Prospect Park (Brooklyn)
Interactive map showing location of Prospect Park
|Location||Brooklyn, New York City, United States|
|Area||526 acres (2.13 km2)|
|Created||October 19, 1867|
|Operated by||Prospect Park Alliance|
|Visitors||about 8 million annually|
|Status||Open all year|
|Location||Brooklyn, New York City, United States|
|Architect||Frederick Law Olmsted, Calvert Vaux|
|NRHP reference #||80002637|
|Added to NRHP||September 17, 1980|
|Designated NYCL||November 25, 1975|
Prospect Park is a 526-acre (213 ha) public park in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. Prospect Park is run and operated by the Prospect Park Alliance and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks). The park is situated between the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush, and Windsor Terrace, and is adjacent to the Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It is part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway, and is the second largest public park in Brooklyn, behind Marine Park.
First proposed in legislation passed in 1859, Prospect Park opened in 1867 after various changes to its design. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux after their completion of Manhattan's Central Park. The park subsequently underwent numerous modifications and expansions to its facilities. Several additions to the park were completed in the 1890s, in the City Beautiful architectural movement, and further restorations were conducted in the mid- and late 20th centuries. Prospect Park was made a New York City Historic Landmark on November 25, 1975, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1980.
Main attractions of the park include the 90-acre (36 ha) Long Meadow; the Picnic House; Litchfield Villa; Prospect Park Zoo; the Boathouse; Brooklyn's only lake, covering 60 acres (24 ha); and the Prospect Park Bandshell that hosts free outdoor concerts in the summertime. The park also has sports facilities, including seven baseball fields in the Long Meadow, the Prospect Park Tennis Center, basketball courts, baseball fields, soccer fields, and the New York Pétanque Club in the Parade Ground. There is also a private Society of Friends cemetery on Quaker Hill near the ball fields.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Natural features
- 4 Landmarks and structures
- 5 Recreation
- 6 Management
- 7 Transportation
- 8 Incidents
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Before the park
Approximately 17,000 years ago the terminal moraine of the receding Wisconsin Glacier that formed Long Island established a string of hills and kettles in the northern part of the park and a lower lying outwash plain in the southern part. Mount Prospect (or Prospect Hill), near the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway, is one of the tallest hills in Brooklyn, rising 200 feet (61 m) above sea level.:218 It is the highest among a string of hills that extends into the park, including Sullivan, Breeze, and Lookout hills. The area was originally forested, but became open pasture after two centuries of European colonization. Significant stands of trees remained only in the peat bogs centered south of Ninth and Flatbush Avenues, as well as in a large bog north of Ninth Street, and contained chestnut, white poplar, and oak. Some of these stands were preserved in the modern-day Prospect Park Ravine and nicknamed "The Last Forest of Brooklyn".
During the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the park was a site of the Battle of Long Island (aka Battle of Brooklyn). American forces attempted to hold Battle Pass, an opening in the terminal moraine where the old Flatbush Road passed from the villages of Brooklyn to Flatbush. It fell after some of the heaviest fighting in the engagement, and its loss contributed to George Washington's decision to retreat. Even though the Continental Army lost the battle, they were able to hold the British back long enough for Washington's army to escape across the East River to Manhattan. Plaques north of the zoo, as well as the Maryland Monument at Lookout Hill's foot, honor this event.
The City of Brooklyn built a reservoir on Prospect Hill in 1856. Preserving the Battle Pass area and keeping the lots around the reservoir free of buildings were two reasons for establishing a large park in the area.
The original impetus to build Prospect Park stemmed from an April 18, 1859, act of the New York State Legislature, empowering a twelve-member commission to recommend sites for parks in the City of Brooklyn. At the time, Brooklyn was the world's first commuter suburb, and it eventually became the third largest city in the country after New York and Philadelphia. During this time, concepts concerning public parks gained popularity. In 1858, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux had created Central Park in Manhattan, which became the first landscaped park in the United States. James S. T. Stranahan, then President of the Brooklyn Board of Park Commissioners, believed that a park in Brooklyn "would become a favorite resort for all classes of our community, enabling thousands to enjoy pure air, with healthful exercise, at all seasons of the year..." He also thought a public park would attract wealthy residents.
In February 1860. a group of fifteen commissioners submitted suggestions for locations of four large parks and three small parks in Brooklyn, as well as a series of boulevards to connect said parks. The largest of these proposed parks was a 320-acre (1.3 km2) plot centered on Mount Prospect and bounded by Warren Street to the north; Vanderbilt, Ninth, and Tenth Avenues to the west; Third and Ninth Streets to the south; and Washington Avenue to the east. Egbert Viele began drawing plans for "Mount Prospect Park", as the space was initially called, and published his proposal in 1861. The park was to straddle Flatbush Avenue and include Prospect Hill, as well as the land now occupied by the Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, and Brooklyn Museum.
By late 1860, land had been purchased for Viele's plan. However, the onset of the Civil War stopped further activity, and the boulevards and smaller parks were pushed back. The delay prompted some reflection; Stranahan invited Calvert Vaux to review Viele's plans early in 1865. Vaux took issue with Flatbush Avenue's division of the park, thought that the park should have a lake, and urged for southward expansion beyond the city limits and into the then-independent town of Flatbush.:86–91 Vaux's February 1865 proposal reflected the present layout of the park: three distinctive regions, meadow in the north and west, a wooded ravine in the east, and a lake in the south, without being divided by Flatbush Avenue. Vaux included an oval plaza at the northern end of the park, which would later become Grand Army Plaza. The revised plan called for purchase of additional parcels to the south and west to accommodate Prospect Lake, but it excluded parcels already purchased east of Flatbush Avenue, including Prospect Hill itself. In addition, engineer-in-charge Joseph P. Davis and assistants John Bogart and John Y. Culyer were named to work on the project.
By then, land speculation was underway. The plot bounded by Ninth and Tenth Avenues between Third and Fifteenth Streets was held by real estate developer Edwin Clarke Litchfield, who had erected his home, Litchfield Manor, on the east side of Ninth Avenue in 1857. The Parks Commission ultimately acquired the Litchfield plot in 1868 for $1.7 million, forty-two percent of the overall expenditure for land, even though the plot constituted just over five percent of the park's acreage. Much of this acreage houses the maintenance yards and is rarely seen by the public. In 1866, the New York state legislature passed a bill approving the acquisition of additional land on the southwest side of the park. The Quaker cemetery was accommodated by an agreement under which the Society of Friends deeded their unused acreage to the park. In exchange, they retained the remaining 10 acres for their private cemetery in perpetuity, as well as the rights to access the cemetery.
Despite the repercussions of Vaux's revisions, Stranahan championed the revised proposal. Vaux recruited Olmsted and formally presented the plan in February 1866. The revised plan was accepted by May. Construction started the following month, and initial work focused on draining the land. Then, the roads, bridal paths, and walks within Prospect Park were graded and individual features were landscaped. Three scenic roads, the West, Center, and East Drives, were built within the perimeters of the park. Depending on the time of year, between 250 and 2,000 workers were hired. Much of the landscaping focused on removing obstructions such as pits and swamps, and enhancing other natural features such as hills. Trees were only removed if they blocked a roadway or path that was being built.:38
The first section of the park opened to the public on October 19, 1867, while it was still under construction. The segment that was open to the public included part of the East Drive between the north end of the park, at modern-day Grand Army Plaza, and Coney Island Avenue at the southeast corner. The park initially contained the Playground, which had a croquet lawn, a sailboat pond, a maze, and a summer house. By 1868, the open portions of Prospect Park were patronized by 100,000 people per month, and several miles of roads, paths, and walkways had been completed. The land for Prospect Park's Parade Ground was acquired that year. A series of pedestrian arches to separate pedestrian and vehicular traffic in the park were also built during this time.
Over 200 benches were installed to accommodate the new visitors. Rustic wooden shelters with "various oblong and polygonal shapes" were placed along the shore of Prospect Park's lake and were designed to be used as scenic overlooks. Several bridges and eight hundred bird houses were installed to enhance the park's rustic quality. In its 1870 annual report, the Brooklyn park commissioners reported that the lake was nearly completed, and that widening of nearby streets was underway.:9, 11 By 1871, the monthly visitor count had increased to 250,000. The park's patronage continued to increase, and in an 1873 article, The New York Times described Prospect Park as having become an "indispensable Sunday resort for the toiling thousands of Brooklyn." However, the high patronage also had downsides: an 1875 editorial in the Times observed that many people would take shortcuts along the grass rather than travel on designated routes.
Prospect Park was substantially complete in 1873, but with the financial panic of that year, Olmsted and Vaux stopped collaborating on the park's construction. Some of the originally envisioned facets of the park, such as an observation tower, a terraced restaurant, and a top-shaped Carriage Concourse, were not built. Olmsted and Vaux had also planned for a system of parkways to connect to Prospect Park, though only two were built: Ocean Parkway, running to Coney Island in the south, and Eastern Parkway, running to Crown Heights in the east. Overall, the city of Brooklyn spent more than $4 million to acquire the parkland, while the actual cost of construction amounted to more than $5 million.
Stranahan was regarded by his 19th-century peers as the true "Father of Prospect Park", a reputation established through his 22-year reign as Park Commission president (1860–1882), engagement of Olmsted and Vaux, overseeing complex land acquisitions, securing funding to build the park, and after the park's completion, defending the park against changes that were not compatible with the overall design. A statue honoring Stranahan was proposed in 1890. Located inside the Grand Army Plaza entrance, the statue was sculpted by Frederick MacMonnies and presented to Stranahan in June 1891.
Late 19th century
Prospect Park became widely used after its opening, and many sports were hosted there. By the late 19th century, archery was among the most popular sports being practiced on the Long Meadow, and up to 100 groups would convene on the Long Meadow to pay croquet on weekend afternoons. During winters, people practiced "ice baseball" on the lake. Ice skating was also a common sport, and was frequently practiced on the lake during the winter. Because picnicking was banned in Central Park, and generally disapproved-of in many other parks in Manhattan, Prospect Park became a popular picnic spot. However, this also resulted in litter, and by 1881, The New York Times was receiving complaints about a lack of cleanliness in the park.
No new structures were constructed in Prospect Park until 1882, when a utilitarian brick stable was constructed on the park's western side. The same year, Brooklyn mayor Seth Low did not reappoint Stranahan or the other commissioners, a change that neither Stranahan nor the other commissioners actively opposed. Stranahan, for his part, was becoming more engaged in other Brooklyn concerns. The action, however, did signal a change in the style of park management, which grew to embrace neoclassicism.
Simultaneously during the 1880s, the quality of Prospect Park had declined through overuse and a corresponding lack of maintenance. After Brooklyn Mayor Alfred C. Chapin walked through the park in 1888, he requested that $100,000 be allocated for improvements. Subsequently, the Brooklyn Parks Commission embarked on a $200,000 program to restore the park. It repaved many of the walkways and drives, as well as replanted flora.:9–12 The Commission also proposed purchasing the land around the Mount Prospect Reservoir, northeast of modern-day Prospect Park, which had was excluded from the final plans of the park.:54–64 Instead, this space was developed as the Brooklyn Museum in the 1890s, followed by the Brooklyn Central Library and Brooklyn Botanic Garden in the early 20th century. The reservoir was filled in, and along with Mount Prospect Hill, became the separate Mount Prospect Park in 1940.
The park and its surroundings were subsequently restored in the 1890s during the City Beautiful movement. After the Soldier's and Sailor's Arch at Grand Army Plaza was built in 1892, the park commissioners engaged the McKim, Mead, and White architectural firm to redesign Grand Army Plaza in a complementary, neoclassical way. By 1896, Grand Army Plaza sported four towering granite columns adorned with carved fasces and eagles at the base, though the bronze eagles atop the columns would not be installed until 1902. Granite fencing with decorative bronze urns replaced simple wooden fencing, and polygonal granite pavilions on the east and west corners of the park supplanted earlier rustic shelters. All the major entrances of the park gained similar neoclassical treatments. By the turn of the twentieth century, sculptures by Frederick MacMonnies graced the Arch and works by MacMonnies and Alexander Proctor adorned many of the entrances.
Neoclassical structures appeared within the park as well. In 1893 and 1894, McKim, Mead and White transformed the Children's Playground and Pools in the park's northeast quadrant into the Rose Garden and the Vale of Cashmere, each a formally arranged space. Stanford White's Maryland Monument was installed near the Terrace Bridge in 1895 in recognition of the Maryland 400, who fought in the Battle of Long Island on the slopes of Lookout Hill.:130
Early 20th century
The city of Brooklyn merged with Manhattan and other outlying boroughs in 1898, creating the City of Greater New York. By the end of the century, Prospect Park saw about 15 million visitors per year. Though people were officially banned from hosting picnics and other large eating events in Prospect Park, the rule was not enforced for several years until 1903, when a surge of visitors from Manhattan led to an increase in luncheons being hosted. In 1907, lights were installed to deter couples from interacting romantically within the park. At the same time, the city embarked on an improvement program at Prospect Park by cleaning out the landscape, constructing the Bartel-Pritchard Square entrance, and removing an old boathouse that had been supplanted by the Boathouse on the Lullwater.
The construction of structures continued in the first decade of the 20th century. The neoclassical Peristyle (1904), Boathouse (1905), Tennis House (1910), and Willink Comfort Station (1912) were all designed by Helmle, Hudswell and Huberty, alumni and proteges of McKim, Mead, and White.:130 The entrances into Prospect Park that were constructed during this time were also in the neoclassical style.:130 Two now-demolished structures were also constructed on the peninsula, the Model Yacht Club House (1900–1956) and a shelter (1915 – c. 1940s). Olmsted was said to have been "distressed" by these modifications to the park's original plan.
From World War I to the mayoral administration of Fiorello La Guardia in the 1930s, investment in park infrastructure declined. A two-story brick building was opened in the Menagerie in 1916, housing monkeys, some small mammals, and several birds. After the end of World War I, a memorial commemorating fallen soldiers was proposed; it was dedicated in 1921. The only other structures to be built during this period were the Picnic House (1927) and a small comfort station at the Ocean Avenue entrance (1930), both designed by J. Sarsfield Kennedy. A golf course was proposed for the Long Meadow in the 1920s, but eventually, it was built on the Peninsula, abutting the Lake at the park's southern end. In 1932, a faux Mount Vernon was built in Prospect Park to commemorate the bicentennial of George Washington's birthday. But for the most part, Prospect Park was in stasis, and like many of the city's parks, it was run year-after-year with declining budgets,. The New York Times observed that by the 1930s, "generations of Parks Department officials had lived well and got rich by diverting maintenance funds, and the park showed the result of a half century of abuse and neglect."
Robert Moses era
In January 1934, newly elected Mayor Fiorello La Guardia appointed Robert Moses as the commissioner of the New York City Department of Parks (NYC Parks), a new organization that eliminated borough park commissioners. Moses would remain commissioner for the next twenty-six years, leaving significant impacts on the city's parks. Moses used federal monies made available to relieve Depression-era unemployment, and this resulted in a boom in construction at Prospect Park. The Prospect Park Zoo opened in 1935 on the east side of the park, replacing the former Menagerie. The Bandshell and five playgrounds were also constructed toward the end of the 1930s. In addition, the Carousel was opened in 1949 as a gift from the foundation of the late philanthropist Michael Friedsam. Moses also enacted new policies at the park, including a ban on sheep grazing at the Long Meadow.:16
During World War II, Prospect Park hosted a portion of the city's antiaircraft defense. Three hundred soldiers manned batteries, underground ammunition dumps, observation towers, repair shops and barracks around Swan Lake in the Long Meadow. Though the defenses were disbanded in 1944, traces of slit trenches and sandbagged gun emplacements could still be found several years afterward.
In 1959, the southern third of the Long Meadow was graded and fenced off for ballfields. Plans for the Kate Wollman Skating Rink were approved the following year, and the rink opened in December 1961. The rink was built on a filled-in portion of Prospect Lake, necessitating the removal of Music Island and the panoramic view of the lake created by Olmsted and Vaux. The playgrounds, ballfields, and skating rink reflected Moses' commitment to modernity and athletic recreation, coupled with only a limited appreciation of the park as a work of landscape architecture. To make the park more visually appealing, NYC Parks also began to clear the area of weeds and invasive species, though this had the unintended effect of hastening erosion.
It was not unusual in the Moses years, and especially the decade after his departure, to quietly remove underutilized or redundant structures. To do so was regarded as economical and prudent management. Several structures had been destroyed by the time Moses left his position as NYC Parks commissioner in May 1960. These included the Dairy, destroyed 1935; Concert Grove House, demolished 1949; Music Island, razed 1960; the Flower Garden; the Thatched Shelter, destroyed in the 1940s; the Model Yacht Club, burned down in 1956; and the Greenhouse Conservatories, taken apart in 1955.
No park commissioner since Moses has been able to exercise the same degree of power, nor did the Park Commission remain as stable a position in the aftermath of his departure, with eight commissioners holding the office in the twenty years following. This instability, coupled with the 1975 New York City fiscal crisis, devastated the Parks Department. The department was staffed by 6,000 personnel in 1960, but consisted of just 2,800 permanent and 1,500 temporary workers by 1980. Much of Prospect Park suffered soil erosion and lack of maintenance caused the landscape to deteriorate. By 1979, park attendance dropped to two million, the lowest recorded level in the history of the park.
Late 20th century
The demolition of Pennsylvania Station in Manhattan during 1963–1968 spawned a nascent historic preservation movement. In September 1964 the Parks Department was within forty-eight hours of demolishing the Boathouse on the Lullwater. At the time the structure was underutilized; the boat concession only operated on weekends and its peak traffic was fewer than ten people per hour. However, the Boathouse shared many architectural design features with the famous station. A preservation group, The Friends of Prospect Park, including in its membership, poet Marianne Moore, built public awareness over disappearing historical structures and threatened flora within the park. Public pressure induced Park Commissioner Newbold Morris to rescind the decision to demolish the Boathouse in December 1964.
Projects to restore Prospect Park were taken up by the late 1960s. In 1965, the city allocated $450,000 to renovate the Vale of Cashmere and the Rose Garden ahead of Brooklyn's 300th anniversary, and the park's hundredth anniversary, the following year. Another $225,000 was allocated to renovate the boathouse, and $249,000 was allotted to overall renovations. The city renovated part of the Long Meadow on the northwest side of the park, as well as the children's farm. However, some of the contracts were delayed, including renovations to the Boathouse and the tennis courts, as well as a reconstruction of the Music Pagoda, which had burned down in 1968. By 1971, the city had spent $4 million to renovate Prospect Park, including renovating the Boathouse and dredging the lake. The Rose Garden and the Vale of Cashmere had also been re-landscaped, Also part of the renovation was a restoration of the Prospect Park Carousel from 1971 to 1974, and the exterior of the Boathouse was restored in 1979.
By the 1970s, Prospect Park was beset by crime; a 1974 report found that 44 percent of city residents would warn people to stay away from the park under any circumstances. The mayoral administration of Ed Koch formed plans in 1980 to turn over the administration of the troubled Prospect Park Zoo to the Wildlife Conservation Society. Over the next seven years, the city invested $17 million in cleaning up the park, including $10 million in federal funds from a Community Development Block Grant. Annual visitor numbers had nearly tripled to 5 million between 1980 and 1987. During this period, Prospect Park also received two historic designations: it was made a New York City Historic Landmark on November 25, 1975, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 17, 1980.
The Prospect Park Alliance, a non-profit organization, was created in April 1987 based on the model of the Central Park Conservancy, which had helped restore Central Park in the 1980s. Shortly afterward, NYC Parks began entering into restoration projects with the organization. The Alliance's first major project was the $550,000 restoration of the Carousel in 1987–1989. The carousel had not operated since 1983, and its original horse-shaped seats were removed during the restoration. Nine years later, in 1996, it started a $4.5 million restoration of the Ravine. The Boathouse was also restored again in the late 1990s due to deterioration of the exterior terracotta. The National Audubon Society signed a lease for the Boathouse in 2000, and the building became the site of the nation's first urban Audubon society. The restoration of the Harmony Playground and Bandshell was completed the same year.
Early 21st century
By 2000, the Wollman Rink was deteriorating, and there was a need to replace it. The Alliance soon formed plans to restore Music Island and the original shoreline, both obliterated by the construction of the original rink in 1960. Several Moses-era playgrounds and the Bandshell were retained because their venues were popular. Original rustic summer houses were restored or recreated on the shores of Prospect Park Lake, along the Lullwater and in the Ravine.
As part of the restoration plans, the Wollman Rink was to be replaced by two rinks in the new LeFrak Center, a year-round recreational facility. Work on the LeFrak Center began in 2009, and the Wollman Rink had been demolished by 2011. The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside was completed in December 2013 at a cost of $74 million. As part of the Wollman Rink's replacement, plans for the restored Music Island were announced in 2009. The Chaim Baier Music Island, and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Esplanade overlooking the island, were restored using a $10 million grant, and were officially rededicated in October 2012.
The Prospect Park Alliance subsequently completed or proposed more restoration projects for the park. Long Meadow ball field 1 was rebuilt between 2013 and 2014. The following year, the Alliance announced some projects on Prospect Park's eastern side, including the $200,000 restoration of Battle Pass. The Alliance also intended to restore the water-damaged Oriental Pavilion for $2 million and replacing fencing on Flatbush Avenue for $2.4 million. In 2016, the Alliance also received $3.2 million from NYC Parks' Parks Without Borders program to construct two new entrances on Flatbush Avenue, the park's first new entrances in over 70 years, as well as rebuild the Willink entrance. During the city's 2016 fiscal year, which ended June 30, 2016, politicians also contributed funds toward various restoration projects in the park. These included $2.5 million for renovating Lefferts Historic House, $2 million to rebuild pathways, $1.75 million for replacing fencing on Ocean Avenue, $750,000 for renovating the ballfields on Long Meadow, and $500,000 for the Carousel's restoration. In addition, $100,000 was earmarked for the installation of an experimental running surface on Park Drive, and through a participatory budgeting program, residents of the surrounding communities allocated funds for other projects such as new drinking fountains, a dog run, community barbecue sites, and an aquatic weed harvester.
Also in 2016, as part of a project to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the Prospect Park Alliance used goats to clean up the shrubbery in woodlands around the Vale of Cashmere, then re-landscaped the sites at a cost of $727,000. The Well House, located on the Lake, reopened in 2017 as a composting restroom, and the Dog Beach along the watercourse's Upper Pool was renovated. The same year, the Alliance received funds to renovate the Parade Ground, the Tennis House, and ball fields. The Alliance also announced an upcoming renovation of the Rose Garden. Ball fields 6 and 7 were renovated and reopened in 2017, while ball fields 4 and 5 were supposed to undergo renovations starting in 2019. Construction started on the Flatbush Avenue fence repairs in 2018, and the new entrances were slated to start construction in early 2019.
Prospect Park occupies 526 acres (213 ha) in central Brooklyn. It is bound by Prospect Park West and the neighborhood of Park Slope to the northwest; Prospect Park Southwest and the Windsor Terrace neighborhood to the southwest and west; Prospect Park South to the south; Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, and the neighborhood of Flatbush to the east; and Grand Army Plaza and the neighborhood of Prospect Heights to the north.
Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux engineered Prospect Park to recreate in real space the pastoral, picturesque, and aesthetic ideals expressed in contemporary paintings.:219–220:3 The overall design was inspired partially by Birkenhead Park in the United Kingdom. Prospect Park had recent precedents in the pastoral style, notably Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston and Green-Wood Cemetery a few blocks away. Olmsted and Vaux felt they had greater success in Brooklyn because of the lack of obstacles there, but they were also assisted in part by park commissioner James Stranahan's patronage and support of their plan.:219–220
The two designers wanted visitors to be able to traverse Prospect Park with a myriad of perspectives so that the features could be enjoyed in any order. Olmsted was more involved with the general design of Prospect Park, while Vaux was more involved with specific details. They created the large Long Meadow out of hilly upland pasture interspersed with peat bogs. They also moved and planted trees, hauled topsoil and created a vast unfolding turf with trees placed both separately and in groups. The designers wanted Lookout Hill to be a place of broad views out over Prospect Lake, the farmland beyond, and the bay and ocean in the distance. To create an illusion of an expansive space, Olmsted and Vaux designed the paths in Prospect Park to be meandering.
In Olmsted and Vaux's final plan for the park, it was divided into three distinct zones: an open section, a wooded section, and a waterside section. The Parade Ground at the far southwestern corner was excluded from the system of zones.
The first zone consisted of the Long Meadow, a wide open space along the west side of the park. It contains two entrances through tunnels: Meadowport Arch and Endale Arch. The Third Street Playground, Harmony Playground, bandshell, and the picnic and tennis houses are also located here. West Drive traverses this section of Prospect Park.
The second zone is the wooded area in the middle of the park, and contains a watercourse called the Ravine. In this zone, on the northeast side of the park, there are several points of interest: the Vale of Cashmere, the Rose Garden, the Zucker Natural Exploration Area, and the Prospect Park Zoo. The area contains the Nethermead Arch, an elaborate triple-span bridge. Quaker Hill and the Friends Cemetery are located near the southwest boundary of Prospect Park. Lookout Hill, as well as a large open space called the Nethermead, are located to the south and east of Quaker Hill, respectively. The Ravine also contains the Midwood, an old-growth forest incorporated into Prospect Park during its construction.
The third zone is along the park's south side and consists of Prospect Lake, as well as a peninsula jutting eastward from the lake's northern shore. It is the outlet for the Lullwater, a meandering stream. The Lullwater contains the classical-style Boathouse, a city- and federally-designated landmark, on the Lullwater's eastern shore. To the south, along the lake's eastern shore, are the White Levy Esplanade, as well as the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, a multipurpose recreation center.
Parkside Avenue, a roughly west-east street, divides the southwestern part of Prospect Park from the rest of the park. This detached sliver of parkland is bounded by Parkside Avenue to the north, Coney Island Avenue to the west, Caton Avenue to the south, and Parade Place to the east. It contains the Parade Ground, which has fifteen numbered courts and fields for various sports.
All of the waterways in Prospect Park are part of a single man-made watercourse. A winding naturalistic stream channel with several ponds feeds a 60-acre (24 ha) lake at the south end of the park. In designing the watercourse, Olmsted and Vaux also took advantage of the preexisting glacier-formed kettle ponds and lowland outwash plains to create a drainage basin centered around the waterway. They crafted the watercourse to include a steep, forested Ravine with significant river edge flora and fauna habitats. As a result, the watercourse is able to accommodate significant bird and fish populations.
Much of the watercourse is lined with vegetation that is designed to absorb precipitation and additional water flow. Olmsted also included an expansive drainage system, which is still in use and extends under the Long Meadow, Ravine, and Nethermead. About two-thirds of Prospect Park Lake's water typically evaporates. However, to prevent flooding after heavy precipitation, Prospect Park employees can control the outflow of water from the lake using a valve.
By the mid-20th century, these artificial waterways and the steep slopes around them had lost their original design character. In 1994 the Prospect Park Alliance launched a 25-year $43-million restoration project for the watercourse.
The water in Prospect Park originates at the top of Fallkill Falls in the center of the park, just north of Quaker Hill and east of Long Meadow. The Well House on the north side of the Lake originally provided the water for the watercourse, and was connected to an underground aquifer. The Well House became outdated when Prospect Park was connected to the New York City water supply system in the early 20th century. Today, Fallkill Falls is fed by a pipe from the city's water system.
The water from Fallkill Falls runs into Fallkill Pool, past the Fallkill Bridge, through the Upper Pool and Lower Pool, where migratory birds rest and marsh and other water plants can be found. The Upper Pool abuts a dog beach, while the Long Meadow is adjacent to the Lower Pool. The water then passes under the Esdale Bridge, a footbridge over Ambergill Pond. The pond, and the Ambergill Falls just past it, was named by Olmsted and refers to the Old Norse word for "creek". After passing through Ambergill Falls, the water flows under Rock Arch Bridge and past the Ravine, entering the Binnenwater, which is named after a Dutch word for "within".:64 The waters then cascade beneath the Binnen Bridge to the Lullwater, a small pond that contains the Boathouse on its eastern bank. The water then flows under the Lullwater and Terrace bridges to the Peninsula, which is managed both as bird sanctuary and recreational field.
The mouth of Prospect Park's watercourse is the artificial, 60-acre Prospect Lake (also known as Prospect Park Lake). Prospect Lake includes several islands and is home to over 20 species of fish. Every year, the lake hosts the R.H. Macy's Fishing Contest, a tradition that dates to 1947. Though NYC Parks generally allows licensed anglers to fish, it maintains a catch and release policy to prevent depletion of the fish population. In addition, visitors may explore the lake in kayaks and pedal boats, available at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside, or the Independence, a replica of the original electric launch which took day-trippers around the lake in the 20th century. On the shore of the lake, there are several "rustic shelters" that provide scenic views of the water.
Ice skating, popularized in Central Park, was a key reason for including Prospect Lake in the design of the park's watercourse. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, red balls raised on the fronts of trolley cars signified that the ice was at least four inches thick. Red flags were also placed at Grand Army Plaza to indicate the ice's sufficient thickness. Later, green flags were used to indicate that the ice was thick enough, and red flags indicated that the ice was too thin. Since then, safety concerns have ended skating on the lake; as a result of climate change, winters have become warmer in the 21st century compared to the 19th century, the ice on the lake has become too thin to accommodate skaters. Ice skating moved to the Kate Wollman Rink in 1960, and again to the Lakeside Center in 2012.
A 146-acre (59 ha) section of Prospect Park's interior is known as the Ravine. The region contains the headwaters of the park's water system, as well as Brooklyn's only remaining old-growth forest, the Midwood. Olmsted and Vaux saw the Ravine as the heart of Prospect Park and the centerpiece of mountainous tableaux similar to the Adirondack Mountains, and designed it in a similar fashion to their Ramble in Central Park. The perimeter of the area is a steep, narrow 100-foot (30 m) gorge. The watercourse goes through the Ravine en route to the Boathouse.
The original design of the Ravine was more aesthetic than functional, and decades of deferred maintenance had degraded the Ravine and made it hard to drain. During the 1970s, the brush was trimmed in order to make it harder for muggers to hide, and by the 1990s, the stream had dried up. In 1996, still recovering from decades of overuse that caused soil compaction and erosion, the Ravine and surrounding woodlands underwent a $4.5 million restoration. The Ravine was opened for tours two years later. By 2002 the Ravine had been partially restored and the restored section had been opened to the public.
The Long Meadow stretches down the western side of Prospect Park. The meadow contains two playgrounds, the Tennis House, the Picnic House, a bandshell, a dog beach, and NYC Parks maintenance facilities. In a contrast with the Ravine and the watercourse, the Long Meadow is mostly flat open space. As designed, it provided a visual buffer between the neighborhoods to the west and the interior of the park. During construction, Olmsted laid out hundreds of trees in meticulous patterns around the meadow.
Originally, the Long Meadow hosted sports such as archery, croquet, bowling, football, baseball, and tennis. To preserve the meadow's pastoral quality, sheep grazed on the meadow until the 1930s.:16 Today, much of the Long Meadow is used for a variety of purposes.:16 The southern part of the Long Meadow contains seven baseball fields.
As of 2018[update], Prospect Park had 30,000 trees, comprising around 200 unique species. With few exceptions, the trees in Prospect Park were mostly planted manually. In its earliest years, Prospect Park had maintained a nursery of trees and plants, from which over a hundred thousand specimens were eventually taken. Now, Prospect Park Alliance regularly maintains the park's flora, removing invasive species and adding native plants. Prospect Park contains four "great trees" that are specially recognized by NYC Parks. These include a Camperdown Elm south of the Boathouse, among the first planted in the United States; an American Hornbeam and a Japanese Pagodatree located near the Camperdown Elm; and an English Elm along West Drive.
Prospect Park also accommodates a significant bird population. Each year, hundreds of migratory bird species stop at the park, and during winters, birdwatchers reported seeing 60 unique species at the park on a good day, and 100 unique species over a typical season.:94 Over the years, a total of 298 species have been recorded at Prospect Park, including 11 not seen at other city parks.:35 Though there are no official lists of birds that have been seen at Prospect Park, the Brooklyn Bird Club has kept records of the avian species seen at Prospect Park between 1967 and 1990.:34–35 Popular spots for birds included Lookout and Quaker Hills, the Ravine, the Vale of Cashmere, and Lily Pond.
There are other fauna species in Prospect Park as well. In particular, the watercourse includes waterfowl, bullfrogs, fish, and crustacean species. In addition, squirrels are commonly seen in the park's trees.:94 Sightings of butterflies are also common, and since the 1990s and 2000s, increasing numbers of bats have been seen in Prospect Park.:94
Landmarks and structures
Plazas and entrances
- Grand Army Plaza is an oval plaza at the northern corner, at the junction of Prospect Park West, Flatbush Avenue, Eastern Parkway, and several side streets. Calvert and Vaux had intended for the plaza to be the park's main entrance, and it was constructed along with the park during the late 1860s. Grand Army Plaza's largest feature is the Soldiers' and Sailors' Arch, a large triumphal arch in the center of the oval, which was dedicated in 1892. The plaza also includes four Doric columns, built 1894–1896; the Bailey Fountain, constructed 1929–1932 on the site of two former fountains; and several statues of famous figures.
- Bartel-Pritchard Square, which is actually a circle, is at the far western corner of Prospect Park, at the junction of Prospect Park West and Southwest, Ninth Avenue, and 15th Street. Dedicated with its present name in 1923, it is named after Brooklyn residents Emil Bartel and William Pritchard, who died in combat during World War I. The park entrance from the square was designed by Stanford White in 1896.:48
- Machate Circle is at the southwestern corner, at the junction of Prospect Park West, Ocean Parkway, and Parkside Avenue. Originally named Park Circle, it was renamed in 1989 in honor of a police officer killed in the line of duty. The park entrance from Machate Circle was also designed by Stanford White.
Additional "major" entrances exist at the Parade Ground, on the park's south side; Parkside and Ocean Avenues, at the park's southeast corner; and Willink Hill, at Flatbush and Ocean Avenues on the eastern border.:7 (PDF p. 8) The Ocean/Parkside and Willink entrances were designed in the neoclassical style by McKim, Mead and White, and were built in the 1890s and 1900s. The Willink entrance is flanked by a pair of granite turrets, while the Ocean/Parkside entrance is located between the two portions of a curved granite colonnade.
There are numerous other entrances spaced out along the park's border. These include five entrances on Prospect Park West, four on Prospect Park Southwest, and three on Ocean Avenue on the park's eastern border. In total, there are eighteen park entrances. Of these, the Third, Ninth, and 16th Street and Lincoln Road entrances are considered "major entrances", and are flanked by memorials or other decorations.:7 (PDF p. 8) No entrances to Prospect Park have been built since the 1940s, but two entrances were proposed for the Flatbush Avenue side in 2016.
Prospect Park originally included several arched bridges to provide grade-separated crossings for pedestrian and vehicular traffic; usually, the vehicular drive was located on top of the arch, and the pedestrian path was below. This contrasted with other parks at the time, which did not contain such separations. The arches were designed to be as small and natural-looking as possible so they did not interfere with the scenery.:6:39–40 For the most part, the spaces under the arches were originally outfitted with benches, while the arches themselves blended with the foliage.:40 Five arched bridges were ultimately built, all during the late 1860s and early 1870s.
Endale Arch, also known as Enterdale Arch, is located under East Drive, slightly south of the Grand Army Plaza entrance on the north side of the park, and adjacent to the northeast side of Long Meadow. It was one of the first two arches to be completed, in 1868. Its exterior contained interspersed yellow Ohio sandstone and red New Jersey brownstone.:6 The interior was composed of brick set between alternately black and yellow wooden stripes, designed as such to prevent condensation from dripping downward.:39–40 Endale Arch contained seats underneath it, but these were later removed. In 2014, the Prospect Park Alliance began a five-year restoration of the arch.
East Wood Arch (or Eastwood Arch) is also located under East Drive, connecting the Nethermead Arch to the Willink Hill entrance on the eastern side of Prospect Park.:6 It was the second of the two arches to be completed in 1868. East Wood Arch had a similar design to the Endale Arch, but had a simpler semicircular shape.
Meadowport Arch is located on the northwest side of Long Meadow and passes under West Drive. It was completed in 1870. There were two portals at its eastern end, perpendicular to each other, creating a cross-vault. The arch had Ohio sandstone and wooden lining inside, and the portals contained circular cornices, outward-facing piers, and octagonal domed finials.:6 Meadowport Arch was restored in the 1980s, but has since fallen into disrepair.
Nethermead Arch, also completed c. 1870, carries Center Drive through the center of the park. The bridge contains three arches: one each above the Ambergill, the park path, and the bridle path. The span is made of Ohio sandstone and contains a trim of granite.:6 Unlike some of the other arches, Nethermead did not have any interior wood, but instead, had patterned red brick. The New York Times described its triple span as "one of the most astonishing structures in any city park."
Cleft Ridge Span is located under Wellhouse Drive, at Breeze Hill, on the eastern side of Prospect Park.:6 It was the final arch span to be opened, in 1872. The span was distinctive in its use of red, ochre, and pale gray concrete blocks called "Béton Coignet". Cleft Ridge might have been the first concrete arch span in the United States. Both the interior and exterior designs were elaborately designed, though these designs have since eroded.
Lullwater Bridge and Terrace Bridge are the only bridges across the watercourse that were built to handle automobile traffic. Lullwater Bridge is located just downstream of the Boathouse, on Prospect Park's eastern side. The current metal span, built in 1905, replaces an oak bridge on the site that was originally constructed in 1868.:68–69 Further downstream, Terrace Bridge carries Well House Drive over the watercourse just before it empties into the lake. Built in 1890, Terrace Bridge also replaced an earlier wooden span, and it contains cast-iron tracery and brick vaults underneath, which have since deteriorated.:70–71 It was so named because it was supposed to overlook the unbuilt Refectory, which had been canceled following the 1873 financial crisis.
From northwest to southeast, the Fallkill, Esdale, Nethermead Arch, Rock Arch, Music Grove, and Binnen Bridges also cross the watercourse upstream of the Lullwater Bridge. Fallkill, Esdale, and Rock Arch Bridges are located northwest of Nethermead Arch, while Music Grove and Binnen Bridges are located southeast of the arch. At the source of the watercourse, Fallkill and Esdale Bridges are both intended to look like wooden bridges, though are made of steel and concrete frames.:55 Rock Arch Bridge, a boulder-lined span, crosses over Ambergill Falls; the waterfall had once been buried by the bridge's stonework, but was restored in the late 20th century when the bridge was rehabilitated.:56 To the south, Binnen Bridge and Music Grove Bridge were both designed as wood bridges. Binnen Bridge is located just north of the Lullwater, while Music Grove Bridge further upstream is located next to the Music Pagoda.
Drives and paths
When it was built, Prospect Park did not have any transverse roadways. Instead, it was circled by a series of four scenic drives, named West, Center, Wellhouse, and East Drive.:6 The drives are paralleled by a more extensive system of pedestrian and bridle paths. Several paths in the park, as well as East Drive, follow ancient Native American trails.
The drives were originally 40 feet (12 m) wide and paved with gravel. The main loop, composed of West and East Drives, meanders around the park just inside its boundaries. The loops were paved with asphalt and opened to automobiles in 1918. Over the following decades, the hours at which vehicles could use the park were slowly restricted. Supporters of a car ban argued that the park should be a haven from the type of city stress that automobiles represent, and that having them use the park sacrifices the safety of those using the park for recreation, while opponents worried that banning traffic in the park would increase traffic outside. The park's West Drive was closed to traffic in 2015. Following a trial run in which the park was car-free during summer 2017, the city determined that there were no major effects on nearby routes, and cars were barred completely from the park beginning in January 2018.
There are also four hiking trails inside Prospect Park: the Lullwater, Midwood, Peninsula, and Waterfall trails. They range in length from 0.5 to 1.0 mile (0.80 to 1.61 km), and NYC Parks classifies all of the trails as "easy". The trails are named after the section of the park where they are located.
Monuments and statues
Prospect Park contains dozens of monuments and statues to notable figures, including:
- A bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln, sculpted by Henry Kirke Brown in 1869. Originally situated in Grand Army Plaza, it was relocated to the Concert Grove in Prospect Park in 1896, and restored in the late 1980s. With the Concert Grove's restoration in the 2010s, it was proposed to move the statue back to its original position, but as of 2014[update], it has not been moved.
- A bronze-on-marble statue of James S.T. Stranahan, sculpted by Frederick MacMonnies and located near the Grand Army Plaza entrance. It was dedicated in 1891 and honors Stranahan, one of the key figures in the park's development.
- The Lafayette Memorial, a bas-relief on granite at the Ninth Street entrance on the park's west side. The monument, which honors Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, was sculpted by Daniel Chester French and was completed in 1917.
- The Maryland Monument, a Corinthian column near Terrace Bridge. It was created by Stanford White and dedicated in 1895. The column commemorates the Maryland 400, members of the 1st Maryland Regiment who charged British forces on Lookout Hill in the Battle of Long Island during the American Revolution, despite being outnumbered.
- The Prospect Park War Memorial, along the eastern shore of the lake. Sculpted by Henry Augustus Lukeman, it was dedicated in 1921. The memorial consists of two bronze figures in front of a curved wall with memorial plaques, containing the names of 2,800 people who died during World War I.
- Monuments to classical composers, including Beethoven, Mozart, and von Weber, in Concert Grove. The surrounding area also contains tributes to poet Thomas Moore, writer Washington Irving, and classical composer Edvard Grieg.
West side and Long Meadow
The Picnic House is located in Long Meadow on Prospect Park's west side. Built in 1927, it replaced an earlier rustic structure that had burned down the previous year. The structure was designed by J. Sarsfield Kennedy.
The Litchfield Villa is located near the intersection of 5th Street and Prospect Park West, directly west of the Picnic House. The building was originally a private residence built in 1854–1857 in the Italianate style. NYC Parks has used Litchfield Villa as a maintenance and office building since the late 19th century. The villa was listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) in 1977. A garage compound used by NYC Parks abuts the villa directly to the south.
The Tennis House, constructed in 1909–1910 by Helmle. Hudswell and Huberty, is located on the Long Meadow at West Drive, west of approximately 8th Street. The structure is a neoclassical structure made of limestone and brick, with a red tile roof.:130 It was first used as a locker room for tennis players, but later was converted into a non-public NYC Parks facility. By the 2000s, the structure had become dilapidated. In 2017, it was announced that the Tennis House would be renovated and converted into restrooms as part of a $5.1 million, 4-year project.
Roughly southeast of the Tennis House is the Dog Beach, on the western shore of the Fallkill section of the watercourse. It is often used by dogs and their owners during summers, since Prospect Park has an "off-leash" policy that allows unleashed dogs during early mornings and late evenings. The beach was restored in 2017.
At 10th Street, to the west of West Drive, is the Harmony Playground and Bandshell. The bandshell, designed by Aymar Embury II, was built in 1939 on the site of a former "zoological site", which was used for archery and hockey. The bandshell and the adjacent playground were restored in 2000 and given a musical theme.
The Rose Garden is located next to Flatbush Avenue, on the north side of Prospect Park southwest of the Grand Army Plaza entrance. It was built on the site of the Playground, a lawn that had been the first part of Prospect Park to open. During the late 19th and early 20th century, the garden had roses and a goldfish pond. The Rose Garden was renovated in the 1960s, after which the garden did not host any roses. In 2017, the Prospect Park Alliance announced plans to restore the garden, and in the meantime, it placed 7,000 pinwheels in an effort to attract visitors.
To the west, adjacent to the Rose Garden, is another garden called the Vale of Cashmere. The garden was named after Thomas Moore's poem "Lalla Rookh", which in turn referred to Kashmir in what was then northern India. The Vale of Cashmere was once used frequently by the well-to-do. It contains a fountain that originally had a sculpture of a nude youth and six turtles in the center, though the sculpture was stolen in 1941. The Vale became overgrown during the 20th century, and its fountain was abandoned. The Vale of Cashmere later became a popular spot for gay cruising, as documented in the book In the Vale of Cashmere by Thomas Roma. The woods around the vale were damaged in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy and were subsequently restored.
The Prospect Park Zoo occupies a 12-acre (4.9 ha) plot slightly south of the Rose Garden across Flatbush Avenue from Brooklyn Botanic Garden. The zoo was opened in 1935 and has been operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society since 1980. As of 2016[update], Prospect Park Zoo had 864 animals representing 176 species.
The oldest structure in Prospect Park, the Lefferts Historic House, is located south of the zoo, near the intersection of Ocean Avenue, Flatbush Avenue, and Empire Boulevard. It was built in 1783 and was originally located near the Willink Hill entrance. The structure was relocated in 1920 to make way for the Willink entrance. The house is a New York City designated landmark and operates as a children's museum of Brooklyn family life during the 19th century.
The Prospect Park Carousel is located immediately west of the Lefferts Historic House. The carousel contains 53 horses, created by master horse carver Charles Carmel in 1912, as well as three carvings of other animals and two chariots. The carousel opened in October 1952, superseding another carousel that had burned down over twenty years earlier. It was subsequently restored from 1971 to 1974, and again from 1987 to 1989. Prior to the opening of the current carousel, three separate wooden carousels had been built throughout the park's history, and were located in different parts of the park.
Further south of the Willink entrance is the Boathouse on the Lullwater, on the Lullwater's eastern shore. Built in 1905–1907, it was the first structure in the park built by McKim, Mead and White, and was also constructed in the neoclassical style.:130 After being saved from destruction in 1964, it was listed on the NRHP in 1972.
South of the Boathouse, past the Cleft Ridge Arch, is the Concert Grove, located on the northeast edge of the Lake. Originally built in 1847, it was designed so park patrons could hear music being played on the later-demolished Music Island. The grove's style complements that of the Central Park Mall; however, unlike the elongated, rectangular Mall, the Concert Grove was laid out radially, in order to blend more smoothly with the landscape. It consists of two pathways fanning outward, away from the Lake, as well as a pedestrian walkway running through the middle of the grove. Two curved terraces, paralleling the shoreline and running perpendicularly to the spokes of the "fan", divide the grove into plateaus. The grove also contains busts of classical composers. A frame chalet called the Concert Grove House was located north of the grove and served as a restaurant before being demolished in 1949. A statue of Abraham Lincoln is located at the Concert Grove.
The Concert Grove Pavilion, also known as the Oriental Pavilion, is located in the middle of the Concert Grove, measuring 40 by 80 feet (12 by 24 m) with a roof and columns in a Middle Eastern or Indian style. Formerly a table service restaurant, it was converted to a snack bar in the 1950s after the closure of the Concert Grove House. The pavilion was damaged in a 1974 fire and was restored in 1987. However, it has since deteriorated, though plans to restore the pavilion were revealed in 2015.
The Samuel J. and Ethel LeFrak Center at Lakeside is located immediately south of the Concert Grove. It was completed in December 2013 and replaces the former Wollman Rink. The multipurpose, year-round facility is used for ice-skating, boating, biking, and roller-skating, as well as winter sports such as hockey and curling. The LeFrak Center accommodates over 200,000 visitors annually.
Nethermead and Lookout Hill
The Music Pagoda is located in the Nethermead, on the east side of the park along the watercourse's west shore. The original pagoda, built in 1887, was a wooden structure with an octagonal roof and a stone base. It replaced a "temporary" music stand near the Lullwood. The Music Pagoda was used for concerts until it burned down in 1968. The current pagoda on the site is a re-creation of the original, built in 1971.
The Well House is located on the northern shore of the Lake, abutting the southern slope of Lookout Hill on the southwestern side of Prospect Park. It was the last structure in the park to be built by Calvert and Vaux, having been built in 1869. It was made of gray stone and brick, and featured a hip roof and a doorway inside a Tudor arch. The house initially contained machinery that powered Prospect Park's watercourse, and at one point, pumped 750,000 US gallons (2,800,000 L) of water into the watercourse each day. The water from the Well House was drawn from a 70-foot-deep (21 m) well, which led to the Brooklyn Aquifer. Originally, there was a 60-foot-tall (18 m) smokestack behind the Well House, as well as a cistern in front of the building. The machines became obsolete in the early 20th century when Prospect Park was connected to New York City's municipal water system. Subsequently, the tower was demolished and the cistern was filled in. In 2017, it was restored and turned into a composting restroom.
The Prospect Park Peristyle, also known as the Grecian Shelter or Croquet Shelter, is located on the southwest corner of the park, south of the Lake. Constructed by McKim, Mead and White in 1905, this peristyle was built on the site of the 1860s-era Promenade Drive Shelter. The Prospect Park Peristyle is actually designed in the Renaissance architectural style and consists of a rectangular colonnade with Corinthian columns. It was rehabilitated in 1966 and listed on the NRHP in 1972.
The Dairy Cottage, or "the Dairy", was located near Boulder Bridge west of the zoo. It was a two-story stone cottage with two gabled wings; a public room and women's quarters on the first floor; and a single residence on the second floor. The Dairy was built in 1869 or 1871 to sell fresh milk and other light refreshments to the public; a similar building was also built in Central Park. At the time, sheep and cows were allowed to pasture on the meadows of Prospect Park, and seven cows were purchased specifically to provide milk. However, according to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, news articles after 1879 do not make a mention of the Dairy providing milk. The cottage later became part of the Menagerie, the precursor to the modern-day zoo, and was encircled by several other zoo buildings to its north and east. All of these buildings were demolished in 1935 when the zoo was built.
There were two unusual structures built in Prospect Park in its early years. The first was a camera obscura booth located on Breeze Hill's western slope, at the east end of the park, built in the early 1880s. The second was the Circular Yacht or Rotary Yacht, a floating carousel with yacht-shaped vehicles. Located near the Long Meadow, the Circular Yacht was constructed by inventor David Smith in 1878 and could hold up to 220 people at once. These structures were both demolished before the 1900s, and the camera obscura later became the site of the now-demolished Old Fashioned Flower Garden.
The park contained a Music Island near the east shore of the Lake. The island was used by musicians who were performing for audiences in the nearby Concert Grove. It was demolished in 1960 to make way for the Wollman Rink. Following the rink's demolition in the early 2010s, a replica of the island was constructed, and it opened in 2012. Across the Lake, two structures were built on the peninsula in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Model Yacht Club House, built on the south side of the peninsula in 1900, was an octagonal wood-frame clubhouse that burned down in a fire in 1956. On the opposite or northern side of the peninsula, there was another shelter, similar in design to the Concert Grove Pavilion, which lasted from 1915 to around the 1940s.
On the west side of Prospect Park, there was a conservatory on the Long Meadow. It consisted of sixteen greenhouses located near Seventh Street and Prospect Park West. Though it was a popular visitor attraction, it was supplanted by the Brooklyn Botanic Garden past the park's eastern edge. The conservatory's greenhouses were renovated in 1929–1930, but the cost of upkeep soon became exorbitant. In 1955, the greenhouses were considered redundant and were demolished. At that point, the conservatory's main attraction was an annual Easter flower show.
There are numerous sports hosted in Prospect Park, and specialized facilities exist for several sports. Seven baseball fields are located in the Long Meadow between 9th and 15th Streets. Two are major league-sized fields serving older age groups, while the other five are slightly smaller and intended for younger children, typically 8–12 years old. In the winter, ice skating, cross-country skiing, figure skating, curling, hockey, and tennis are provided in the LeFrak Center at Lakeside. The LeFrak Center also accommodates boating and biking. The Parade Ground also contains a variety of fields for several sports.
Other sports are also played in Prospect Park. The Prospect Park Track Club, formed in the early 1970s, organizes regular training runs and races in and around the park's 3.35-mile-long (5.39 km) loop. The Prospect Park Women's Softball League has been playing softball games on summer evenings in Prospect Park since 1973. Circle rules football is also played seasonally inside the park. Since the 1930s, the nearby Kensington Stables has hosted horse-riding lessons in Prospect Park. Pedalboating is also open to the public on the lake. Prospect Park's rolling hills also accommodate sledding during the winters.
The Bandshell hosts frequent concerts, most notably the "Celebrate Brooklyn!" Performing Arts Festival, a series of summer concerts founded in 1979 that draws performing artists from around the world. The festival is produced by BRIC Arts Media Bklyn.
The site of the present-day Parade Ground, at Prospect Park's southwest corner, was first proposed in 1866 and was to be used for training militia. The state approved the acquisition of a 40-acre (16 ha) rectangular area just south of Parkside Avenue and handed control of the plot to the Prospect Park commissioners. The Parade Ground was designated to be used for sports and military drills. It was set apart from the main section of the park in fear that the high level of activity would damage the grass and plants and disrupt the park's pastoral feel. Initially, the Parade Ground contained a long, wood-frame building, which included a two-story pavilion for officers' quarters, as well as a restroom to the south and a guard room to the north.
The militia no longer use the Parade Ground, but the plot is still an active athletic complex. In its present form, the Parade Ground has fifteen numbered courts and fields, used for soccer, baseball, softball, basketball, and volleyball. They encompass the Prospect Park Tennis Center, four baseball diamonds, two softball fields, a football field, a soccer field, basketball and volleyball courts, the Paul Ricard Pétanque Court and three giant multi-use fields. Many Major League Baseball stars got their start at the Parade Ground, including Joe Torre and Sandy Koufax. In 2004 the Parade Ground underwent a $12.4 million restoration.
A nonprofit organization called Prospect Park Alliance manages Prospect Park, while NYC Parks owns and operates the land and facilities. The Alliance's responsibilities include maintaining and restoring natural and recreational areas, as well as providing educational and cultural programs. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, the Alliance had net assets (own equity) of about $19.3 million and liabilities of $1.9 million, which amounted to total assets of $21.2 million. Net assets increased $1.56 million from the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017.
Prior to the Prospect Park Alliance's founding, there was no private maintenance of the park. The Alliance was created in April 1987 after the city had spent $10 million in federal funds to renovate the park in the early 1980s. The Alliance subsequently started new programs to reach out to the surrounding communities, and its renovation programs caused housing prices in the area to increase by the 1990s.
There are four New York City Subway stations that directly serve the park. The eastern side of Prospect Park is served by the park's eponymous station (B, Q, and S trains) and the Parkside Avenue station (Q train). The western side is served by 15th Street–Prospect Park (F and G trains). Grand Army Plaza is served by the 2 and 3 trains at the plaza's eponymous station. Bus service is provided on the western side by the B61, B67 and B69 buses, the southwestern side by the B68 bus; the eastern side by the B16, B41 and B48 buses; and the southern side by the B16 bus.
During the 1970s, there were multiple incidents involving animal injuries or deaths at the Prospect Park Zoo. This included the scalding death of a monkey in 1975, allegedly by a zoo employee, as well as an acting zoo director who was accused of shooting at pigeons and killing zoo animals. A zoo employee also locked himself in a monkey enclosure for several hours in 1974 to protest the deaths of ten animals. These incidents, as well as several others at the Central Park Zoo, prompted protests by animal-rights groups who wanted to close the two zoos and move the animals to the larger Bronx Zoo. This directly led to the Wildlife Conservation Society's takeover of the Prospect Park Zoo in 1980.
In May 1987, an 11-year-old boy climbed into the polar bear enclosure after hours at the Prospect Park Zoo and was subsequently mauled by two of the bears; both bears were then fatally shot by police officers. The incident contributed to the Wildlife Conservation Society's decision to redesign the zoo to emphasize species more appropriate to its small size and to visitor interactions.
In July 2010, federal authorities captured 400 Canada geese in the park and gassed them to death due to air safety concerns brought up after the emergency landing of US Airways Flight 1549 in January 2009.
Several murders have occurred in Prospect Park during its history. In June 1993, a 42-year-old man was shot to death while resisting a group of teenagers trying to steal his bicycle; the shooter received a maximum 25-year prison term. In April 2006, a 61-year-old man was found stabbed to death in the Vale of Cashmere. A 41-year-old homeless man was found beaten to death in a wooded area near a jogging path two years later, in June 2008. A 23-year-old man, Julio Locarno, was fatally shot at the Parade Ground in March 2011, having recently been jailed on charges of being an accomplice in another man's murder.
- List of New York City Designated Landmarks in Brooklyn
- National Register of Historic Places listings in Kings County, New York
- "Prospect Park". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. I. Van Anden. October 21, 1867. p. 2 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "Prospect Park Timeline". prospectpark.org. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- National Park Service (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "Prospect Park" (PDF). Landmarks Preservation Commission. November 25, 1975.
- "Prospect Park : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- "Prospect Park: Wetlands of New York City". New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. December 7, 2001. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- "NYC Regional Geology: 62 Prospect Park". United States Geological Survey. 2004. Retrieved November 20, 2007.
- Tate, Alan (2015). Great City Parks. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 978-1-317-61298-8. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
- Brooklyn (NY) Topographical Map (PDF) (Map). USGS. 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
- The large peat bog north of Ninth Street, running east of Prospect Park West, was called the Pigeon Ground and occupied much of the area that was to become the Long Meadow. Levison, Wallace Goold (1909). Louis Pope Gratacap, ed. "The Peat Beds of Prospect Park, Brooklyn, New York" in Geology of the City of New York. New York: H. Holt and Company. pp. 224–225.
- Martin, Douglas (April 9, 1995). "Urban Backyard To Be Revitalized". The New York Times. New York Times and Company. Retrieved December 10, 2007.
- "History timeline". prospectpark.org. Archived from the original on December 31, 2008. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- "Secrets of Prospect Park". am New York. October 19, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Lancaster, Clay (1972). Prospect Park Handbook (2nd ed.). New York: Long Island University Press. ISBN 978-0-913252-06-2.
- Anderson, J.A. (1887). Laws Relating to the Public Parks, Parkways, and Other Property Under the Care and Control of the Brooklyn Park Commissioners. p. 1. Retrieved January 20, 2019.
- "Public Parks and Promenades". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 29, 1860. p. 2. Retrieved January 19, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- Bluestone, Daniel M. (1987). "From Promenade to Park: The Gregarious Origins of Brooklyn's Park Movement". American Quarterly. JSTOR. 39 (4): 529–550. doi:10.2307/2713123. ISSN 0003-0678. JSTOR 2713123.
- "Prospect Park". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 19, 1861. p. 2. Retrieved January 19, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "History and Nature: History of the Park". Prospect Park Alliance. 2007. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
- Berenson, Richard J.; deMause, Neil (2001). The Complete Illustrated Guidebook to Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. New York: Silver Lining Books. ISBN 978-0-7607-2213-8.
- "PROSPECT PARK; Progress of the Work--Descriptive Particulars". The New York Times. December 15, 1868. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- Annual reports of the Brooklyn Park Commissioners, 1861-1873. Brooklyn Park Commissioners. 1873. p. 127. Retrieved January 28, 2019 – via Internet Archive.
- "Litchfield Villa". Prospect Park Alliance: Official WebSite of Prospect Park. Prospect Park Alliance. 2008. Archived from the original on October 29, 2008.
- Morrone, Francis (2001). An Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn. Salt Lake City: Gibbs-Smith. ISBN 978-1-58685-047-0.
- Annual report of the Commissioners of Prospect Park. Commissioners of Prospect Park. 1868. p. 68. Retrieved January 28, 2019 – via Internet Archive.
- "Prospect Park; The Architect's Plan For Its Improvement". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. February 5, 1866. p. 2. Retrieved January 28, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- Jackson, Kenneth T., ed. (2010), The Encyclopedia of New York City (2nd ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 1043, ISBN 978-0-300-11465-2
- "1870 Brooklyn Park Commissoners Annual Report" (PDF). nyc.gov. New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. January 1871. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
- "Prospect Park". The New York Times. October 22, 1867. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- "Prospect Park.; the View from the Reservoir Boating on the Lake. the Central Park. the Merrick Camp-Meeting. Departure of the Highlanders. the Labor Movement". The New York Times. August 11, 1873. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Prospect Park". The New York Times. June 22, 1875. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- Dailey, Jessica (August 7, 2013). "25 Little-Known Facts About Olmsted & Vaux's Masterpiece". Curbed NY. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- "The Park "Magician": Is He Cornered At Last?". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn Eagle Inc. June 7, 1882. p. 2, cols. 1–2. Retrieved November 20, 2007 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "Mr. Stranahan Dead". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 3, 1898. p. 1, col 1; p. 2, cols 4–6 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "For A Statue; In Honor of James S. T. Stranahan". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 15, 1890. p. 6, col. 3. Retrieved May 27, 2007 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "The Father of the Park". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn Eagle Inc. June 7, 1891. p. 20, col. 3. Retrieved November 20, 2007 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "A Flashback to Croquet's Heyday in Prospect Park". The New York Times. July 8, 2014. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Skating at Prospect Park.; Women Who Can Do Tricks on Skates Like the Men". The New York Times. January 25, 1893. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Picnics". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 15, 1886. p. 11. Retrieved January 28, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "Facts About Prospect Park.; the Great Pleasure Ground Not Quite Gone to Decay". The New York Times. June 3, 1881. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Municipal: Interesting Happenings at City Hall Today". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Brooklyn Eagle Inc. June 7, 1882. p. 4, col. 3.
- "Prospect Park's Decay.; Mayor Chapin Wants $100,000 Appropriated at Once". The New York Times. April 20, 1888. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "1889 Brooklyn Borough Parks Department Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. January 7, 1890. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "1888 Brooklyn Borough Parks Department Annual Report" (PDF). New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. March 11, 1889. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "For Public Use: Proposing to Retain the East Side Lands". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 3, 1889. p. 3. Retrieved February 14, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Sergey Kadinsky (March 7, 2016). Hidden Waters of New York City: A History and Guide to 101 Forgotten Lakes, Ponds, Creeks, and Streams in the Five Boroughs. Countryman Press. pp. 226–229. ISBN 978-1-58157-566-8.
- "Olmsted and Vaux". Prospect Park Alliance. 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- "NO EATING IN PROSPECT PARK.; Manhattan Visitors Too Careless with Refuse Led to Blue Laws". The New York Times. July 21, 1903. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Kennedy and Cozier Conspire Against Cupid". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. July 12, 1907. p. 2. Retrieved February 14, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "PRIMING UP CITY'S PARKS: Many Changes Are Now Under Way in Prospect Park". New-York Tribune. April 26, 1908. p. C8. Retrieved February 15, 2019 – via ProQuest.
- "OPEN PROSPECT PARK ZOO.; New Menagerie Building Dedicated by Commissioner Ingersoll". The New York Times. April 30, 1916. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "PLAN SOLDIERS' MEMORIAL.; Brooklyn Monument in Prospect Park to Bear About 2,000 Names". The New York Times. February 20, 1919. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Prospect Park War Memorial : NYC Parks". Prospect Park Monuments. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Permanent Revolution". New York magazine. September 10, 2012.
- "Olmsted and Moses Were the Key Figures in Development of City Parks". The New York Times. October 13, 1980. pp. Section: Metropolitan Report, Page B4. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 23, 2007.
- "SMITH HAILS MOSES AS CITY PARKS HEAD; Tells of His Service to State and City at Luncheon Given by Long Island Leaders. NEW POLICY IS OUTLINED Commissioner's First Tasks to Be to Finish Parkways and End Traffic 'Bottlenecks.'". The New York Times. January 19, 1934. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- "Smith Decries 'Back-Alley Politics' of La Guardia in Row With Moses; At Opening of New Prospect Park Zoo Former Governor Extols Park Commissioner, Who Joins Mayor in Shunning Ceremony – 3,000 View Glittering $500,000 Centre.". The New York Times. July 4, 1935. pp. 1, 17. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 12, 2007.
- "Smith Decries 'Back-Alley Politics' Of La Guardia in Row With Moses; At Opening of New Prospect Park Zoo Former Governor Extols Park Commissioner, Who Joins Mayor in Shunning Ceremony -- 3,000 View Glittering $500,000 Centre". The New York Times. July 4, 1935. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Hanmer, Wendell (October 22, 1952). "Big, Small Fry Vie for Brass Ring". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. p. 3. Retrieved February 14, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "CARROUSEL IS DEDICATED; Prospect Park Merry-Go-Round Gets Official City Send-Off". The New York Times. October 22, 1952. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Jacobs, Karrie (July 12, 2017). "The manhole in the meadow". Curbed NY. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Willensky, E. (1986). When Brooklyn was the World, 1920-1957. Harmony Books. p. 210. ISBN 978-0-517-55858-4. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- Illson, Murray (October 17, 1959). "Pruning and Cleaning Begun in Prospect Park; City Says Program Will Make Area Prettier and Safer Department Splits Job Into 5 Sections in 5-Year Effort". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Rink Approved; Wollman Fund Gives $300,000". The New York Times. October 7, 1960. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "New Wollman Rink Is Dedicated in Brooklyn". The New York Times. December 23, 1961. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Martin, Douglas (September 14, 1998). "Prospect Park's Ravine Inching Closer to Past". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Concert Grove History". Prospect Park Alliance. 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- Dunlap, David W. (October 3, 2012). "An Island of Tranquillity Is Reclaimed in Prospect Park". City Room. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "The Daily Plant : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. October 23, 2012. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Secrets of Prospect Park". Forgotten New York. May 30, 2005. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "City to Discard 17 Greenhouses". The New York Times. May 23, 1955. pp. Page 39. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved December 1, 2007.
- "Laying the Preservation Framework: 1960-1980". Cultural Landscapes (U.S. National Park Service). April 24, 1962. Retrieved September 6, 2018.
- "Audubon Center – History". Prospect Park Alliance. 2008. Archived from the original on March 21, 2009. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- Tolchin, Martin (September 14, 1964). "A GASLIGHT RELIC AWAITS VERDICT; Prospect Park Boathouse May Face Demolition". The New York Times. pp. food fashions family furnishings, Page 29. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- Graff, M. M.; George Kalmbacher (1982). Tree Trails of Prospect Park. New York: Greensward Foundation.
- Tolchin, Martin (December 11, 1964). "BOATHOUSE SAVED AT PROSPECT PARK; Morris 'Succumbs to Public Opinion' on Landmark". The New York Times. pp. food fashions family furnishings, Page 57. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 11, 2007.
- "City Will Spruce Up Brooklyn's Prospect Park in a $450,000 Project; CITY TO SPRUCE UP PROSPECT PARK". The New York Times. August 8, 1965. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- Tolchin, Martin (December 1, 1964). "RESTORATION DUE IN PROSPECT PARK; Planners Vote $924,000 -Citizens' Group Hailed". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- "Rap City for Lagging on Repairs to Prospect Park". New York Daily News. April 5, 1970. p. 109. Retrieved February 7, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Knight, Michael (February 28, 1971). "Prospect Park's Future Is Pondered: A Place to Play or a Place to Find Tranquillity?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Cadkin, Janice C. (October 13, 1974). "Park Carousel Reopening". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Gray, Christopher (June 30, 1996). "Streetscapes/Prospect Park Boathouse;After a 1971 Restoration Fails, It's Time to Re-Restore". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "City's 3 Zoos to Be Taken Over By New York Zoological Society". The New York Times. April 23, 1980. pp. Metropolitan Report, Page B1. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 22, 2007.
- Anderson, Susan Heller (April 6, 1987). "NONPROFIT GROUP TO NOURISH ONCE-SHABBY PROSPECT PARK". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
- Laskow, Sarah (June 30, 2014). "What donors do for (some) city parks". Politico PRO. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- Martin, Douglas (October 7, 1989). "About New York; Restoring Some Magic To Brooklyn". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
- Bahrampour, Tara (April 30, 2000). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: PROSPECT PARK; Bird Lovers Will Find a Home in a Beaux-Arts Boathouse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Audubon New York". National Audubon Society. 2008. Archived from the original on January 16, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2008.
- "Prospect Park Highlights". Harmony Playground : NYC Parks. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Bahrampour, Tara (December 3, 2000). "NEIGHBORHOOD REPORT: PROSPECT PARK; Brooklyn's Prized Wollman Rink Is Feeling Its Age". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Prospect Park Alliance Annual Report 2006 (PDF). New York: Prospect Park Alliance. 2006. p. 9. Archived from the original (PDF (Portable Document Format)) on February 28, 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- "Wollman Rink". Prospect Park Alliance. 2008. Retrieved March 21, 2009.
- "The Lakeside Center at Prospect Park". Prospect Park Alliance. August 2008. Retrieved August 30, 2008.
- Pollak, Michael (August 7, 2011). "Monitoring Progress of Wollman Rink in Prospect Park". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- "Opening of new LeFrak Center ice rink". The official website of the City of New York. December 17, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- Kimmelman, Michael (October 20, 2013). "Restoring Brooklyn's Pastoral Heart". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- Newman, Andy (December 10, 2009). "Where Rink Now Stands, an Isle Is Planned". City Room. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Group Plans to Renovate Long-Neglected Areas of Prospect Park". The New York Times. August 5, 2015. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Long Meadow Ballfield 1 Reconstruction : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Prospect Park To Build Two New Flatbush Avenue Entrances; BP Urges Traffic Calming". BKLYNER. May 26, 2016. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- "2 new entrances coming to Prospect Park". am New York. April 26, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- "Prospect Park New Flatbush Avenue Entrances Construction and Willink Entrance Reconstruction : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- "City Budget Invests in Prospect Park". Prospect Park. July 13, 2016. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Prospect Park gets $3.7 million in funding for improvements". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. November 2, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Stapinski, Helene (October 5, 2017). "In Prospect Park, First the Goats, Then the Shrubbery". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Wellhouse is Flowing Once Again". Spectrum News NY1 | New York City. June 19, 2017. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Warerkar, Tanay (June 19, 2017). "Prospect Park's 148-year-old Wellhouse is transformed into a composting restroom". Curbed NY. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Peele, Robert (November 8, 2017). "Where the Dogs Are". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Receives Funding To Restore Tennis House, Parade Ground, And More". BKLYNER. July 27, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Planting a new Rose Garden! Prospect Park officials call for ideas to revive forgotten patch of greenspace". Brooklyn Paper. May 26, 2017. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Double play: Prospect Park honchos unveil pair of renovated ball fields". Brooklyn Paper. September 29, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Long Meadow Ballfields 4 and 5 Reconstruction : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Upgrades And New Entrances Coming To Flatbush Avenue Side Of Prospect Park". BKLYNER. April 26, 2018. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- Gray, Christopher (July 17, 1994). "Streetscapes/Prospect Park; The Other Olmsted & Vaux Landscape Masterpiece". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- Prospect Park Alliance Map (PDF) (Map). Prospect Park Alliance. 2018. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- Scherer, Jenna (August 10, 2017). "15 hidden gems of Prospect Park". Curbed NY. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "The Park is functioning as designed". Brooklyn Paper. August 26, 2011. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Highlights - the Wetlands of New York City : NYC Parks". Prospect Park. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Pollak, Michael (November 15, 2009). "Take That, E-Mail". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- De Vries, Susan (June 20, 2018). "Take a Seat on a Piece of Engineering History in Prospect Park". Brownstoner. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Avery, Susan (July 10, 2006). "Go Fish". NYMag.com. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Chan, Sewell (July 18, 2016). "Go Fish: Trying to Land a Big One in Prospect Park". City Room. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Skog, Jason (July 8, 2006). "Catch This! Lake Full of Largemouth Only a Subway Ride Away". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Boating in Prospect Park". Prospect Park. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Audubon Center at the Boathouse - Things to do in Prospect Park, Brooklyn". Time Out New York. March 7, 2011. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Ball Goes Up Again". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 9, 1900. p. 17. Retrieved February 20, 2018 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "From the Archives: Skating through History". Prospect Park. January 22, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "29 Reasons Why Prospect Park Is The Best In New York". businessinsider.com. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- "Ravine District history". prospectpark.org. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- "How to Enjoy Brooklyn's Prospect Park". The New York Times. June 19, 2018. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Leonhardt, Andrea (October 2, 2018). "Survey Reveals Eco Benefits and Value of Prospect Park Trees". BK Reader. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "The Tall History of Prospect Park's Trees". Prospect Park. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "The Results Are In! Prospect Park Tree Survey". Prospect Park. September 14, 2018. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Great Trees : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Buckley, P.A.; Sedwitz, W.; Norse, W.J.; Kieran, J. (2018). Urban Ornithology: 150 Years of Birds in New York City. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-1-5017-1962-2. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Prospect Park Alliance (November 14, 2017). "New Entrances for Prospect Park on Flatbush Avenue Located between Grand Army Plaza and the Prospect Park Zoo on Flatbush Avenue" (PDF). nyc.gov. New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
- "Prospect Park". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. June 20, 1867. p. 2. Retrieved February 5, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "Grand Army Plaza Highlights : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Levy, Nicole (March 4, 2016). "How Bartel-Pritchard 'Square' Got Its Name Despite Being Circle-Shaped". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved October 11, 2016.
- "Machate Circle Highlights : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- "Park Entrances". Prospect Park. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Gray, Christopher (June 23, 2011). "The Fate of Prospect Park's Five Arches". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
- "THE BRIDGES OF PROSPECT PARK". Forgotten New York. August 16, 2001. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
- "Endale Arch Restoration". Prospect Park. November 20, 2014. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
- Chamberlin, William P. (1983). "The Cleft-ridge Span: America's First Concrete Arch". IA. The Journal of the Society for Industrial Archeology. 9 (1): 29–44. JSTOR 40968042.
- Bolton, Reginald Pelham (1922). Indian paths in the great metropolis. Retrieved February 7, 2019 – via Internet Archive.
- Baker, R.C. (January 2, 2018). "Prospect Park Is Car-Free At Last". Village Voice. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
- Aaron Gordon (January 2, 2018), Prospect Park Is Car-Free at Last, The Village Voice
- "Transportation Alternatives Car-Free Prospect Park Campaign". transalt.org. Archived from the original on December 7, 2004. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- Keep Cars in Prospect Park Brooklyn Paper, October 2, 2008
- "Prospect Park Goes Permanently Car-Free". CBS New York. January 2, 2018. Retrieved April 15, 2018.
- "Prospect Park Is Permanently Going Car-Free: Mayor". NBC 4 New York. Oct 23, 2017.
- "Prospect Park Hiking Trails : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 13, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Monuments". NYC Parks. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Abraham Lincoln". Abraham Lincoln : NYC Parks. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Newman, Barry (December 10, 2011). "In Brooklyn, G Marks the Spot for a Bust of Abe Lincoln". WSJ. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "James S.T. Stranahan : NYC Parks". Prospect Park Monuments. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Lafayette Memorial : NYC Parks". Prospect Park Monuments. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "A Memorial to Brave Marylanders". The New York Times. February 4, 1895. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Maryland Monument : NYC Parks". Prospect Park Highlights. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Von Weber Memorial : NYC Parks". Prospect Park Monuments. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- "Picnic House Razed by Fire in Brooklyn". The New York Times. April 26, 1926. p. 7. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 24, 2007.
- National Park Service (April 15, 2008). "National Register Information System – Litchfield Villa (#77000946)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Spivack, Caroline (July 27, 2017). "107-Year-Old Prospect Park Tennis House to Get $5.1 Million Makeover". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Long Meadow - Things to do in Prospect Park, New York". Time Out New York. August 5, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "What's in store for the Prospect Park rose garden?". am New York. May 25, 2018. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Gordon, David (January 27, 1974). "A Designer of Prospect Park Stepping Out of Olmsted's Shadow". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "The Abandoned Garden of Prospect Park - New York Public Radio, Podcasts, Live Streaming Radio, News". WNYC. August 28, 2014. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Wildlife Conservation Society (Summer 2007). "Prospect Park Zoo (prospectparkzoo.com) Visitor Brochure". 200/603. Wildlife Conservation Society.
- "City's 3 Zoos to Be Taken Over By New York Zoological Society; City's Zoos to Be Run by Zoological Society Zoo Was Rebuilt in 1934 $8.3 Million for Central Park". The New York Times. April 23, 1980. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Wildlife Conservation Society (December 2016). "Annual Report 2016" (PDF). Wildlife Conservation Society: 176 (PDF p. 81). Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Historic Houses : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- Graeber, Laurel (September 16, 2005). "Another Star Vehicle Has Its Revival". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Carousel in Prospect Park". Prospect Park. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Carousel Promised for Prospect Park". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. April 15, 1952. p. 8. Retrieved February 14, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- National Park Service (April 15, 2008). "National Register Information System – Boathouse on the Lullwater of the Lake in Prospect Park (#72000850)". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Concert Grove". NYCgo.com. Retrieved January 31, 2019.
- "LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park". Prospect Park. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "MUSIC PAGODA, Prospect Park". Forgotten New York. October 30, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- Spellen, Suzanne (May 1, 2012). "Building of the Day: Prospect Park Peristyle". Brownstoner. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- "Park Once Operated Own Dairy Business". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. May 1, 1932. p. 16. Retrieved January 31, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- "Prospect Park's Bizarre Bygone Attraction". Prospect Park. October 17, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2019.
- "Prospect Park to Get Only Flower Shows". New York Daily News. January 3, 1939. p. 275. Retrieved February 14, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- Gordon, David (March 24, 1955). "Cashmore OKd End of Greenhouses". New York Daily News. p. 97. Retrieved February 14, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Parade Ground Highlights : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved January 28, 2019.
- "Running + Walking - Prospect Park Alliance". Prospect Park. Retrieved March 8, 2019.
- "Prospect Park Women's Softball League – Women's Softball in Prospect Park Since 1973". www.ppwsl.org. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- "Circle Rules Football: Experimental Theater Meets Sports". WIRED. May 13, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- Smith, Rachel Holliday (July 5, 2017). "Kensington Stables Owner Accepts City Buyout at Prospect Park Horse Barn". DNAinfo New York. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Sledding in Parks : NYC Parks". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. June 26, 1939. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Top Sledding Spots in Prospect Park". Prospect Park. January 22, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2019.
- "Celebrate Brooklyn! Performing Arts Festival". briconline.org. Archived from the original on September 3, 2003. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
- "Our Albany Correspondence; An Important Question to Tax-payers". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. March 14, 1866. p. 2. Retrieved February 12, 2019 – via Brooklyn Public Library; newspapers.com.
- Brooklyn (New York, N. Y. ) Park Commissioners (1873). Annual Reports of the Brooklyn Park Commissioners, 1861-1873: Reprinted by Order of the Board, with Such Acts of the Legislature in Their Amended Form, as Relate to the Brooklyn Parks, and Their Management. p. 236.
- "About the Alliance". Prospect Park. January 22, 2019. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- "Financial Statement for the Year Ending June 30, 2018" (PDF). Prospect Park Alliance. June 30, 2018. pp. 4–5. Retrieved February 16, 2019.
- "A Critical Tour of the Empire: Battery Park to High Bridge". The New York Times. May 1, 1994. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved October 11, 2017.
- "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. January 18, 2018. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "MTA Neighborhood Maps: Park Slope / Prospect Park" (PDF). mta.info. Metropolitan Transportation Authority. 2018. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
- "Brooklyn Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- Parloff, Roger (May 7, 1979). "The Zoo Story: Part Two". New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. p. 62. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- Fowler, Glenn (April 1, 1976). "Prospect Park Zoo Head Accused of Killing Animals". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- Friend, Tad (April 24, 1995). "It's A Jungle in Here". New York Magazine. New York Media, LLC. p. 48. Retrieved February 20, 2019.
- "City's 3 Zoos to Be Taken Over By New York Zoological Society". The New York Times. April 23, 1980. pp. Metropolitan Report, Page B1. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 22, 2007.
- James Barron (May 20, 1987). "Polar Bears Kill a Child at the Prospect Park Zoo". The New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Isolde Raftery (July 12, 2010). "400 Park Geese Die, for Human Fliers' Sake". The New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Joseph P. Fried (May 26, 1994). "Maximum Term Imposed in Killing Over Bike". The New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Andrew Jacobs and Ann Farmer (April 24, 2006). "An Avid Walker, 61, Is Stabbed to Death in Prospect Park". The New York Times. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Paul Mcnamara and Jonathan Lemire (July 31, 2008). "Prospect Park slay victim identified". Daily News. Retrieved January 25, 2011.
- Joseph Goldstein (March 24, 2011). "Man Facing Homicide Charge Is Shot Dead in Brooklyn". The New York Times. Retrieved April 4, 2011.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Prospect Park.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Brooklyn/Prospect Park.|