Image by Elizabeth Jeegin Colley for the Prospect Park Alliance
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.
All the juicy secrets ahead
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.
Find out the best BBQ spots in your neighborhood
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.
Watch the full video here
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.”
Find out more about the park plans
If this temperamental April weather has been keeping you from enjoying NYC’s great outdoors, you can now visit Prospect Park from the comfort of your couch. Plus, you’ll get to experience the 585-acre park like you never could on foot — from the aerial view of a drone. As first noted by Curbed, “the creator is drone enthusiast Airtistry,” and it features “both time-lapse and real-time photography.” The video was taken on April 2nd, so though it’s a bit gloomy, there are some cherry blossoms in bloom to brighten things up, and the fact that the background music is a remix of a-ha’s “Take on Me” doesn’t hurt either.
Watch the full video here
After Prospect Park opened in 1867, a wave of development hit the surrounding area, now known as Park Slope. The stretch of Prospect Park West, which bordered the park, was dubbed the “Gold Coast” for its many lavish mansions. Today, the stretch is still home to some of Brooklyn’s most impressive buildings. This townhouse at 103 Prospect Park West is one of them. A triplex co-op there is on the market for $1.995 million, and it retains much of its pre-war detailing.
See the interior here
There’s something intriguing about this $1.5 million two-family townhouse at 326 15th Street in Park Slope. The home almost looks like an upscale tool shed with wood everywhere you look: wooden built-ins, wooden beams, hardwood floors. But with the right owner and enough tender love and care, this 1,800 square-foot beauty could be a dream home in the making. Built around 1899, and available for the first time in 35 years, it can be yours for $1.5 million.
More pics inside
Here’s a $995,000 unique two-bedroom pad on coveted 7th Avenue, right near Prospect Park. It’s a second-floor unit in a limestone 1880s Gothic revival townhouse, and it features original details like crown and ceiling moldings, 12-foot ceilings with medallions, hardwoods with walnut inlay, a marble mantel, and those windows. Not to mention, there’s a peaceful private terrace overlooking a garden.
More pics inside
This five-story brownstone at 920 President Street has been home to the same family for decades. Consequently, it’s maintained a lot of its original details like stained glass windows, pier mirrors, pocket doors, and wainscoting. And a location right on Prospect Park makes this the perfect canvas for creating your dream home, all with an asking price just $5 under $5 million.
Take a look inside
This one-and-a-half-bedroom Windsor Terrace loft on Prospect Park West has quite a few perks, including a private entrance and gated parking. Buyers looking to get near the park will love this 1,300-square-foot, open-concept triplex. And best of all, it’s asking $899,000.
Take a look inside, here