Take a free, self-guided audio tour of Prospect Park’s watercourse—a marvel of nature, history and eco-innovation. The tour is presented by Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with artist Mary Mattingly and More Art, and powered by Gesso. The tour serves as an educational component of the ecoWEIR pilot program currently operating in Prospect Park, and is presented through funding from the Environmental Protection Fund Grant Program for Park Services, administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s landmark park, is a natural wonder but also a feat of engineering: home to the borough’s last remaining forest and only lake, the park’s watercourse is fed by the New York City water supply. The free, self-guided audio tour provides a new perspective on the natural and human-made ecosystems found in Prospect Park, and its connection to New York City’s water supply. From the natural ponds, local springs, and streams that were here before the park, to the waterways designed by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux that today are fed by watersheds as far as 125 miles north of the city, to the future health of these waterways through an innovative ecoWEIR that uses plants to filter water—the tour peels back layers of history, environmental stewardship, and human intervention that are hidden beneath the surface.
The tour begins at the Grand Army Plaza entrance of the park and ends on Wellhouse Drive in the park, a total of 2.02 miles and 12 narrated stops. The route includes a steep set of stairs in the Ravine and passes over dirt/gravel and paved paths. There is an accessible restroom at the end of the tour located at the Wellhouse.
c. Frederick Charles
Prospect Park’s NYC Climate Week 2021 Events
September 10, 2021
The effects of climate change are being felt near and far, including in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. During NYC Climate Week, September 20-26, join Prospect Park Alliance for virtual and in-person events to learn more and lend a hand in Brooklyn’s Backyard:
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 Toursoffers 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!
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.
New Flatbush Avenue Entrance, c. Svetlana Ragulina.
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.
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.
Take a virtual walk through LeFrak Center at Lakeside with Turnstile Tours and Corbin Laedlein, the Lakeside Lead EcoZone Gardener for Prospect Park Alliance. Learn how Corbin and his fellow Lakeside gardeners curate Lakeside’s plant mix for ecological, aesthetic, and habitat purposes, and visit the green roof atop the Lakeside skating rink.
While winter might seem like a slow time for birdwatching, many migratory species can be seen in New York only at this time of year, along with an exciting host of year-round birds.
Watch this recorded virtual program from our partners at Turnstile Tours for a discussion with experts from the Brooklyn Bird Club, where they share some of the notable species currently found in the city, how to identify them, and tips for where to to find them. A birder joins live from the field, showing some of these spots in Prospect Park.
Prospect Park Alliance recently completed the restoration of the Endale Arch, one of the original portals to the park designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. In this virtual tour, hosted by Turnstile Tours, get an insider’s look at the restoration process, which required years of research, incredibly skilled craftspeople, and painstakingly detailed work to bring the arch back to its original splendor. With guests Sarena Rabinowitz, Assistant Architect, Design & Construction at Prospect Park Alliance, and Curtis Barnhart of Barnhart Restoration & Design, the group that did the restoration work on the stunning interior. We go live to the arch itself to see these wonderful details up close.
Prospect Park Alliance in partnership with Turnstile Tours present a virtual exploration of Prospect Park’s waterways. In this virtual tour, we look closely at the ingenious drainage system and chain of manmade streams and ponds that terminate in Brooklyn’s largest lake, follow the park’s scenic watercourse, and go inside one of the most unique features of the park: the 1869 Wellhouse, the park’s last remaining building by park designer Calvert Vaux, which once housed the machinery that fueled the watercourse and was recently restored by the Prospect Park Alliance and converted into the first composting restrooms in a NYC park.
Virtual Program: Tackling Climate Change in Prospect Park
September 29, 2020
In this Climate Week NYC virtual program, learn how climate change has affected Prospect Park and other natural areas in New York City. Hear about the projections for the future, including how Prospect Park Alliance and the Natural Areas Conservancy is using the best available science to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and preserve our urban forests. Hosted by Turnstile Tours and featuring guests Howard Goldstein, Prospect Park Alliance forest ecologist, and Natural Areas Conservancy’s Justin Bowers, program manager for Natural Areas Restoration and the creator of Forest Identification and Restoration Selection Tool (FIRST), which helps forest restoration practitioners manage for and adapt to geographic and climate conditions.
Happy Earth Day! This year, people all around the world are celebrating a milestone—the 50th anniversary of this international day of action for our environment. While we cannot gather together, our environmental educators have organized a celebration with fun activities and programs that will bring the wonders of nature in Prospect Park to life no matter where you are.
Be a steward of Prospect Park and our community. If you visit the park this Earth Week, take our nature pledge to protect our natural areas and our community. And when you go out, please wear a face covering and practice social distancing. Help our essential workers by carrying out your litter.
Finally, this Earth Day, sustain the park that sustains you: right now your gift will go twice as far to sustain our community’s essential green space. We’re excited to announce that a pair of generous Prospect Park Alliance supporters have made a pledge: they will match all donations up to $20,000, dollar-for-dollar. Now is the perfect time to make your gift to support the park you love—when it will go twice as far and do twice as much to preserve this essential natural oasis.
And from all of us here at Prospect Park Alliance, happy Earth Day!
c. Martin Seck
Archtober 2019 Tours in Prospect Park
October 2, 2019
It’s Archtober, and NYC’s architecture and design month features hundreds of events, tours, and exhibitions. Four of these tours are taking place right in Brooklyn’s Backyard, and you’re invited! Presented in partnership with Prospect Park Alliance and Turnstile Tours, check out the month’s lineup:
Prospect Park Tour: Hidden Treasures
Sunday, October 6 , 10:30 am – 12:30 pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Turnstile Tours to explore some of the little-known corners of Prospect Park in this tour that uncovers some of the park’s hidden treasures. Once prime attractions, these areas are currently the focus of Prospect Park Alliance restoration efforts to revitalize the Park. The tour includes the Rose Garden and Vale of Cashmere in the park’s northeast corner, and well as a guided walk through Brooklyn’s last remaining forest, the 150-acre Ravine.
Prospect Park Tour: Art + Architecture
Friday, October 11 , 4 pm – 6 pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Turnstile Tours for a special Friday evening tour in celebration of Archtober. For over 150 years, Prospect Park has been a showcase of public buildings and artwork. This tour examines beautiful representations of Beaux-Arts, City Beautiful, New Deal Modernism, and LEED-certified park destinations.
Prospect Park Tour: Waterways + Wellhouse
Sunday, October 13 , 10:30 am – 10:30 am
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Turnstile Tours for a tour in celebration of Archtober. Prospect Park is a marvel of engineering, with a man-made watercourse weaving through forests and meadows to a 60-acre lake. Explore the restored watercourse as well as the 1869 Wellhouse, once the world’s largest well, now home to the first composting toilets in a NYC public park.
Prospect Park Tour: Exploring the East Side
Saturday, October 26 , 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Join Prospect Park Alliance and Turnstile Tours for a tour in celebration of Archtober. Explore Prospect Park’s East Side, including works in progress (Rose Garden, Flatbush Avenue perimeter), upcoming improvements (Lefferts Historic House), and recent and historic park treasures (Carousel, Lakeside and WPA art + architecture of the Prospect Park Zoo).
We love Prospect Park—Brooklyn’s Backyard is essential to the health and wellbeing of millions of community members, and is home to Brooklyn’s only lake and last remaining forest: a critical habitat for hundreds of species of plants and wildlife.