Brooklyn’s Prospect Park has been around since October 19, 1867 and was created by landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who were known as pioneers of the American Parks Movement. As the park's budget increased, by 1915, the upkeep and safety of the park had declined. In 1979 The Prospect Park Alliance formed and started to rebuild and preserve Olmsted and Vaux’s vision of the park as a Brooklyn oasis for urban folks to get away from the city on a budget.
The beauty of this landscape architecture, in many ways, has been preserved. Prospect Park is striking and home to hidden gardens like The Vale of Cashmere, a place of solitude or even admiration for its water fountain and many flourishing plants. The park’s landscape is still plush and intact, as is the meadows and waterways, which modern facilities have found ways to utilize. Equestrians can enjoy their time at the Kensington Stables, built in 1930, open to everyone ages 11 and up. The LEED Gold-rated LeFrak Center at Lakeside hosts ice-skating, waterplay, and roller-skating. On the eastern side of the park is the Prospect Park Zoo, and along its western end is Park Slope, a highly coveted place to live, even voted one of the best neighbors in NYC. With seven children’s playgrounds and one of the park’s most popular attractions, the 100-year-old Carousel, even young children can appreciate the 526 acre park.
Though somewhat contrary to Olmsted and Vaux’s original vision of the park being a place of retreat and serenity, it is quite active, home to a variety of festivals and events year-round. There’s Wanderlust 108, a 5k triathlon, MulchFest, where anyone can recycle a holiday tree into mulch to nourish existing plantings, tons of music festivals, and film festivals. It is unfortunate that the infamous GoogaMooga food, beer, and music festival will no longer be taking place in Prospect Park, due to overuse of the park grounds and its hefty population, because it was an NYC favorite. For dog lovers, FIDO in Prospect Park is NYC’s largest off-leash community dedicated to ensuring the health and wellness of dogs. FIDO implements off-leash hours and zones that dogs and their owners can enjoy.
The Prospect Park Alliance is dedicated to making Prospect Park a community experience as well as a destination place for visitors, over 10 million of them per year. It is the community of Prospect Park that preserves its natural environment and provides innovative amenities, which continues to increase its international appeal.