c. Martin Seck

City of Forest Day in Prospect Park

September 22, 2022

Join Prospect Park Alliance at the first annual City of Forest Day on Saturday, October 15 in Prospect Park. Presented by Forest for All NYC in partnership with the Parks and Open Space Partners – NYC Coalition and NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Forest Day is a day of activities across the city to raise awareness of the importance of the New York City urban forest, and the essential role New Yorkers play every day in caring for the “lungs” of our city. Prospect Park Alliance presents an array of activities to raise awareness and celebrate Brooklyn’s last remaining forest including nature education programming, a volunteer opportunity and a tour of the woodlands in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

City of Forest Day at the Audubon Center

10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Families and youth can enjoy nature arts and crafts: learn about the variety of leaves that compose the urban forest, and arrange fallen leaves into a picture. Attendees can also lend a hand by raking leaves around the Audubon Center to help us prepare the park for winter. At 12 pm, set out on a nature walk to learn about the seasonal behavior of trees, plants and wildlife throughout Prospect Park.

Park Pitch In: City of Forest Day

10:00 am – 1:00 pm

Registration Required

Join Prospect Park Alliance for a special Park Pitch-In volunteer event on City of Forest Day where we’ll be focusing our efforts on Lookout Hill, a scenic woodland restored by Prospect Park Alliance that lies on the park’s highest point, with views as far as Coney Island. Volunteers will help pick up trash and litter that can harm this important wildlife habitat, as well as  maintaining trails and pedestrian paths, as well as weeding and other woodland restoration activities. This event is suitable for teens over 14 and adults.

Please note, volunteer registration will open on Wednesday, October 5.

City of Forest Day: A History of Brooklyn’s Last Remaining Forest

10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Registration Required

Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s largest and oldest forest, an important hotspot of biodiversity with over 30,000 trees of 200+ species. On this guided walking tour with Prospect Park Alliance touring partner, Turnstile Tours, we will explore the history of the stewardship of this forest over the past 150 years, looking at some of the park’s oldest trees, exploring the management practices developed by park co-designer Frederick Law Olmsted, the work of the Alliance to restore these urban woodlands over the past 30 years, and contemporary challenges to forests due to climate change and invasive pests. This tour is appropriate for all ages, and we will walk approximately 1.5 miles. There will be limited access to restrooms, and extended periods of standing and walking over uneven surfaces is required.

c. Kate Abrams, Prospect Park Alliance

Summer Success for 2022 Woodlands Youth Crew

September 14, 2022

This summer, a familiar sight graced the park—the Prospect Park Alliance Woodlands Youth Crew, hard at work during the months of July and August. This beloved youth employment program provides teens with employment, training, mentorship and professional experience in environmental conservation and park stewardship. With many previous crew members recently aged out and graduated from high school, this year’s crew welcomed a largely new batch of teens from 10 local high schools.

“We had members of the crew with some work experience in this area, but for the most part, the work they did this summer was very new to them,” says Kate Abrams, Prospect Park Alliance Youth Program Manager & EcoZone Gardener who manages the crew. The 13 crew members and two supervisors, veteran Woodlands Youth Crew members Phil Lubrun and Victoria Henry-Harriott, worked in the heavily wooded Ravine, focusing on invasive species removal and erosion control along the park’s watercourse. This year’s crew also participated in a work exchange with the Gowanus Green Team members from the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, inviting them to don waders for phragmites removal in Prospect Park, and traveling to the Canal to learn about the propagation of herbaceous native plants.

Members of the 2022 Woodlands Youth Crew hard at work in Prospect Park. c. Kate Abrams, Prospect Park Alliance

The Woodlands Youth Crew is an essential part of the Alliance’s work to restore and sustain Brooklyn’s last remaining forest. The program, which offers spring, summer and fall sessions, is team-based with a focus on collaboration. This year’s group got a chance to build new relationships and conservation skills during their time in Prospect Park.

“There were some on the crew that loved taking out the invasive trees, some loved using the handsaw…just seeing the evolution of every person on the crew was great. Over time I watched them taking initiative with the work, applying their new knowledge, and they started to run themselves in a way,” says Abrams.

By the end of the program, Woodlands Youth Crew participants gained skills in native and invasive plant identification, teamwork and communication; and developed their interest in nature in general, reports Abrams.

“I loved working with this group,” says crew member Max Piatetsky. “Not only did they make work that much more fun, but the things I learned from them and the memories we made will last for a long time.”

“The Woodlands Youth Crew was an opportunity to do something concrete to help the park while learning more about its plants and forest ecology,” says fellow crew member Isadora Davis. “My favorite part was learning how to identify different plants, and what their roles were in the ecosystem.”

“There were a lot of great moments,” says crew member Sam Klein Stearns. “I found myself quickly engulfed in an incredible community of all around great people.”

The Woodlands Youth Crew recruits new members during the spring season—learn more about the program.

The Woodlands Youth Crew receives substantial support from NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, with additional generous funding from the William C. Bullitt Foundation, Gray Foundation, Lavelle Family Foundation, and Zeldin Family Foundation.

Members of the 2022 Woodlands Youth Crew. c. Kate Abrams, Prospect Park Alliance

Jewish Artisans of the Prospect Park Carousel

September 13, 2022

What do Jewish carving traditions and the horses of the Prospect Park Carousel have in common? Prospect Park’s beloved 1912 Carousel has been a staple of fun and celebration for generations, and its design can be traced back to nineteenth century Jewish immigrants trained in the art of Torah ark carving.

Many Jewish immigrants who arrived in America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century were artisans, immersed in Eastern and Central European skills and traditions of woodcarving. They were skilled in the art of carvings—horses, eagles, foliage and fruit for Torah arks and gravestones. Upon their arrival to the United States, many extended their craft to the American carousel industry, including Charles Carmel, carver of the Prospect Park Carousel.

Carmel fled antisemitism in his native Russia and arrived in the United States in 1883 at age 18. He worked as an apprentice in a workshop with other Jewish immigrant artists who became famed carvers responsible for many carousels across the country. These artisans’ carving styles collectively became known as the ‘Coney Island Style’ of design with trademark elements that mirror the meticulous design elements of many synagogues and Torah ark carvings.

The Prospect Park Carousel lion alongside a Torah ark carving from around 1882 by an unknown artist. c. Laura Robinson and FolkArtMuseum.org

Assya Plavskina, Prospect Park Alliance’s Architectural Conservator, has worked extensively to conserve and mantain the beloved Brooklyn Carousel. Plavskina says, “Carmel’s style is very grand and has a strong focus on iconography and symbolism. Many of the horses are military-esque. The practicality of the armor, swords, and gilding, as well as the look of being in constant movement are trademarks of Carmel and the other carvers from his time.” Similar to Torah ark carvings, the Carousel relies heavily on iconography and symbolism. Carmel’s horses in particular also lean towards a practical style featuring swords, armor, and generally sturdy and practical horses over more whimsical or fantastical animals.

c. Virginia Freire and Jordan Rathkopf

Drawing from the craft and the detail required to carve Torah ark iconography, Carmel and his counterparts created incredibly life-like animals. Elements like bared teeth, tossing heads, flying manes, outstretched tongues, and vibrant gilding are staples of the Coney Island Style and mirror the dramatic iconography of Torah ark woodwork from the time. Interestingly, Carmel’s style in particular places an emphasis on the outward appearance of the animals. A walk through the Prospect Park Carousel shows no detail spared on the outer-facing side, while the inner-side of the horses are much more simplified without the ornate textures and colors of the outer side: a notable element of Carmel’s methodical and efficient approach to his work.

Heavy gold and silver gilding were key elements of Carmel’s design style that can be seen on several horses at the Prospect Park Carousel. c.  Paul Marinka

Carousel Horses in the workshop during restoration. c. Prospect Park Alliance Archives

Want to learn more? Take a visit to the Prospect Park Carousel to see which classic elements of Coney Island Style you can spot and keep an eye out for parallels between nineteenth century Torah ark carvings and the 53 magnificent horses riding alongside a lion, a giraffe, a deer and two dragon-pulled chariots at the Carousel.

c. Martin Seck

September is Tree Appreciation Month!

September 9, 2022

September has arrived and Prospect Park Alliance is ringing in Tree Appreciation Month and Climate Week NYC as we remind you to Be a Park Champion and help us extend our Summer of Stewardship into the fall! Prospect Park is home to over 30,000 trees of over 175 varieties—and each plays an essential role in keeping our human and wildlife communities healthy and happy.

While the park’s trees may appear big and strong, like any living thing they are susceptible to injury and disease. With over 10 million visitors in the park each year, the trees in Prospect Park need all of our support:

  • Please do not hang hammocks or decorations from our trees, and avoid climbing or breaking branches: this damages the tree bark and can make trees susceptible to disease.
  • Please stay on designated paths in the woodlands to protect fragile wildlife habitats, and make sure to dispose of your trash properly. This will help our trees grow for generations to come.

Check out the ways in which you can celebrate the park’s trees this month:

7 Surprising Tree Facts: Prospect Park Alliance Forester Mike Marino is an expert on Prospect Park’s trees, and gives an in-depth peek behind the scenes at the amazing facts you never knew about the trees in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

TreeKeeper Database: Did you know? Prospect Park Alliance has an interactive map tool that allows you to look up the species and diameter of every tree in the park, as well as the amazing ecosystem benefits our community receives from the park trees.

Fall Volunteering in the Park: Want to take a hands-on approach to caring for the park and its trees? Prospect Park Alliance has a full slate of fall volunteer opportunities! From our weekend Park Pitch In events to Junior Volunteer Corps, there are many ways to lend a hand in your park—sign up today!

Contribute a Tree to Prospect Park: Prospect Park Alliance runs a Commemorative Tree Program in the park. Community members can donate to plant a new tree in Prospect Park in honor of a loved one or for a special occasion. The gift helps replace lost trees and ensures the ongoing ecological health of the park.

Pledge to be a Park Champion: Right now, more than 1,200 members of our community have taken the Park Champion pledge. Help us reach 1,500 during September! Prospect Park is essential to the health and wellbeing of millions of community members, and the hundreds of species of plants and wildlife that call Brooklyn’s Backyard home. Take this important step to pledge to Be A Park Champion, and enter to win great prizes.

Learn much more about how you can be a Park Champion in Prospect Park.

Meet the Park Champion Mascot: Thelonious “Theo” Chipmunk

Prospect Park Alliance received over 1,000 name submissions and votes for the new Park Champion mascot, and we’re pleased to announce that the winner is…Thelonious “Theo” Chipmunk!

The name, which was submitted by multiple people, pays homage to the great NYC-based jazz musician, Thelonious Monk, who often played in Brooklyn. This chipmunk will help educate our community about how to be a #ParkChampion and important ways to keep the park green and vibrant. Thank you to all who participated in the naming competition!

As Prospect Park Alliance’s Summer of Stewardship continues, follow along as Theo shares ways to keep the park’s community of people, plants and wildlife safe and healthy with every visit to Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Learn more about how you can become a Park Champion and help the trees, birds, wildlife, and community of Brooklyn’s Backyard.

c.Elizabeth Keegin Colley

7 Surprising Tree Facts

Prospect Park is home to 30,000 trees of over 175 species which provide a variety of essential benefits to our community of plants, people and wildlife. Here at Prospect Park Alliance, we’re asking you to Be a Park Champion by celebrating Tree Appreciation Month!

Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management team plants and maintains trees strategically to help Brooklyn’s last remaining forest thrive and partners with NYC Parks Forestry staff to  to sustain the health of the park and its trees. We chatted with the Alliance’s Forester, Mike Marino, for an inside look into 7 surprising facets of tree life in the park.

1. Slow and Steady Wins the Race

There is generally a correlation between how slow a tree grows and how long it lives. Trees that grow slowly are often the ones that live the longest and remain the strongest. If you spot an Oak tree over 40 inches or so in diameter, it’s likely to have been in the park for over a hundred years, and to have grown very slowly throughout its tenure in the park.

Fun fact: The London Plane trees by the Concert Grove Pavilion and the Lower Concert Grove were all planted at the time of the park’s creation about 150 years ago and are original to the design of the park. Oak and Beech trees are also two of the oldest native species found in Prospect Park, so keep an eye out for these strong and steady species throughout Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Marino alongside one of his favorite trees in the park: a centuries-old Willow Oak tree at the Peninsula off of Wellhouse Drive.

2. Trees Can Communicate

Through processes unseen by humans, trees can communicate and look out for one another. Trees release hormones through their leaves called volatile organic compounds, and nearby trees can sense and respond to these hormones. This can happen when one tree is infected with an invasive pest or other threat and through its leaves, sends a signal that something is wrong to another tree. The tree receiving this ‘warning’ can then protect itself by emitting a chemical in its bark that makes it less appetizing to a pest. This survival tactic means there is strength in numbers when it comes to trees– and environments like forests can help preserve species and protect trees.

3. Trees Could Not Exist Without Fungi

Visions of toadstools may be front-of-mind when you hear the word ‘fungi’, but small strands of fungi known as mycelium are essential to the health of all trees. These fungi strands perform a variety of important functions, including the decomposition of organic material to recycle nutrients back into the soil. With the help of mycelium, the tree’s roots are able to extend their reach and retrieve the nutrients and water they need to thrive. Through their roots and through fungi, trees can also send nutrients and minerals to other trees, sometimes even trees of different species, to help their fellow trees stay healthy.

A grove of young trees planted as part of Prospect Park Alliance’s Commemorative Tree Program.

4. The Older the Tree, the Greater the Benefits

From cleaning our air, removing toxins, providing wildlife habitats and more, we receive immense environmental benefits from trees. But the benefits of ten young trees do not measure up to the benefits provided by one 100 year old tree. We need mature trees to reap the full span of benefits to our health and environment. Mature trees give shade and cool down the air, they are able to absorb more water which mitigates flooding, and capture greater quantities of carbon dioxide and produce more essential oxygen for us to breathe.

These benefits of fully-grown trees make it all the more essential to be good stewards to both the long-standing trees of Prospect Park and the newly planted ones that will continue to grow, mature and benefit our community for centuries to come.

5. Trees Mist Us

Ever wonder how exactly parks stay so much cooler than city streets in sweltering summer heat? Trees are to thank for the wave of relief we feel from parks in the summer months. Through a process called evapotranspiration, mist gets spritzed out through tree leaves and into the air, keeping the air relatively cool compared to city streets.

Thanks to these trees, on hot summer days, the temperature inside the park can be as much as 10 degrees cooler than the surrounding concrete streets. A single tree can have the same effect as 5 medium air conditioners—with zero electricity used. In Prospect Park, a recent survey of 12,000 of the park’s trees found that our forest produced the equivalent of over $853,874 every year!

6. Forward-Thought is Key

Alliance Landscape Management staff work in collaboration with NYC Parks Forestry staff year round to prune, maintain and care for the park’s landscape and woodland areas to make sure trees in all stages of life are as healthy as possible to benefit our community for generations to come. By considering the way people use the park, the ecology, safety, and health of individual trees, the Alliance and NYC Parks Forestry teams use a multidimensional approach to keep the woodlands and landscape of the park healthy and thriving.

Prospect Park Alliance’s Landscape Management staff work to plant varying tree species that grow well together throughout the park to help strengthen the health and resilience of Brooklyn’s Backyard. If there’s one invasive pest or environmental stressor that attacks a certain type of tree, a diverse range of species makes it so that an entire forest isn’t wiped out in response to something unexpected in the environment. This is a way of having contingencies and back-ups to keep our forest and landscapes healthy.

“Even when we plant new trees, we’re looking 50 years down the road,” says Marino. “This tree will get bigger: How will it play with its neighboring trees and the uses of the park? What pruning will be needed to provide a strong foundation? We need to have forward-thought as we provide proactive work and care.” Marino emphasizes that this is also where stewardship comes in, “All of our daily interactions with the trees, no matter how small, accumulate and impact trees at all stages. Stress builds up in trees, just as it does in humans. And physically, if we damage a tree’s bark, it’s as if our organs were directly beneath our skin, with nothing to protect us from our environment.”

7. Every One Of Us Can Help Prospect Park’s Trees

To help our community reap the benefits of century-old trees and help young trees continue to thrive for future generations, remember to admire trees from afar and not to pick any leaves, flowers or bark that our ecosystem of people, plants, and animals need to stay healthy. Remember not to hang decorations or hammocks on trees to help keep the trees of Brooklyn’s Backyard green and thriving.

Marino also recommends getting involved and learning as much as possible about trees to help support our ecosystem. Resources to learn about the trees of Prospect Park and beyond range from participating in volunteer opportunities, visiting the TreeKeeper Database to explore the specific environmental benefits of each tree in Prospect Park, reading up on tree behavior in books (Marino recommends Peter Wohllleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees), or even taking classes and becoming a licensed street tree pruner with the Trees New York Citizen Pruner Course.

Learn more about how to Be a Park Champion and care for the trees, wildlife, and natural landscape of Prospect Park.

Meet the Tennis Center Staff: April Miller Lopez

August 9, 2022

Prospect Park’s courts require a labor of love to stay in their excellent condition, and April Miller Lopez, Prospect Park Tennis Center’s Senior Facility Maintainer is who makes it happen. With over five years experience at the Tennis Center, April has overseen and taken on a wide range of duties to keep the courts rally-ready at all times of year.

For one hour a day in the summer, April waters each of the center’s nine clay courts meticulously to protect the surface in extreme summer temperatures. “Outdoor season is my favorite season,” says April, “I love having that hour to focus solely on the courts and zone in to what needs to be done. The watering is like my ‘me-time’.” In the indoor season, when the courts cannot close for even an hour during the hours of operation, when play is nonstop, court repairs, watering and rolling happen after hours.

Adrian Clarke, the Tennis Center’s Director, explains: “These are high-maintenance courts, and April is the force that keeps our courts so pristine.”

Over the past two springs, the Tennis Center has contracted with a company called Oval Tennis to provide tips and training on how to best maintain our clay courts, and over those two years April and her team have gained a tremendous amount of knowledge which they have poured into caring for the courts. With this new knowledge and advancement, the Tennis Center team no longer has to “patch” the courts when damaged, but instead can repair entire areas when needed, which is a prominent area of April’s work. “It makes a difference to our players. The community has made it known that they can tell that our quality of care for the courts is always improving, which is what it’s all about. People are constantly praising the courts now and that’s a testament to April’s work.”

On what’s to come in the future of the Tennis Center, April says she is looking forward to seeing how things continue to change over the next seasons, “With the upcoming permanent fabric fixtures, I’m excited to see the shift for how the courts will work in the future–it will feel different than what we’re used to, with the bubble we have now. It’ll be the end of an era, but we’re looking forward to the future and continuing to provide a high quality experience to our players”.

Learn more about programming at the Prospect Park Tennis Center and sign up for tournaments, court time, lessons and more. 

Re:New Volunteers Tackle Summer

August 8, 2022

Volunteers with Prospect Park Alliance’s Re:New Initiative have been hard at work all summer long to keep Brooklyn’s Backyard green and vibrant. The Re:New initiative was launched in May of 2021 as a way to serve our community and meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the surge of visitors and increased use of the park. Since the program’s inception, Prospect Park Alliance has seen enthusiastic engagement from community members looking to lend a hand in Brooklyn’s Backyard. So far in 2022 alone the team has completed 20 Re:New volunteer events with over 145 participants– an ever-increasing number with weekly events throughout the year.

For over two years, the Re:New Volunteer Corps has met weekly in different locations to help with a variety of essential projects to improve and sustain Brooklyn’s Backyard and make marked change across the park. Tyrell Ingram, Prospect Park Alliance’s Volunteer Services Program Coordinator, works closely with the Re:New initiative and shared just how essential the volunteer corps has been to the park this season. “Even during this especially hot summer season we’ve had, volunteers have completed so much in their work. These projects work towards a broad range of maintenance and restoration: the group helps maintain the Alliance’s donor trees by regularly applying mulch where needed, removing litter and invasives, edging paths, painting benches and containers and much more.”

A transformational recent Re:New project where volunteers focused on the Lincoln Road Playground to place sand in the sandbox, remove weeds, and collect litter to beautify the playground. 

Volunteers recently mulched paths on Lookout Hill, edged paths along center drive, and removed bags of litter from the area with the Re:New Corps.

Volunteers at a recent July Re:New Volunteer Corps Event where the team focused efforts around Parkside + Ocean Avenue. Volunteers painted, removed over 20 bags of weeds and 30 bags of trash.

Want to get involved? Join Prospect Park Alliance this Fall at an upcoming  Re:New Volunteer Event held every Tuesday afternoon through November 22 and Friday mornings through August 26.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities in Brooklyn’s Backyard and get involved.

c. Vinata Ciputra

August is Wildlife Month

August 3, 2022

Prospect Park Alliance’s Summer of Stewardship continues, and this August is Wildlife Month! Living in a city, it can be easy to forget that we live alongside all manner of flying, crawling and scampering creatures—and not all of them thrive in our concrete jungle. Prospect Park’s 585 acres are a critical habitat for countless wildlife species who call the park home. This month, get to know these wonderful species and learn how you can #BeAParkChampion and help them thrive.

Test your park wildlife knowledge: Did you know that you can find 15 species of mammals in Prospect Park? Or that Prospect Park Lake hosts a large population of largemouth bass? Take our Prospect Park Wildlife Quiz and see how much you know about the creatures that live in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Name our Park Champion mascot: We received over 500 submissions from the community for the name of our new mascot—thank you! This chipmunk will help educate our community about how to be a #ParkChampion and important ways to keep the park green and vibrant. Prospect Park Alliance naturalists narrowed down the list to 5 names—vote now on your favorite!

Pledge to be a Park Champion: Right now, more than 850 members of our community have taken the Park Champion pledge. Help us reach 1,000 today! Prospect Park is essential to the health and wellbeing of millions of community members, and the hundreds of species of plants and wildlife that call Brooklyn’s Backyard home. Take this important step to pledge to Be A Park Champion, and enter to win great prizes.

Learn much more about being a Park Champion in Prospect Park.

Martin Seck

City Releases New Budget with Funding for Prospect Park

July 13, 2022

On July 1, the City began a new budget year, including funding for NYC Parks and Brooklyn’s Backyard. Thanks to the advocacy of community members, the Play Fair Coalition and local elected officials including New York City Council Members Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph and Parks Chair Shekar Krishnan, the City has strengthened its commitment to its parks, and in the words of Mayor Eric Adams, made a “down payment” on his pledge for 1% of the City budget for parks.

The Play Fair campaign, which recognizes the importance of properly funding city parks, has worked with its coalition partners, including Prospect Park Alliance, to advocate for more funding for park operations, including maintenance workers, gardeners, Urban Park Rangers and the Parks Enforcement Patrol. In the current $101 billion budget, $624 million has been allocated for Parks, which is the largest parks budget to date.

In Prospect Park, the City and Prospect Park Alliance work hand in hand to care for Brooklyn’s Backyard, with the Alliance taking care of the “green and blue” landscapes (woodlands and waterways), and the City taking the lead in basic maintenance and trash management. In the busy summer months, the Alliance supplements the City’s trash management efforts via a partnership with the non-profit ACE New York, which provides a supplementary crew on peak weekdays and weekends.

“We applaud our local elected officials, and our community, for their advocacy of Prospect Park,” said Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow. “Prospect Park is truly Brooklyn’s Backyard, and welcomes millions of community members each year. Our park thrives through the public-private partnership between the non-profit Alliance and the City, and the partnership would not be possible without our community’s support.”

In addition to operating support, the City budget also includes funding for capital improvements to our parks, recognizing the fact that parks need infrastructure upgrades in addition to basic maintenance to keep these heavily used public spaces safe and accessible for millions of New Yorkers each year.

In Prospect Park, through the support of the community, and the advocacy of our local elected officials, Council Members Shahana Hanif, Crystal Hudson and Rita Joseph, the City allocated funding for a number of projects to improve the park.

I’m proud to have worked alongside my Council colleagues to ensure that our Parks Department received the funding it deserved in this budget,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif. “Our open green spaces are essential to the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers and equitable investments ensure they are accessible to everyone. I’m happy to see that Prospect Park received ample funding for projects like improvements to the lakeshore through this budget and to complement hundreds of thousands of dollars in new funding going to the park through Participatory Budgeting both in mine and neighboring districts.”

“This year’s historic investments in our parks is a formal acknowledgment that green spaces are vital to the wellbeing of all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Crystal Hudson. “The funding we secured will go toward keeping our parks safe, clean and beautiful through much-needed infrastructure improvements, including in Brooklyn’s Backyard, Prospect Park––a space that not only offers all of us a place to play, exercise, and rest, but also acts as a critical hub for community building. These investments are crucial, and thanks to the advocacy of Prospect Park Alliance, we won them for our neighbors. I look forward to continuing to work alongside  Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks to maintain investments in Brooklyn’s Backyard and parks across the City.”

“Prospect Park is essential to the neighborhoods I serve both as a community gathering space  and a cherished green space that improves our health and well being,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “I am committed to working with our partners at NYC Parks and Prospect Park Alliance to keep Prospect Park thriving, and investing in important projects that will benefit the park and our community.”

“Under the leadership of Speaker Adams and with my Council colleagues, we won a record budget for NYC Parks this year, including resources to maintain beautiful, restorative places like Prospect Park,” said Council Member Shekar Krishnan, Chair of the Committee on Parks and Recreation. “We achieved permanent funding to protect the jobs of hundreds of parks workers that keep our parks clean and safe. We fought to win funding for our natural areas, forestry, and Green Thumb gardens. This is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor to achieve his promise of 1% or $1 billion for parks.”

Lakeshore Improvements: through the advocacy of our community (more than 1,100 community members shared letters of support) and Council Members Hanif, Hudson and Rita Joseph, Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and the Brooklyn Delegation allocated $2 million for the restoration of Lakeshore, which will make environmental and accessibility improvements along the shoreline of the Prospect Park Lake. This support leveraged an additional $1 million from the Mayor, for a total of $3 million in funding toward our $20 million goal. This funding will enable us to create a master plan and execute a portion of the restoration, and we look forward to continuing to advocate for funding in future budget cycles to fund the full project.

Parade Ground Field 9: Through discretionary funding from Council Member Joseph, $800,000 was allocated for the restoration of Field 9, a heavily used turf field in the Parade Ground. This allocation, in addition to a $700,000 allocation by former Council Member Mathieu Eugene in a previous budget cycle, will enable us to kick off this $1.5 million project, and contribute greatly to the communities who rely on this field for recreation.

Parkside Entrance Pergola: Council Member Joseph also allocated $750,000 for the restoration of a historic pergola at the Parkside Entrance. This is the final piece in the restoration of this entrance, which will also be home to a monument of Shirley Chisholm.

Willink Comfort Station: Council Member Hudson allocated $500,000 toward the $4 million restoration of the Willink Comfort Station, a historic facility at the entrance to the park near the Carousel (where Flatbush meets Empire Boulevard) that has not been restored in over 50 years and needs a full restoration plus mechanical upgrade. We look forward to continuing to advocate for full funding of this project.

Esdale Bridge: Through District 39 Participatory Budgeting, Council Member Hanif allocated $500,000 for the restoration of this historic rustic bridge, which connects the Long Meadow to the Ravine (at the pathway that traverses the Long Meadow from the Picnic House).

Pathway Lighting (Center Drive to Long Meadow Ballfields): Through District 40 Participatory Budgeting, Council Member Joseph allocated $130,000 to add new lighting along a woodland pathway that connects Center Drive at the Nethermead to the Long Meadow Ballfields.

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