c. Martin Seck

Community Helps Ready Fields For Spring

March 6, 2020

Play ball! In preparation for the spring baseball season, Prospect Park Alliance, NYC Parks and volunteers from teams and leagues who play at the Prospect Park Parade Ground joined forces to prep the fields for the new season. 

Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks crews worked with a group of more than 50 volunteers, including baseball players and coaches from Stuyvesant, Millennium, and Brooklyn Tech High Schools and the ultimate frisbee league DiscNY, to collect 300 bags of leaves, level infields, reinforce pitching mounds, weed and straighten baselines and clean the dugout areas. Upon delivery of clay, the players will return to finalize the preparation for the upcoming spring season.

“The important work of Prospect Park Alliance could not be achieved without the support of our community, and we appreciate our partnership with the many  leagues who consider the Parade Ground their home, as well as the borough-wide NYC Parks crews who supported this effort,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President and Park Administrator. “Through community support, Prospect Park Alliance is able to sustain the Parade Ground, funding groundskeepers as well as maintenance staff who care for these fields, which are utilized by thousands of Brooklyn youth and teams throughout the year.”  

“Keeping baseball fields ready for play is a big job,” said Eddie Albert, president of the Prospect Park Baseball Association, who helped spearhead the effort along with Millennium Coach Brian Friedman, Stuyvesant Coach John Carlesi, Parade Grounds League Director Jerry Katzke, Ruben Ramirez from the Public Schools Athletic League, and John Piccard and Adam Fisher of the Prospect Park Baseball Association. “We greatly appreciate all the volunteers but more importantly the work of Prospect Park Alliance and NYC Parks. We are excited about continuing this partnership to prepare and maintain fields that are so much a part of the history of baseball in this country, and look forward to working with the staff on a regular basis to keep the fields in peak condition.”

Learn more about how to get involved with Prospect Park Alliance.


C. Prospect Park Archives/Bob Levine Collection

Highlights from the Bob Levine Collection

February 18, 2019

You may recognize from past Throwback Thursdays that many of Prospect Park Alliance’s archival materials come from one person: Bob Levine. His collection spans more than a century of Brooklyn’s Backyard and includes thousands of archived postcards, photographs, maps and drawings of the park. But who is this collector extraordinaire? 

Take a look at some of the highlights of the collection, selected by Bob Levine himself. 

A Brooklyn native and Prospect Park enthusiast, Levine has, in his own words “circled Prospect Park.” He grew up on Ocean Parkway, lived as a young man along Ocean Avenue and is now settled in Park Slope. “I always loved nature,” says Levine of his connection to the park, “it just felt like a natural draw.” As a child in the 1960s, he played little league at the Parade Ground and explored the park’s vast nature trails. When, in his teens, he developed an affinity for collecting remnants of the past, it was only natural that Prospect Park was a subject he gravitated towards.

Levine initially made a connection with Prospect Park Alliance in the 1990s. At the time, he ran a program that helped autistic members of community find work. The Alliance had a call out for volunteers, and Levine and his group helped clean the Lake. Levine then made a connection with Alliance archivist Amy Peck to share his bounty of archival findings. 

Today, Levine is still actively adding to his collection of Prospect Park historic materials, and much to the delight of Prospect Park Alliance and the park community, still contributing to the Prospect Park Archives.

Volunteer Brunch 2018

April 10, 2018

On March 10th, 2018, Prospect Park Alliance held its 30th Annual Volunteer Recognition Brunch. This tradition, which is as old as the Alliance itself, recognizes the outstanding Prospect Park Alliance Volunteer Corps for their dedicated service. New York City Commissioner of Parks and Recreation, Mitchell J. Silver and New York City Council Member Mathieu Eugene joined Prospect Park Alliance Chief Operating and Financial Officer, James Snow and Volunteer Program Director, Jessica Jamhoury, in thanking over 100 individuals and representatives from partnering community organizations for their service. 

At the event, twenty two unique volunteers were presented with awards recognizing their dedication to Prospect Park.  Shirley Osgood received the Alan Thomson award for giving 2,500 lifetime volunteer hours to the Park. Osgood is a member of the ongoing weekday volunteer events and a dedicated horticulture volunteer who can be found in Carmen’s Garden, the flower garden in front of Litchfield Villa. She is one of only five Alliance volunteers ever to reach this level of dedication. This year, Prospect Park Alliance introduced the Tyrell Ingram Award to recognize the service of teen volunteers who give over 100 volunteer hours during the year. This eponymous award was presented to Tyrell for setting a standard for future teen volunteers. 


In 2017 over 3,000 volunteers contributed more than 18,000 hours of service in the Park. Volunteers work in all areas of the Park on projects ranging from woodland restoration and horticultural projects to assisting with Education programs, Tennis Center programs, Park Greeters and various office administrative duties. The work of Prospect Park Alliance volunteers is essential and their dedication is evident in every area of the Park.   

See pictures of the event!

Learn more about volunteering in Prospect Park and sign up for one of our upcoming volunteer events.

PPA Profile: Lucie Chin, Halloween Costume and Set Designer

October 27, 2017

Join Prospect Park Alliance at the Prospect Park Halloween Haunted Walk and Fair on October 28, 12–3 pm. Now in it’s 38th year, this treasured event draws thousands of people into Brooklyn’s Backyard for free, spooky fun. This year, the festivities will continue at the first-ever Prospect Park Halloween After Party, from 2–5 pm, located in City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Find out more about this year’s Haunted Walk and Fair.

For the past 30 years, Lucie Chin has been designing, creating, and directing elaborate “scenes” that come to life along the paths of Lookout Hill during the annual Haunted Walk in Prospect Park. Her famously spooky setups include props, sets, costumes, and a full cast of haunting characters played by Prospect Park Alliance Volunteers. Chin has been involved in all aspects of the walk, “from loading the trucks at dawn to closing the lock on the storage space (lovingly called Igor’s Boutique) at sunset”, since 1987. A few years ago she handed responsibility for Lookout Hill to others, but has continued to create and maintain the costumes. Now, after three decades, “The Halloween Lady” is retiring.


Lucie Chin at her retirement party, 2017. 

When Lucie Chin first started working on the Haunted Walk in 1987, the event took place in Prospect Park’s Ravine and the “actors” were primarily Prospect Park Alliance staff and their friends. Since then, the Alliance has transformed the event into a volunteer opportunity, recruiting over 100 volunteer actors each year. The Alliance has also added a Halloween Fair on the Prospect Park Nethermead where all the local ghosts and ghouls can enjoy face painting, puppet shows, and, of course, candy.

In setting a spooky scene, Lucie draws much of her inspiration from the Park itself. From “light filtering through autumn-colored leaves” to “deep shadows under the trees and dust motes dancing in the shafts of light…I can believe the whole Park is just inches away from the mythical” she explains, “you need a real live forest to do that”.” When it comes to the magic of the Haunted Walk, Chin feels that being a part of the environment is more important than the “latest horror movies or trends.”

“Prospect Park is my Halloween”, Lucie says, describing three decades of Halloween memories in Prospect Park. There were moments of panic—Lucie recalls getting locked in Greenwood Cemetery while researching mausoleums for a “Vampire shelter”—and moments of sugar-fueled glee, including a child who hugged every “monster” on the walk because her mother told her “they won’t hurt you if you love them.”

This Saturday, October 28, will be Lucie Chin’s final Haunted Walk. Come out to Lookout Hill from 12-3 pm to experience the walk for yourself!






Record Volunteer Attendance at It’s My Park Day 2017

April 17, 2017

On May 20, 2017, dedicated Park-loving volunteers rolled up their sleeves for It’s My Park Day. In honor of Prospect Park’s 150th anniversary, Prospect Park Alliance and REI recruited over 100 dedicated Park-loving volunteers to help care for their favorite green space with brooms, shovels, rakes and trash grabbers. Efforts focused on Lookout Hill, where volunteers removed 46 bags of invasive weeds and cleaned up over 4,000 feet of trails. Volunteers of all ages as well as local community groups came out for this great day of service.

“People love getting involved,” says Marcia Williams, Volunteer Program Project Coordinator. “Volunteering in the Park teaches people to give back to the community, and they feel good about it!” In 2016, roughly 4,000 Prospect Park Alliance volunteers contributed nearly 20,000 hours of service in the Park. “This volunteer group makes a huge difference, and thanks to their efforts, Prospect Park has really changed a lot in the last three decades,” says Williams. “REI and the Prospect Park Alliance have long partnered on It’s My Park! Day because the event has proven to provide a meaningful opportunity for the local community to work together to maintain this Brooklyn gem of 585 acres,” says Mick Minard, a member of REI’s Outdoor Programs and Outreach Team. “REI and The REI Foundation have invested in organizations across the country that share our goal of creating, improving and sustaining access to inspiring outdoor places. REI and the Alliance share a commitment to ensuring access to open space, supporting connected communities, and promoting health and wellness by helping more people share more time outdoors.”

Ready to get outdoors and help Prospect Park? Prospect Park Alliance offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. Register online or call (718) 287-3400 for more information.

Martin Seck

Prospect Park Volunteers Honored at Annual Brunch

March 16, 2017

On March 4, Prospect Park Alliance celebrated more than 100 committed Prospect Park volunteers and community leaders at the 29th Annual Volunteer Recognition Brunch. This cherished tradition offers the Alliance a chance to thank its exceptional Volunteer Corps, and honor those in the community who have gone above and beyond in their service to Prospect Park.

Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue and Volunteer Director Jessica Jamhoury were joined by Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Marty Maher and Assembly Member Robert Carroll in thanking the volunteers for their service. In total 16 volunteers were presented with awards commemorating their contributions to Prospect Park.

In 2016, nearly 4,000 volunteers contributed nearly 20,000 hours of service in the Park. Volunteers work in all areas of the Park on projects ranging from the beautification of the Vale of Cashmere and the Rose Garden, to woodland restoration and horticultural projects, to general Park upkeep including raking, sweeping, path maintenance and litter removal. The work of these volunteers is essential, and their dedication is visible in every corner of the Park.

View pictures of the event!

Learn more about volunteering in Prospect Park, and to sign-up for one of our upcoming volunteer events.

Bianca Nelson

Corporate Volunteer Program: AllianceBernstein

February 16, 2017

Take it from the team at AllianceBernstein—weeding, painting and planting in Prospect Park can be a ton of fun. “Working in the Third Street Playground, my team scoured rust, weeded, painted a fence… it was awesome,” said Catherine Magyera, Director of Global/Multi-Sector Fixed Income. “I sit at a desk most of the time, so this project was really different from my day-to-day.”

AllianceBernstein is a participant in the Prospect Park Alliance Corporate Volunteer Program, an initiative that pairs corporate teams with volunteer opportunities in the Park. These outings serve as unique, active team-building opportunities, and the fruits of these labors make a real difference in the Brooklyn community. Magyera recalled one particularly enthusiastic community member: “As we were finishing up at the playground, a little boy came by and asked us what we were doing. I told him, ‘don’t worry, we’re making your favorite place to play even better’ and his face just lit up.”

“When you’re working in the Park, alongside colleagues planting or weeding, it’s a great way to work together outside of the formal hierarchy of the office,” said Lucy Spalton, CFA and Vice President at AB, “and it’s much more rewarding and fun than you might think. This type of work can’t happen without a lot of manpower, and with a group of Corporate Volunteers you can get a lot done.”

Indeed, the Park’s 585-acres require constant attention, and Corporate Volunteers are an invaluable resource, providing much-needed additional support for Alliance staff. “Resources are stretched thin in the Park, and often the projects undertaken by our Corporate Volunteers wouldn’t be completed otherwise,” said Sue Donoghue, Prospect Park Alliance President, “this work has a huge impact on the Park and our visitor experience.”

The Prospect Park Alliance Corporate Volunteer Program offers a variety of packages that can be tailored for all group sizes and ages. “In our years with the Park, we’ve been able to pick great projects that we can get our team excited about, and that makes it easy for me as a leader,” said Magyera. Added Spalton, “the Alliance works with us on finding a common goal, on having a project that feels rewarding, and at the end we have a great time working along side the staff.”

Learn more about how your company can spend a day in the Park having fun and giving back to Brooklyn’s Backyard

c. NYC Parks Department

Alliance Participates in NYC Tree Mapping

November 17, 2016

Last year, Prospect Park Alliance partnered with NYC Parks in support of TreesCount! 2015, a citywide street tree census and an ambitious effort to better care for our leafy neighbors. The Alliance committed to mapping 100 block edges for the count, and recruited and trained a dedicated group of 192 volunteers to examine street trees, identify the diversity of species and look for signs of tree health and stewardship using mapping software. 

After about a dozen TreesCount! 2015 expeditions, the Alliance succeeded in mapping 3,412 trees around the entire perimeter of the Park and surrounding neighborhoods. Curious about the amount of air pollutants removed by the London Plane tree on the corner of 10th street and Prospect Park West? 3 pounds. How about the number of trees in all of Windsor Terrace? 2,188. The interactive map created by NYC Parks can give you a general snapshot of the trees in your area, or provide you with granular data about the health of the American elm outside your window.

Thanks to this census, we can say that the monetary value of these shady neighbors is over $111 million annually, which includes values for intercepted stormwater, energy conserved and carbon dioxide reduction. Which is to say nothing of the intangible benefit one gets from walking down a tree-lined street this time of year as the colors change. 

“The Alliance was proud to participate in this endeavor, and thanks our dedicated Volunteer Corps, as well as NYC Parks, the Park Slope Civic Council, and our partners on the Community Committee for their help with this project,” said Alliance President Sue Donoghue. 

Take a closer look at the trees in your area. 

PPA Profiles: Bart Chezar

August 17, 2015

Bart Chezar is a Brooklyn native. As an active member of the Prospect Park Alliance Volunteer Corps, he’s extremely involved in the beautification of Prospect Park. In addition to pulling weeds and laying mulch with the Alliance’s Thursday Volunteer Corps, Bart has also played an integral role in reintroducing an important piece of ecological history into the Park, the return of the American chestnut tree.

Bart’s work with the Alliance and his interest in reviving the American chestnut tree began shortly after his retirement in 2000. Formerly a Research and Development Engineer for the New York Power Authority, he has maintained a keen passion for restoring the environmental heritage of New York City. In 2004, he met Anne Wong, Prospect Park Alliance’s former Director of Landscape Management, who invited him to take part in a chestnut planting experiment.

Over a century ago, the American chestnut population was devastated by a vicious fungus known as chestnut blight. The tree that was once the most prolific species east of the Mississippi was decimated in just a few decades. The blight would not allow the chestnut trees to successfully pollinate. When Anne asked Bart to help plant a few chestnuts in the Park, the survival of the samplings was a long shot. For nearly a decade the chestnut trees in Prospect Park were able to resist the deadly fungus, but in early 2012 they began to show signs of blight.

In response, the Alliance teamed up with the American Chestnut Foundation, an organization working to find a solution. Alongside Alliance arborists, Bart helped to plant and monitor a new hybrid species found to be resistant to blight in woodland areas of the Park, including the landscapes surrounding the Picnic House (where you may notice yellow plastic coverings on trees along the path from the Tennis House to the Picnic House) and also the Peninsula. The hope is that the new blight-resistant chestnuts will pollinate with the older species planted a decade ago. Although it’s too soon to be sure, recent findings indicate that the program is working. Bart’s efforts with the Alliance and the American Chestnut Foundation have successfully cultivated the first Brooklyn-born chestnut seedlings in over 100 years. 

Bart’s passion for reviving New York’s native ecosystem did not begin, nor end, with his work saving the American chestnut. He was the first to be granted a permit to reintroduce oysters in New York Harbor, a project that is continued by the Environmental Protection Agency and Corps of Engineers. He has also worked tirelessly to bring back Osprey to the area. He even started an “eco pier” in Sunset Park where visitors can become acquainted with the inter-tidal habitats that once surrounded the borough.

Learn more about volunteering in Prospect Park. Or give back to the Park by adopting a commemorative tree.

c. Paul Martinka

PPA Profiles: Volunteers

March 16, 2015

Volunteers are essential to the Alliance’s maintenance efforts. This month we had a chat with a few of our most committed members. 

Prospect Park has never looked better. The Prospect Park Alliance couldn’t have done it without the help of our amazing Volunteer Corps. Each week hundreds of people donate their time and efforts to making Brooklyn’s urban treasure clean and healthy. The annual Volunteer Appreciate Awards is our way of recognizing some of the most committed volunteers. This month we profiled a few members of the Prospect Park volunteer family. Read the full profiles here.