Re:New Initiative Returns for 2022

May 9, 2022

Prospect Park is the place to be for our community, which is why Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Brooklyn’s Backyard, is continuing the Re:New Prospect Park initiative for a second year. These efforts help serve our community to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge of visitors in the park.

Due to the pandemic, Prospect Park Alliance 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 two years, the park has been able to weather the storm, and the Alliance is placing much-needed funds to continue our Re:New efforts in time for our busiest season.

“Prospect Park has been so important for all of us these last two years. Our community has supported the park as volunteers, donors and advocates, and enabled us to sustain this essential green oasis,” said Prospect Park Alliance Interim President James Snow. 

“During the pandemic, it was made abundantly clear just how vital parks are to the health and wellbeing of this city,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “As we continue to recover, our priority is to ensure that parks in all neighborhoods are clean, green and safe. We are so grateful for the support of our partners at the Prospect Park Alliance who share in our commitment through programs like the Re:New Initiative.”

Critical support for this initiative is made possible through generous funding from Amazon, and many generous individuals and community members who make annual contributions to the Alliance. Learn more about Prospect Park Alliance membership.

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 groundskeepers to help supplement NYC Parks maintenance crews during this busiest time of year.

The crew is partially funded via a grant from Amazon.

“Prospect Park is a local gem offering healthy outdoor recreation to Brooklyn families,” said Carley Graham Garcia, Amazon’s Head of Community Affairs in New York. “This creative initiative offers new job opportunities, while ensuring Prospect Park continues to serve our local neighborhood especially as we head into the summer months. Amazon is thrilled to renew this partnership for Summer 2022.”

To support these efforts, Prospect Park Alliance is encouraging park visitors to 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.

Park Improvements
The Alliance will continue the re-investment in the park to tackle important improvement projects through funding from our community of donors. Work will take place to improve pedestrian pathways, repair stonework at the Lakeside esplanade and locations throughout the park, install new picnic tables at the Wellhouse barbecue area, and improve drainage throughout the park—an increasingly critical tool in improving the resilience of the park against major rain and flooding events.

In 2021, the Re:New initiative successfully brought improvements to every corner of the park. The Lincoln Road comfort station received a complete makeover, new barbecues, furnishings and fixtures were installed at the popular Picnic House and Bandshell barbecue areas, new benches were added to the beloved Drummer’s Grove, and broken ornamental brickwork at the historic Boathouse terrance was repaired.

Volunteer Opportunities
Prospect Park Alliance has brought back the popular Re:New Volunteer Corps—a weekly volunteer program that tackles park improvement projects made necessary by the high volume of visitors. The crew works alongside Alliance staff to maintain playgrounds, painting over unsightly graffiti, weed areas overgrown with invasive plants and repaint park benches and railings.

In 2021, the Re:New Volunteer Corps was a great success and the crew worked on a variety of park improvement projects. Over the course of the season, they 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.

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. Learn more at prospectpark.org. 

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 addiction. 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.

c. Paul Martinka

Alliance Receives Top Honor at Lucy G. Moses Awards

April 22, 2022

At the 2022 Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards, New York Landmarks Conservancy’s highest honors for preservation, Prospect Park Alliance received a top honor—The Preservation Organization Award. The Moses Awards recognize individuals, organizations, architects, craftspeople and building owners for their extraordinary contributions to preserving our City. As noted at the ceremony, the award is in recognition of the Alliance’s excellent stewardship for the collection of historic structures and sites in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park.

Watch the 32nd Annual Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards online.

Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit that sustains Prospect Park in partnership with the city, has a team of architects, designers, and landscape managers who are dedicated to preserving the original vision of the park as realized by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, while evolving the park to meet contemporary needs.

Among the Alliance’s previous preservation projects are the Prospect Park Carousel, the Boathouse, the Picnic House, the Bailey Fountain and more. “In each instance, the Alliance has recognized the value of these sites to connect community and honor history,” notes the Landmarks Conservancy’s Awards materials. “They have devoted resources, used original documentation to recreate lost architectural features, and have executed these projects to the highest standards. The picturesque results delight visitors and retain the park’s historic character.”

The Alliance has received three Moses Awards for preservation projects in the past decade: the Concert Grove Reconstruction (2012), the Wellhouse (2019) and Endale Arch (2020).

Learn about more projects coming up in the park on the Alliance’s Capital Project Tracker.

Many of the members of Prospect Park Alliance’s award-winning design and construction team. Left to right, back row: Jillian Pagano, Landscape Architect II; Alden Maddry, Senior Architect; Christian Zimmerman, Vice President, Capital and Landscape Management; Amy Peck, Archivist; Robert Garcia, Assistant Landscape Architect. Left to right, front row, Assya Plavskina, Construction Supervisor—Historic Preservation; Sarena Rabinowitz, Assistant Architect. 

NYLC_042022_MOSES AWARDS
c. Martin Seck

Celebrate Earth Day in Prospect Park

April 13, 2022

Join the celebration! This Earth Day season, join Prospect Park Alliance for nature exploration activities, open-air learning, volunteer activities, virtual learning resources, and stewardship to give back to our park and our planet. 

  • Volunteer
    • Prospect Park Alliance’s spring volunteer season is underway and there are many opportunities to lend a hand in Brooklyn’s Backyard. Work on essential park projects with Re:New Volunteer Corps on Tuesdays, help pick up litter with Green + Go Kits, and more! Register to be a Prospect Park Volunteer and see all of our upcoming opportunities at prospectpark.org/volunteer.
  • Nature Activities + In-Park Events
    • Join Prospect Park Alliance on Saturday April 23 for nature activities, education opportunities and more! Head to B’Earthday Bash to celebrate Earth Day, the Prospect Park Audubon Center’s 20th Anniversary, and the birthday of two legends: naturalist John James Audubon, and landscape architect and Prospect Park’s creator, Frederick Law Olmsted. Participate in  interactive activities for all ages, nature walks and a special exhibit on the 200th Anniversary of Olmsted’s birth. Learn about the environment in a special one-day session of University Open Air, with sustainability-focused free courses and workshops under the trees in Prospect Park.

What We’re Planting in the Park This Spring

Spring has sprung in Prospect Park! Prospect Park Alliance gardeners and volunteers are putting on their gardening gloves and preparing for our seasonal planting. This spring, our Landscape Management team is preparing to add 10,953 plants to the park, including: 171 trees, 338 shrubs, and 10,499 herbaceous plugs.

Prospect Park comprises 585 acres of rolling meadows, waterways and woodlands in the heart of Brooklyn, and is home to the borough’s only lake and last remaining forest. This landscape, beloved by Brooklynites, is also an essential wildlife habitat and hosts 250 species of birds and other important flora and fauna. For over 30 years, Prospect Park Alliance has overseen the park’s natural areas, and major improvements have been made to the entire park ecosystem. This spring’s plantings continue this essential work to keep the park green and vibrant.

Many of the new trees will be planted as part of the Alliance’s Commemorative Giving program, an opportunity for the public to donate a tree to the park in honor of a loved one or for a special occasion. These additions help replace lost trees and ensure the ecological health of the park.

These trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plugs are destined for areas throughout Prospect Park. The southern shore of the Peninsula will receive native wetland plants in an effort to prevent the further erosion of the Lake edge and the expansion of the invasive phragmites, while creating a visually appealing native waterfowl habitat. At the Butterfly Meadow atop Lookout Hill, volunteers have done extensive work clearing the area of undesirable invasive plants to make way for more beneficial species.

One of the spring’s largest plantings will take place in the landscape surrounding the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. Alliance staff have been hard at work this winter experimenting with sheet mulching in anticipation of the new plant additions in the area. “It will be interesting to see how the sheet mulching works,” says Ecozone Gardener AJ Logan. “Even before we plant new things we are already seeing some of both our friends and foes of the plant world sneaking in around the edges of the cardboard.”

The plantings at Lakeside will include a variety of species well suited for our area, and selected for their ecological benefits within our ecosystem. One addition, the Red Chokecherry, (Aronia arbutifolia), is a native shrub in the rose family with attractive white flowers in the spring and intense red and orange foliage in the fall. Its pollen and nectar provide food for native pollinators, and its berries are a winter source of food for birds. Another, Sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), has fragrant, bottle-brush like blooms of white flowers that attract a variety of pollinators in the summer.

The most important way the public can help these new plantings? “I’d like for visitors to know that when people and pets go into the horticultural beds, they can easily damage plants, particularly young perennials, and can contribute to soil compaction and erosion,” says Lakeside Lead Eco Zone Gardener Corbin Laedlein. “Please don’t wander into the beds and keep your dogs leashed at Lakeside.”

The sentiment is echoed by Eco Zone Gardener Jesse Brody, “with continued hard work, time and resources, I’m hopeful that we can get the LeFrak greenroof back to its pre-Covid state of being a landscape that serves important ecological functions and appears more worthy of the public’s respectful treatment.”

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

Elizabeth Keegin Colley

Alliance Launches Poetry Partnership with Writing the Land

February 23, 2022

Prospect Park Alliance is partnering with Writing the Land, which connects poets with land set aside for people and nature to foster collaboration between the environmental and creative communities. Prospect Park Alliance has partnered with Writing the Land to commission four poets to produce work about Prospect Park and share their work with the Brooklyn community: Black poet Rachelle Parker, and Native American poets Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet and Ty Defoe.

This partnership is a stage for diverse voices to engage in a dialogue about the park and its history, an important part of Prospect Park Alliance’s community engagement work. The collaboration, while embracing the park as a whole, connects to the Alliance’s Re-Imagine Lefferts initiative, currently underway, which seeks to re-envision the mission and programming of the park’s historic house museum to recognize its role as a site of slavery and to elevate the voices of the enslaved Africans who lived and worked the land, and the Indigenous people that were forced to leave their ancestral lands at the time of Dutch colonization.

“Our partnership with Writing the Land fits incredibly well into the work of the Alliance,” says Maria Carrasco, the Alliance’s Vice President of Public Programs. “Poetry is empowering and the perfect vehicle for engaging our community in contemplating the viewpoints of traditionally unheard voices. The spoken word can provide members of our community with new ways of thinking, and hopefully will encourage them to actively participate in social change and civic engagement here in the park and beyond.”

“Writing the Land is excited to expand our work with traditional land trusts to more diverse organizations that protect land,” says director of Writing the Land, Lis McLoughlin, PhD. ”Prospect Park is an amazing resource for its community and beyond, and we were delighted to find they were very open to using poetry as a way to highlight the great work they do. Our poets are looking forward to building bridges between the park and those who love and use it.”

The poets will spend the next several months visiting the park and creating poems inspired by the land, which will culminate in a reading in the park in October. Prospect Park poets will be featured performers, and they will give a sneak peek of some poems they are preparing for the Writing the Land Anthology to be published in December.

From left to right: Michaeline Picaro, Opalanietet, Rachelle Parker, Ty Defoe

Michaeline Picaro is a member of the Ramapough Lunaape Nation Turtle Clan. As a traditionalist with knowledge of medicinal plants, Picaro is currently seeking to further her expertise and is enrolled at Chamberlain College to receive her nursing BSN to further assist the Turtle Clan with nursing needs and assessments. Picaro is also a co-founder of the Munsee Three Sisters Medicinal Farm which creates jobs and works toward food sovereignty. She is a co-founder of Ramapough Culture and Land Foundation, which preserves and restores the economic, social, cultural, sacred and environmental assets of the Ramapough Munsee ancestral lands.Picaro carries the Clan Mother title and is a Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Narragansett Indian Tribe and preservationist for ceremonial landscapes.

Opalanietet is a member of the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape tribal nation of New Jersey.  Since graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, Opalanietet has performed in workshops and productions at renowned New York theatrical institutions including New Dramatists, LaMaMa E.T.C. and New York City Opera at Lincoln Center. In 2012, Opalanietet founded Eagle Project, a theater company dedicated to exploring the American identity through the performing arts and Native American heritage. Opalanietet is currently studying for his doctorate in Theatre & Performance Studies at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center.

Rachelle Parker is a Nassawadox-born, Brooklyn-bred writer. She was selected the winner of the Furious Flower Poetry Prize, was awarded third prize in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award and was a finalist in Rhino Founders’ Prize. She was recognized in the Arts By The People – 2021 Moving Words. Her work appears in About Place Journal, The Adirondack Review, Taint Taint Taint Magazine and she is a contributor to the anthology The BreakBeat Poets: Black Girl Magic. Her photography also debuted in Orion Magazine.

Ty Defoe is an Indigiqueer citizen of the Oneida Nation and Anishinaabe Nations. Defoe is a writer, interdisciplinary artist, and Grammy Award winner. Defoe aspires to an “interweaving and glitterizing approach to artistic projects with liberation and environmentalism.” Defoe’s global cultural arts highlights include the Millennium celebration in Cairo, Egypt; International Music Festival in Ankara, Turkey; and Festival of World Cultures in Dubai. The artist’s accolades range from the Global Indigenous Heritage Festival Award, Jonathan Larson Award, Helen Merrill Playwriting Award 2021, and Cultural Capital Fellowship with First People’s Fund 2021.

Black History Spotlight: Otto Neals’ Peter & Willie

February 17, 2022

Otto Neals, a Brooklyn resident and one of the first Black artists to have work featured in a New York City park, has a remarkable knack for bringing stories to life. Neals is the sculptor behind Peter & Willie, the beloved statue of a boy and his dog in Prospect Park’s Imagination Playground, located along Ocean Avenue just south of the Lincoln Road entrance to the park. Since its installation in 1997 as part of the Alliance’s complete reconstruction of this playground, Peter & Willie has been a source of joy, fun and inspiration to countless families.

Neals has discussed his inspiration for the piece and his connection to Peter and Willie, the two protagonists of Ezra Jack Keats’ stories The Snowy Day and Peter’s Chair. In a 2021 interview with Current News, Neals recalled fond memories of reading Keats’ work with his kids, but being puzzled by the story of a Black boy told by a white author and illustrator.

Christian Zimmerman, Vice President of Capital and Landscape Management for Prospect Park Alliance, oversaw the project and worked closely with Neals. “Prospect Park Alliance and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation wanted to recognize the storybook characters from Keats’ work, so we had a competition to select an artist for the job,” Zimmerman recounts, “and the select committee was really taken by Otto’s concept.”

Imagination Playground is a hub for imagination and creativity. “It is a very special type of playground, and not a playground in the traditional sense. There aren’t any swings or moving play equipment. It is really intended for children 6 and under, and it’s about (embracing) storytelling,” Zimmerman expressed. Neals’ proposed vision for Peter & Willie fit seamlessly with this intention.

Once installed, the sculpture was immediately and wholeheartedly embraced by the community. “The bronze piece’s original patina was a deep dark blue…and if you rub bronze, eventually the patina goes away. The very first place the deep blue disappeared was on Peter’s ears,” Zimmerman recalls. “Otto designed it in a way that was so accessible that children would sit down next to Peter and tell him secrets. They would whisper in his ear, and have conversations with Peter. They still do!” From the boulder the characters are perched upon, to the scale of the characters themselves, each element of Peter & Willie’s stature is intentional and has informed the community’s long standing connection to the piece and to Imagination Playground.

As a self-taught artist, Neals has said, “My talent as an artist comes directly from my ancestors. I am merely a receiver, an instrument for receiving some of the energies that permeate our entire universe and I give thanks for having been chosen to absorb those artistic forces.” Neals is committed to creating art for his Brooklyn community, and has succeeded in providing inspiration and art in Brooklyn’s Backyard.

Neals and Zimmerman and the project’s contractor in 1996 en route to select the boulder where Peter and Willy sit today. Photo courtesy of Christian Zimmerman.

Now in his 90s, Neals continues to inspire artists in Brooklyn and beyond to create community-centered work and has provided generations of families and kids with joy and fun through Peter & Willie. The piece is an honorary Literary Landmark in partnership with the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and is a steadfast cherished destination and source of inspiration in Brooklyn’s backyard.

Learn more about the Park’s 7 playgrounds and things to do with children. 

c. Corbin Laedlein

Winter Work—Prepping for Spring Plantings at Lakeside

February 16, 2022

If you’ve visited the area around the LeFrak Center at Lakeside recently, you may have noticed Alliance gardeners hard at work and wondered, “what’s going on?” For weeks, dedicated staff and volunteers have been laying down cardboard and piles of leaves in an attempt to nip a persistent spring problem in the bud.

“In some areas we’re fighting a battle against the weeds and their seeds,” says Corbin Laedlein, Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener. Lakeside’s planted landscape is carefully managed to sustain wildlife and support the native ecosystem—but invasive and opportunistic plants can quickly outcompete the beneficial species. To combat the unwanted plants, Laedlein is overseeing large-scale “sheet mulching,” a technique being employed by the Alliance’s Lakeside gardeners in preparation for new plantings in the area come spring. “The main weeds we are suppressing are Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Bedstraw (Galium aparine), Vetch (Coronilla varia) and Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense),” says Laedlein.

The Lakeside EcoZone team, which includes Laedlein and EcoZone Gardners Jesse Brody, AJ Logan and Christopher Pierce, first conducted a good deal of prep work to clear the targeted areas of these invasive plants and their root systems, then placed  a layer of cardboard to fully cover the soil. A layer of freshly-fallen leaves from park trees, gathered by Prospect Park’s Turf Crew, provided a layer of mulch to spread on top of the cardboard. By spring, the materials will have begun to decompose, and the gardeners will poke holes through the cardboard where new seedlings will be planted—ideally without the competition of the weeds, and benefiting from the fresh mulch.

By employing an eco-friendly weed-suppression method, Lakeside gardeners are avoiding the application of harmful chemicals in the park—an important goal for the Alliance’s Landscape Management team. In recent years, similar innovative thinking has seen the introduction of goats to clear invasive plants on steep slopes and ladybugs to tackle a harmful lace bug infestation. “Sheet mulching is super labor-intensive work,” says Laedlein, “and this large project couldn’t have been accomplished without the Alliance’s Lakeside EcoZone Gardeners, Alliance Volunteers, the City Cleanup Corps and the Prospect Park Turf Crew.

   

The spring plantings will include trees, shrubs, grasses and herbaceous perennials drawing on the original palette of plants chosen for Lakeside, plus a few new additions. This includes Whorled Milkweed (Asclepias verticillata), Foxglove Beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis) and Sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia) to name a few—plants chosen for their resilience and ecosystem benefits.

Learn more about how Prospect Park Alliance is sustaining the environment. 

C. M. Pinckney

Sue Donoghue Appointed NYC Parks Commissioner

On February 4, Mayor Eric Adams announced that Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue will be the next New York City Parks Commissioner, carrying out his administration’s vision for a more equitable parks system where all New Yorkers can enjoy the physical, mental and emotional benefits that open space provides.

Sue begins in her new role on February 28, and the Prospect Park Alliance Board of Directors will soon begin a search for the organization’s next president. James Snow, Alliance Chief Operating and Financial Officer, will serve as interim President during this process.

In  her role, she will oversee more than 30,000 acres of land under the agency’s purview, including parks, playgrounds, recreational facilities, and beaches. A staunch advocate for parks equity, Donoghue will ensure that the agency’s mission of preserving and expanding well-maintained parkland is aligned with the mayor’s goal of reducing long-standing disparities in access to greenspace.

Read a message from Sue Donoghue to the Prospect Park Alliance community about this historic news. 

The Mayor also announced Iris Rodriguez-Rosa as the first deputy commissioner. A veteran of NYC Parks who currently serves as the Bronx borough commissioner, Rodriguez-Rosa has been a steadfast champion for better parks in underserved areas.

“Parks are more than places for recreation and enjoyment — they are powerful tools for equity,” said Mayor Adams. “For too long, many communities throughout our city have been denied easy access to these vital spaces. Under the leadership of Sue Donoghue and Iris Rodriguez-Rosa, we will work to ensure that every New Yorker can enjoy the myriad benefits green spaces can provide.”

“Our parks and open spaces are critical to the quality of life of all New York City residents. They improve the air we breathe, enhance our physical and mental health, and strengthen our communities. I am extremely honored and humbled to take on this role as NYC parks commissioner and work alongside the dedicated and essential workers who care for our 30,000 acres of parkland. Mayor Adams and his administration understand the importance of safe and equitable access to parks for all New Yorkers, and I’m committed to joining the team and ensuring that parks and open spaces across New York City are accessible and welcoming for all,” said incoming Commissioner Susan Donoghue.

“Prospect Park Alliance is delighted that Mayor Adams has selected Sue Donoghue as our next Parks Commissioner. In her tenure in Prospect Park, Sue has transformed Brooklyn’s Backyard for the benefit of all the communities the park serves, and we thank her for her vision and leadership. In her new role, we know she will be a fighter for all New Yorkers in the preservation and improvement of the City’s parks and open spaces, which are essential to our daily lives,” said Prospect Park Alliance Board of Directors Chair Iris Weinshall.

“In a challenging time for our city, when New Yorkers relied more than ever on their parks as spaces for recreation, social life, and exercise, Sue Donoghue tapped into the love for Prospect Park and channeled volunteer energy to address staffing shortages and leaned into making the park more inclusive and accessible. I commend the Mayor on a great choice in Sue Donoghue as Parks Commissioner and Iris Rodriguez as Deputy Commissioner, both of whom will bring to our parks a strong emphasis on ensuring all New Yorkers can enjoy them for years to come,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander.

“I can’t think of a better person to lead our Parks Department,” said New York City Councilmember Shahana Hanif.“I’ve had the privilege to work with Sue over the years to secure much needed funding, including through Participatory Budgeting, for the Endale Arch, the Prospect Park Lake, freeze-resistant water fountains, and other critical upgrades. Sue has a stellar track record leading the Prospect Park Alliance and ensuring the park is an inviting space to all New Yorkers. I look forward to continuing to work with her to make our parks cleaner, greener, filled with free cultural programming, and walkable to everyone regardless of ability.”

“I am so thrilled to learn of Susan Donoghue’s appointment as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Sue has been a staunch steward of Prospect Park for almost ten years, and understands the role parks play in fostering healthy, active, and engaged communities. I’m confident Susan will work tirelessly to preserve our existing parks, playgrounds, and open spaces while simultaneously expanding access to city-run programs and green spaces in our most marginalized communities,” said New York City Councilmember Crystal Hudson.

“The selections of Susan Donoghue as Parks Commissioner and Iris Rodriguez-Rosa as first deputy commissioner are absolutely stellar choices by Mayor Adams. Our parks are essential to our daily lives, and it’s of paramount importance that we have thoughtful, experienced leaders to steward them. NYC’s parks are in great hands with the selection of both of these women. Prospect Park is my family’s backyard, and I’m thrilled that Sue Donoghue, who knows first-hand just how crucial it is to Brooklynites and New Yorkers more broadly, will be in a position to make it better than it already is,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph.

“When Sue Donoghue came to Prospect Park she hit the ground running and happily engaged park users, stakeholders and Community Committee members. It was always a pleasure to speak with her and she always listened to our concerns. I look forward to the rest of the city discovering how good she is at her job and witnessing her continued love of parks. Best of luck to the new Commissioner,” said Prospect Park Community Committee Chair Dany Cunningham.

“From her work on Census 2020 to centering Caribbean-American culture and heritage, Sue Donoghue has proven time and time again to be an ally in fostering democratic, inclusive and equitable spaces for Brooklynites and New Yorkers at large. We congratulate Sue on her appointment as NYC Parks Commissioner and applaud Mayor Adams for appointing a leader who can #GetStuffDone,” said I AM CARIBBEING Founder Shelley Worrell.

A Message from Sue Donoghue

February 4, 2022

A message from Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue:

I am writing to you today with exciting news: Mayor Eric Adams has announced my appointment as the next New York City Parks Commissioner. 

Serving as the President of Prospect Park Alliance and Park Administrator has been one of the great honors of my career. I’ve been so lucky to work alongside so many dedicated people, from Alliance and NYC Parks staff, to our incredibly hardworking volunteers and community advocates, and a devoted Board of Directors that has provided the Alliance exceptional guidance and leadership.

I’m honored to be taking on a citywide leadership role in caring for New York City’s most essential resource, its parks and open spaces, and I will continue to cherish and support Prospect Park as a neighbor and park advocate. It has been a great privilege to steward this breathtakingly beautiful space, and serve as only the third president of this thriving, 35-years-young organization.

During this time we’ve advanced the park in numerous ways: rebounding from the challenges of the pandemic through our Re:New Prospect Park initiative; restoring the Flatbush Avenue perimeter and creating the first new entrances of the park since the 1940s; revitalizing and expanding the park’s woodlands and natural areas; bringing back to the public the exquisitely restored Endale Arch and Concert Grove Pavilion; and securing funds for our next great phase of restoration, the 26-acre Vale in the park’s northeast corner. This work has only been possible due to the support of dedicated individuals such as you.

The last two years have tested our resolve in many ways, but they have also brought into clear focus the importance of our parks and open spaces. Prospect Park has served as both a respite and a gathering space, a great green oasis for the community during these challenging times.

I look forward to continuing to work alongside you, cheering for and supporting these glorious 585 acres. Thanks to our amazing staff and experienced leadership, the Alliance is in good hands today and in the years to come, in large part due to the dedication and support of all of you, our community of park lovers.

All the best,
Sue Donoghue

c. Brittany Buongiorno

WNYC Features Alliance Animal Pro Marty Woess

January 21, 2022

In Prospect Park, Marty Woess is a familiar fixture, whether she’s working with volunteers, zooming around in her cart, or performing impressive animal rescues. Woess is the Forestry, Wildlife and Aquatic Technician for the Prospect Park Alliance, and her work was featured on WNYC’s Morning Edition in an interview with host Michael Hill, and in a related story on Gothamist by Alec Hamilton.

Listen to Woess’s interview on WNYC:

Woess’s work is part of the Alliance’s mission to sustain the environment in Prospect Park, and she works alongside the dedicated Landscape Management team. These workers monitor the health of the park’s aquatic and woodland areas, look after more than 30,000 trees, and strategically care for the park’s natural habitats.

Prospect Park is 585 acres of rolling meadows, waterways and woodlands in the heart of New York’s most populous borough—and receives upwards of 10 million visits a year. Prospect Park also is home to Brooklyn’s only lake and last remaining forest, and is an important wildlife habitat that supports more than 250 species of birds and other fauna.

In her interview, Woess stresses the importance for proper park stewardship in order to keep the park wildlife safe, “Be responsible. Take your trash out with you. If you’re a fisherman, please do it responsibly. You need to clear up your line and your hooks. Make sure you have the right hooks, the legal hooks. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions in a park and cleaning up after yourself.”

If you see an animal in need in Prospect Park, please call 311. Learn more about our work and how you can help sustain Prospect Park’s environment. 

Marty Woess rescuing a racoon in Prospect Park. c. Marty Woess.