during the pandemic will be honored on September 30 at the Prospect Park Alliance Gala.

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Picturedat top, Paul Lubrun and Kayla Green; above left, Phil Lubrun, right, Jeshua Figueroa and Paul Lubrun.

The work of the Woodlands Youth Crew is an essential part of the Alliance’s work to restore and sustain Brooklyn’s last remaining forest. The semicircular route created this summer by the crew features a never-before-seen view of the top of the Lullwater, previously inaccessible to park visitors. “This area was a complete vine-land, with invasive plants everywhere—you couldn’t see the water at all,” says Kate Abrams, the Alliance Woodlands Youth Crew Manager. “But there is also so much good stuff in here, witch hazels, red maples, oaks and sumacs, and the idea of the trail just came together.” 

On a recent summer afternoon, the crew members were proud to point out the work they had done to transform this part of the park. Heaping compost piles were a testament to the volume of invasive vines that the crew had removed, and mulched paths with cedar railings were getting their finishing touches. “We’ve been getting lots of passersby saying thank you,” says Philip Lubrun, a crew member since 2016 who is now back for his second year as a supervisor. “This was my first job, and it comes naturally to me now. I’ve learned about planting, carpentry, invasive removal—it’s opened up a lot of opportunities for me…this is not the type of job you find everywhere.” 

“This is a great crew and the teamwork over time is the best thing to see,” says Abrams, “hopefully this path opens up possibilities for this area—people already seem to really appreciate it and the kids are really proud of what they’ve done.”

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A peek at the new trail, off Center Drive in Prospect Park.

Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance’s Woodlands Youth Crew.

Walking Tour of New Park Features

July 21, 2021

Prospect Park’s 585 acres boast a variety of picturesque destinations, delightful nature elements, and important architectural features, shaped by 150+ years of history. For those interested in learning more, Turnstile Tours offers in-park tours weekly to give visitors a behind-the-scenes look at Brooklyn’s Backyard. Learn more and book your tour today. 

Prospect Park Alliance has recently completed work on a few exciting projects around the park, and we’ve put together a self-guided walking tour for you to enjoy during your next park visit. Let’s get started!

Endale Arch (directions) Above, the newly restored Endale Arch in Prospect Park, c. Paul Martinka.

Entering the park from Grand Army Plaza, head in through the pathway furthest on the left, closest to the Brooklyn Public Library. Follow the path to the newly restored Endale Arch, a transporting portal out of the concrete of the city and into the peaceful landscape of the park.

Endale Arch was one of the first architectural elements constructed in Prospect Park in the 1860’s, conceived of by park creators Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. In recent decades, the arch had fallen into disrepair, and Prospect Park Alliance undertook a restoration that completed in 2020. Now, fully restored to it’s original splendor, visitors can enjoy the alternating color motif and fine craftsmanship of the arch with the added benefit of new LED lighting that illuminates the interior. The result is a breathtaking window into Prospect Park’s historic past—learn more about the Endale Arch. 

Flatbush Entrance Dec 2020
New Flatbush Avenue Entrance, c. Svetlana Ragulina.

Flatbush Avenue Entrance (directions)

Head south down the path by the Long Meadow, and cross the Park Drive at Nellie’s Lawn. Follow the path into the woods and you’ll arrive and Prospect Park’s first new entrance to be added to the park since the 1940’s. The Flatbush Avenue Entrance was funded by Mayor Bill de Blasio through the Parks Without Borders initiative, and was designed by Prospect Park Alliance.

The entrance, which opened in early 2021 features new landscaping, seating and lighting, two rock scrambles, and plantings of a variety of resilient trees, shrubs, and flowering plants. It is the only park entrance that leads directly into the woodlands, and provides easy access to the Rose Garden and Vale of Cashmere. Learn more about the contruction and features of the new Flatbush Avenue Entrance. 

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Newly restored Concert Grove Pavilion, c. Paul Martinka.

Concert Grove Pavilion (directions)

Continue south, either along the Park Drive or on the paths that meander through the Ravine. Pass the Boathouse and arrive at the newly restored Concert Grove Pavilion. The Pavilion was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874 and borrows motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish and Egyptian architecture. The Pavilion—a beloved community destination, was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1974, but the elaborate cast iron columns were salvaged and the pavilion was restored for the first time in 1988, and again in 2021.

Through this current restoration, the Alliance brought back beautiful features including elaborately detailed wooden trim and moldings at the eaves of the roof, terne-coated, stainless-steel roof shingles, and new high-efficiency light fixtures illuminate a beautiful star-patterned, stained-glass ceiling in the center dome and light the surrounding landscape. Learn more about the restoration of the Concert Grove Pavilion. 

Interested in learning about more of Prospect Park Alliance’s work? Visit our Capital Project Tracker to stay up-to-date on improvement projects in the park. 

c. Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Re:New Prospect Park

May 19, 2021

Prospect Park is the place to be for our community—which is why Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard, has launched Re:New Prospect Park: new stewardship efforts to help serve our community and meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the pandemic, both Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks lost critical funding, which resulted in a reduced workforce and resources. This combined with an increase in park visitors led to the park getting much more love than it can handle. However, thanks to the support of our community of donors and volunteers over the past year, the park has been able to weather the storm, and the Alliance is placing much-needed funds to renew the park in time for our busiest season.

“We know how important the park is to our community and the role is serves in recovering from the challenges of the past year,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “Prospect Park is showing serious signs of wear and tear, and without our normal workforce, we are so grateful for our community, who over the past year has pitched in to help sustain this cherished green oasis.

Critical support  for this initiative is made possible through generous funding from Amazon, the Leon Levy Foundation, NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund in the New York Community Trust, NYC Green Relief + Recovery Fund, and many generous individuals and community members who made first-time or increased gifts to the Alliance during this challenging time.

Re:New Prospect Park Initiatives

Park Maintenance

Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with Ace New York, a non-profit that empowers the homeless, to provide additional maintenance resources to help clean the park on peak weekdays and weekend evenings through October. In addition, the Alliance has brought on board four seasonal groundskeepers to help supplement NYC Parks maintenance crews during this busiest time of year.

The crew is partially funded via a grant from Amazon. 

“Throughout the pandemic, Prospect Park has provided badly needed, outdoor refuge to Brooklyn families,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s New York Head of External Affairs. “Unfortunately, this has meant wear and tear on the park at the exact time resources are strained. By partnering with ACE, Prospect Park Alliance will create job opportunities, while ensuring this local gem remains a resource for our city and borough.”

“ACE is proud to partner with the Alliance to help keep Prospect Park clean and safe for all New Yorkers to enjoy. These jobs not only benefit our City by keeping the park beautiful, they also provide meaningful employment for men and women who have overcome histories of homelessness,” said ACE Executive Director James Martin.

To support these efforts, Prospect Park Alliance is encouraging park visitors to carry in and carry out their trash via promotional signage at all park entrances, the Alliance has also installed large trash receptacles in key areas of the park. View this map for large trash receptacle locations.

Park Improvements

The Alliance will also be re-investing back into the park by improving lawn areas, comfort stations, barbecue areas and even the park’s beloved Drummer’s Grove through funding from our community of donors. Work will take place this spring into early summer, and will include renovated restroom facilities at the Lincoln Road and Children’s Corner, new barbecue grills, fixtures and furnishings at the Picnic House and Bandshell barbecue areas, similar to the new grills installed at the Lincoln Road and Parkside + Ocean Avenue barbecue areas.

We also will be bringing on board an expanded “Fix-It” crew and volunteer services staff to help renew our lawn areas, repaint benches, fix broken fencing and give a deep clean to our rustic and historic structures.

Park Volunteer Opportunities 

Prospect Park Alliance has expanded its Volunteer Services staff to accommodate more volunteer opportunities in the park, including the return of our popular Green and Go Kit and It’s My Park Monday programs.

It’s My Park Mondays
Join us on Mondays for special It’s My Park Day community volunteer events, where groups and individuals can help us sustain the park during these challenging times.

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Green and Go Kits
Want to help keep the park clean and green? Register today to check out a Green and Go Kit, available weekends at various locations around the park. Kits include a trash grabber, garbage bags and gloves. You must be 18 years old to check out a kit, but children are welcome to accompany adults.

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Re:New Volunteer Corps
This spring, Prospect Park Alliance is launching a new volunteer opportunity to help us renew the park following the incredible wear and tear of the past year. The Re:New Volunteer Corps will meet weekly in the park and work on improvement projects from filling divots and reseeding holes in the park’s lawn areas, sweeping paths, and painting benches, railings and storage containers.

Register as a volunteer to receive an invitation to the Re:New Corps, which will launch in June.

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Help us to continue to sustain the park during these challenging times, while enjoying great benefits to enhance your enjoyment of the park.

Become a Prospect Park Alliance member today!

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About Prospect Park Alliance

Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s Backyard, in partnership with the City of New York. The Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the Park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About ACE

ACE was founded in 1992 and provides job-readiness training, work experience, all around support, and much more to New Yorkers who have histories of homelessness, incarceration and addition. At ACE, men and women overcome barriers through hard work to reach their goals of full-time employment, economic self-sufficiency, and family reunification. Over 3,000 men and women have secured full-time employment through ACE’s programs. Learn more at acenewyork.org.

Paul Martinka

Prospect Park Enjoys Wave of Community Support

May 11, 2021

In July of 2020, New York City Parks were faced with an impossible challenge. Just as New Yorkers surged to the parks to escape the confinement of their homes, the City announced the Parks budget was being cut by $84 million. What unfolded was a summer of parks across the city trying desperately to keep up with the record crowds and ensuing litter.

Luckily, as parks experienced their time of need, New Yorkers realized just how much they needed their parks reports the Wall Street Journal. As one of the only places to safely social distance, New Yorkers were doing everything, from workout routines to birthday parties, in parks. And with more time at the park, there was more time to notice the errant takeout container or patchy flower bed. In the past year, New Yorkers citywide stepped up to volunteer at or donate to parks, sometimes at record levels as the Journal discovered while connecting with parks across the city.

Between July 2020 and March 2021, Prospect Park Alliance alone saw a 142% increase in new volunteers and a 42% increase in individual donors. Thanks to this rise in community involvement, Prospect Park Alliance is making essential improvements throughout the park and engaging more workers to ensure that Brooklyn’s Backyard is renewed and ready for all visitors. Alliance President Sue Donoghue took Journal reporter Anne Kadet on a tour of the park to point out improvements the nonprofit is making, thanks to the windfall. They include new benches and landscaping at the Drummer’s Grove and upgraded restrooms, not to mention new picnic tables, coal bins and communal grills in the barbecue areas. 

Read about New Yorkers who have stepped up to take care of their parks in The Wall Street Journal. Interested in becoming a Prospect Park Alliance volunteer? Visit our Volunteer page to learn more and register.

Martin Seck

ecoWEIR In Action

April 23, 2021

This Earth Week, Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard in partnership with the City, debuted its ecoWEIR pilot program in Prospect Park. This innovative natural filtration system, designed by Brooklyn College Professor Jennifer Cherrier, helps to remove nutrients from Prospect Park’s watercourse that cause toxic blue-green algae blooms in the summer months, which are dangerous when in contact with pets and humans. 

The pilot program, the first in an urban park, is funded by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through a $390,000 grant. 

ecoWEIR Paul Martinka0010.JPG

“We are so grateful to our partners at New York State Parks for their support of innovative, environmentally sustainable ways for Prospect Park Alliance to sustain our natural areas,” said Sue Donoghue, President, Prospect Park Alliance. “From their funding of goats to remove invasive plants in our woodland areas, to our ecoWEIR pilot program, New York State Parks has always been responsive and forward-thinking in their efforts to support this urban wonder.”

Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner, NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said, “New York State Parks is grateful for this innovative stewardship project led by Prospect Park Alliance. Lakes, pools, waterfalls and streams are so often the scenic and recreational centerpieces of our parks. This project will help restore the water quality at Prospect Park, while offering lessons that may be applied to other parks that are also threatened by excessive algae growth.”

“The innovative ecoWEIR pilot program is a fantastic way to help manage the harmful algal blooms that pose a threat to pets and humans alike. We are grateful to New York State Parks and Brooklyn College for lending their support to this program,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Efforts like this help make our parks safer and more environmentally sustainable for generations to come.”

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of Prospect Park to our Borough and our City, and I am proud to support New York State’s efforts to recognize this with the financial and technical support the Park requires to operate as an oasis and refuge for millions,” said State Assembly Member Robert Carroll. “I am also proud that Prospect Park will pilot the use of the new ecoWEIR technology to keep the park’s water system healthy for wildlife, pets and residents–Brooklyn just keeps on leading in every way!”

“We are excited that Brooklyn College and Professor Jennifer Cherrier were able to partner with the Prospect Park Alliance and New York State Parks on this important project,” said Brooklyn College President Michelle J. Anderson. “Professor Cherrier’s expertise in the world of aquatic sciences and water resource sustainability is well known. The fact that she is able to also include students in her research to enhance this iconic space cherished by all in Brooklyn makes it even more special.”

While the park is a natural wonderland, many people are not aware that Prospect Park’s lake, pools, waterfalls and streams are fed by the New York City water supply. Phosphates in the water, which make it safe for us to drink, lead to excessive algae growth. This algae growth limits resources for other plant life and wildlife, which is detrimental to the health of the park’s waterways.

Phosphates in the water also produce blooms of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Certain types of cyanobacteria produce toxins that can pose a health risk for humans and animals. Skin contact can cause rashes or eye irritation, while ingestion can cause more serious effects. These blooms have led to closing areas of the Prospect Park Lake that were previously available for dogs to swim due to concerns over exposure.

In 2020, the Alliance installed ecoWEIRs at two locations in the park, near Dog Beach (where city water enters the watercourse). The aim of this system is to reduce phosphates, thereby reducing excessive algae growth. The filtration system and its results are being monitored over the course of multiple seasons to determine if the pilot study is a success. In addition to enhancing the health and resilience of Prospect Park Lake, this project provides an opportunity to educate the public about water health. If successful, the Prospect Park ecoWEIR project will be replicable in parks nationwide.

The pilot will run through December 2021. Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance sustains the park environment. 

c. Paul Martinka

Concert Grove Pavilion Restored

April 7, 2021

Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher gathered to cut the ribbon on the Concert Grove Pavilion in Prospect Park. 

Prospect Park Alliance’s restoration of the Concert Grove Pavilion was made possible through $2 million in funding from former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council. The restoration of this historic structure, which was closed to the public in 2014 due to structural damage, repaired water damage, reconstructed missing historical details and added new lighting to bring new life to this cherished community gathering place.

The Concert Grove Pavilion is available for reserved events by the public via the NYC Parks Special Events permitting process. Please visit our permits page for more information. 

“The Concert Grove Pavilion is a beloved landmark, and has served our community as the location for family reunions, birthday parties and celebrations for generations,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue. “Thanks to funding from the Brooklyn Delegation, Prospect Park Alliance’s team of architects have been able to restore one of Brooklyn’s brightest jewels—and we’re excited to welcome the community back to enjoy it.”

“The Concert Grove Pavilion is a key piece of the identity of Prospect Park; as it serves as a venue for enjoying concerts, celebrating special occasions, and so much more,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Through the support of Prospect Park Alliance,  former Speaker Melissa Viverito, and the City Council this historic structure has been revitalized for an entirely new generation to enjoy and explore.”

“During this health crisis Brooklynites have been using Prospect Park and all its amenities more than ever and I think everyone in New York City’s appreciation has grown for their local parks during this pandemic” said Council Member Brad Lander. “I am thrilled that with the completion of the Concert Grove Pavilion, it will add an additional place for a new generation of families and picnickers to enjoy the pavilion and all Prospect Park has to offer.”

“The Concert Grove Pavilion is an important part of what makes Prospect Park such an inviting place for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene. “I want to commend and thank the Prospect Park Alliance for partnering with The Brooklyn Delegation and former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of the City Council to make this renovation possible, and for helping to maintain its historical significance within the park.”

The Pavilion was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874 and, as was typical of the time, borrows motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish and Egyptian architecture. Situated in the Upper Concert Grove in the park’s southeast corner, adjacent to Lakeside, the pavilion was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1974, but the elaborate cast iron columns were salvaged and the pavilion was restored in 1988.

Through this current restoration, the Alliance fully restored the Pavilion, bringing back beautiful features including elaborately detailed wooden trim and moldings at the eaves of the roof, and terne-coated, stainless-steel roof shingles. New high-efficiency light fixtures illuminate a beautiful star-patterned, stained-glass ceiling in the center dome and light the surrounding landscape. The original colors of the painted wood ceilings and iron columns were matched through extensive color testing and mockups. All of the iron railings and roof finials were trucked to an iron foundry in Alabama that specializes in historical restoration where missing elements were recast and damaged pieces were repaired and restored. The Alliance also installed an intricate waterproofing system to prevent future water damage of the structure.

In 2018, Prospect Park Alliance was honored with an Award for Excellence in Design by the New York City Public Design Commission for the restoration design of the Concert Grove Pavilion by the Alliance’s Capital Projects team, which includes architects, landscape architects, construction supervisors and an archivist. 

For more information about capital improvements in Prospect Park, visit our Capital Projects Tracker.