Through a $75,000 Urban Forestry Grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Prospect Park Alliance recently surveyed about 12,000 of the park’s 30,000 trees. The survey provides a nuanced picture of the park’s ever-changing ecosystem and important insights into the economic, environmental and health benefits of “Brooklyn’s backyard.” You can view an interactive map of Prospect Park’s trees and their benefit to the community here; you can also examine the results on the Prospect Park TreeKeeper Interactive Map.
The historic entrance to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is getting a makeover. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Friday a plan to restore Grand Army Plaza and its iconic Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch located in Prospect Heights. The $8.9 million project, overseen by the Prospect Park Alliance and the city’s Parks Department, includes replacing the roof of the arch, cleaning and repointing the brick and stone structure, repairing the iron staircases, and updating the lighting. Plus, the plaza-framing landscaped berms will be replanted.
Early designs for Central Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service, Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site.
When thinking of influential creators of New York City’s most memorable places, it’s hard not to imagine Frederick Law Olmsted near the top of the list. Considered to be the founder of landscape architecture–he was also a writer and conservationist–Olmsted was committed to the restorative effects of natural spaces in the city. Perhaps best known for the wild beauty of Central and Prospect Parks, his vast influence includes scores of projects such as the Biltmore estate, the U.S. Capitol grounds and the Chicago World’s Fair. In preparation for the bicentennial of Olmsted’s 1822 birth, the Library of Congress has made 24,000 documents providing details of Olmsted’s life available online, Smithsonian reports. The collection includes journals, personal correspondence, project proposals and other documents that offer an intimate picture of Olmsted’s private life and work. The collection is linked to an interactive map at Olmsted Online showing all Olmsted projects in the United States (and there are many). You can search the map according to project name, location, job number and project type.
With Memorial Day Weekend just around the corner, it’s hard not to imagine the taste of savory barbecue food like hot dogs and hamburgers, chicken wings and corn on the cob. And while our tiny apartments in New York City may not always be the greatest spots to host a barbecue, the city’s parks provide some of the best places to get your grill on this summer. Ahead, 6sqft rounded up 15 of the best parks to host outdoor barbecues, from old standby Prospect Park to less known locales like Clove Lakes Park in Staten Island.
Spring has officially sprung. And what better way to welcome the season than celebrating with a weekend full of activities at Prospect Park? To kick off the park’s opening weekend on April 7th and 8th, the Prospect Park Alliance will bring events like free yoga, a baseball parade and 1860s exhibition baseball game, a fair, history tour and much more. Although most events are free, a few require advance reservation and some cost a couple of bucks. Ahead, check out the full schedule of events.
Photo courtesy of the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council
Constructed on a lost fragment of the original footprint of Prospect Park, the Prospect Heights Apartment House District is a concentration of 82 apartment buildings dating from 1909-1929. This development was promoted by the Prospect Park Commissioners to attract high-quality construction to complement the nearby Park, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Brooklyn Public Library. The buildings, representative of a period in Brooklyn history when building patterns shifted to accommodate a rising middle class, remain exemplary for their architectural integrity and as housing stock for a diverse population.
As one of this year’s Six to Celebrate recipients, the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council and the Cultural Row Block Association on Eastern Parkway are working to garner local support and submit a proposal for historic district status from the LPC.
Image Prospect Park Alliance
For walkers, joggers, and cyclists, Prospect Park will soon be a completely car-free refuge. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday that the park will permanently become car-free, beginning January 2, 2018. Currently, Prospect Park’s East Drive is still open to cars during morning rush hour.
Prospect Park previously went car-free this past summer. From July to September, cars were not allowed to cut through via the park’s East Drive as part of a pilot program, forcing those who use the road during morning rush hour to find another route. The car-free summer saw “enormous” support from those who use the park recreationally, according to DOT, especially since walkers, joggers, and cyclists outnumber cars more than 3 to 1 in the mornings.
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux debuted Prospect Park to the Brooklyn masses in 1867. And this year, we get to celebrate. What has become Brooklyn’s most iconic park is in its 150th anniversary, and the history along the way is fascinating. Though Olmsted and Vaux had already designed Central Park, they considered this their masterpiece, and much of the pair’s innovative landscape design is still on display across all 585 acres. But it was the result of a lengthy, complicated construction process (Olmsted and Vaux weren’t even the original designers!) as well as investment and dedication from the city and local preservationists throughout the years. After challenges like demolition, neglect, and crime, the Parks Department has spent the past few decades not only maintaining the park but restoring as much of Olmsted and Vaux’s vision as possible.
It’s safe to say that these days, Prospect Park is just as impressive as when it first opened to the public. And of course, throughout its history the park has had no shortage of stories, secrets and little-known facts. 6sqft divulges the 10 things you might not have known.
When the Parks Department recently declared one of the city’s largest trees dead (and therefore dangerous to those walking by), they turned to the experts at RE-CO BKLYN, a Ridgewood-based company that reclaims fallen NYC trees and produces live edge slabs and custom furniture.
The circa 1870 European Elm tree lived in Prospect Park and was 75 feet high and more than seven feet in diameter with 18- and 24-inch limbs that were starting to break off in extreme weather events. But instead of simply ripping the tree up and dumping it in a landfill, Andrew Ullman, Brooklyn’s Director of Forestry, decided to enlist RE-CO to mill it and turn it into dry lumber that will be used to create a custom conference table for the NYC Parks Prospect Park offices.
Image: Fort Greene Park Conservancy
The city has announced plans to make eight of the city’s parks more welcoming and integrated into their surrounding neighborhoods, the New York Times reports. According to officials, the green-space face-lifts are part of a plan to improve city parks and part of the larger goal of having 85 percent of New Yorkers living within walking distance of a park.
The parks, chosen by a nomination process that used feedback from residents, include Seward Park on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, Faber Pool and Park on the North Shore of Staten Island, Jackie Robinson Park in northern Manhattan, Van Cortlandt Park and Hugh Grant Circle and Virginia Park in the Bronx, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, and Fort Greene and Prospect Parks in Brooklyn. According to parks commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, the many improvement suggestions the city received were “proof positive of how excited New Yorkers are to increase accessibility and openness in their favorite parks.”