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Thread: Prospect Park & Vicinity

  1. #1
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    West Harlem

    Default Prospect Park & Vicinity

    Didn't get around to much of the park due to time constraints, but I got a few shots.

    North up Prospect Park West


    Grand Army Plaza

    Brooklyn's Flatiron. I think this is Union Street.

    New Shinnecock Tower, first new highrise in Park Slope in 30 years. The cornices are, well, corny, but overall it's alright.

    An entrance into the Park from PPW, with a pigeon disrespecting the guardian.

    Long (Great?) Meadow


    Litchfield Villa

    And a few blocks away, work on the new entrance to the Brooklyn Museum of Art

  2. #2

    Default Prospect Park & Vicinity

    Finally a picture of Brooklyn's Flatiron - I've been looking for one forever. Thanks. (By the way, here's the Bronx's Flatiron.)

    Manhattan may be grand, but Brooklyn's exquisite.

  3. #3

    Default Prospect Park & Vicinity

    I was in Park Slope today, but no camera, so thanks for the nice shots.

    I think that mansion on PPW is a school.

  4. #4
    Forum Veteran
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    New York City

    Default Prospect Park & Vicinity

    Looks a lot like Central Park, if you factor out the absence of speeding bicyclists and camera-clutching Nebraskan tourists.

    That shot first shot of PPW could easily be mistaken for upper Fifth Avenue. *Until now, I had no idea of how many pre-war gems Brooklyn possessed.

  5. #5


    May 27, 2004

    A Park Pretty for the Rich Yet Run-Down for the Poor


    At Long Meadow at the western edge of Prospect Park, Elizabeth Redwine, left, with Nathaniel, 5 months, talks with Nicole Schroeer, with Devon, 4 months.

    Here is a place of measured contemplation. Sunbathers doze into afternoon dazes, children romp and hounds do too, soundlessly in the distance. Gossamer pink petal pathways follow low-rolling hillsides past ball fields and into the knotty woods.

    And here is a trail of stones broken or gone, a weather-beaten and flood-prone zone where plastic wrappers consort with cigarette cartons. Sagging, broken benches line the way, and sirens honk from a street nearby. Cyclists and horsemen venture apace.

    These places appear on a New York City road atlas as one, but Brooklyn knows better. Though this rocket ship-shaped patch in the center of the borough is labeled Prospect Park, in the physical world there are two Prospect Parks.

    The reasons for this twinning are complex, but the result is plain and defiant of euphemism. The rich people on the west side have a pretty Prospect Park, and the poor people on the east side have a run-down Prospect Park.

    The park's overseers make no effort to dispute this contrast; rather, they cite it as a priority for work in the coming years.

    Uniformity could hardly be expected of a thing so vast. It spans 526 acres, including a 60-acre manmade lake and 250 acres of woodlands. Walking the perimeter provides more than four miles of exercise.

    Still, to walk the park's width now, from northwest to southeast, is to witness decay with each footfall.

    Begin in Park Slope, where blooming trees fill sidewalk boxes, awnings proclaim parkside addresses and doormen greet taxicabs.This is the 78th Police Precinct, scene of 67 robberies and 30 felonious assaults this year. Almost all of the people here, the latest census showed, are American-born, 85 percent of them are white and about half of them own their homes. Their most common level of schooling has earned them a bachelor's degree, and more than half of them make more than $60,000 a year.

    They enter the park at Long Meadow, its western edge unfolding into a verdant tableland. On warm afternoons, they come with children or in bikinis. Wheeled things go by. A white butterfly floats toward whatever it is that butterflies enjoy.

    "It's a great place to come and read a book or take a nap," says Mariel Greenlee, 23, of Park Slope. "I mostly stay close to this side."

    So do the mothers on the grass, whose infant companions can find a world of entertainment within the span of a blanket.

    "This is, kind of, our spot," says Elizabeth Redwine, 34, of Prospect Heights. "No one cares if you breast-feed here. There's not a lot of creepy people."

    Down the path, past a patch of water reserved for dogs that swim, through a short wooded passage, lies another meadow. Its stone pathways are split by asphalt. Bare patches in the grass become tiny accidental lakes after a rain. Policemen linger on horseback, and there are call boxes for when they do not. Their mounts leave trampled manure next to where others have left tin foil, a plastic cup, newspapers and broken bottles. Past this place known as the Nethermead are the broader banks of the lake, and on its shores a second, different Prospect Park begins.

    Here, fully half of the main roadway floods in the days after a hard rain. The grass is patchy, unmowed in places and not worth mowing in others. Dandelions, rocks, weeds and clover mark the terrain. Downed branches, some nine feet in length, go uncollected. The benches here are lopsided and weather-weary, their green paint all but gone to splinters. .

    In a gazebo by the water, a wrinkled woman burdened with plastic bags channels a rhythm-and-blues singer, caterwauling across a shaky treble clef: "If you're playing me, keep it on the low, because my heart can't take it anymore."

    Her voice drifts to a circle of felled logs, assembled for sitting as an alternative to the pitiable benches. Two men drink beers from paper bags, and one of them, John Satin, 38, says he prefers this side of the park because he finds the lake peaceful.

    "There's no recreational park on this side, for whatever reason," Mr. Satin said. "On this side, you don't have much at all."

    You do have drum circles on the weekends, and men playing dominoes on garbage cans, improvised entertainments. You have Michael Leonce, 65, who arrays his possessions in a semicircle around an upturned shopping cart and pounds out a calypso sound on a keyboard. Behind him, the men slam down their dominoes, signaling to their partners with sharp slaps that resound across the path. They play on a dirt patch 50 feet from Parkside Avenue, amid cigarette butts and rusted beer caps.

    "The other side, they treat them good, they clean it four or five times a week," said Boog Josoph, 27, between turns on the domino board. "This side, you have to wait a week.''

    Many of the people here are immigrants from the Caribbean. They live in the 71st Precinct, where there have been 143 robberies and 127 felonious assaults this year. Nearly half of them were born outside the United States, 86 percent are black and 13 percent own their homes. Those among them with the most common amount of education have earned a high school diploma or equivalency degree, and more than half of them are paid less than $30,000 a year.

    From Prospect Park's earliest days, its destiny was tied to geography, as documented by Clay Lancaster, the park's onetime curator, in a handbook published in 1967. Mr. Lancaster wrote that the designer Calvert Vaux, a partner of Frederick Law Olmsted, advocated buying land to the west because the east side could not be landscaped attractively.

    By the time Mr. Lancaster was researching his handbook in the 1960's, he could use only grim words to describe Concert Grove, near the park's southeastern side: "catastrophe," "wrecking," "desecration" and "obliterating." Lest his own point be lost, Mr. Lancaster added, "what one would expect to find serving as a snack bar on a busy freeway."

    After a period of steep decline during the city's budget crisis in the 1970's, a revival movement took hold, according to Charles E. Beveridge, editor of the Olmsted papers at American University. The Prospect Park Alliance, an advocacy group, was founded in 1987, and a Landscape Management Office was formed to address the whole park.

    The east side of Prospect Park, though visibly degraded in comparison to the other, has received far more financial investment from the park's caretakers. Of the five largest capital projects undertaken by the Prospect Park Alliance, the three most expensive were on the east side. Renovations to the zoo in 1993 and to the Parade Ground and the boathouse this year cost $60 million.

    Tupper W. Thomas , the park's administrator, said that use and geography had worn on the east side since its crowds could not spread out on a lake the way that those on the west side could on a meadow. She estimated that $33 million would be needed to rebuild the skating rink, a centerpiece of the east side, and to restore the lake's edge.

    On the east side of Prospect Park in recent years, Mr. Beveridge said, "the music grove and the lake have not had as much use, but people use according to what security they feel, and what facilities are available."

    On the west side, he said, "there's been an increase in value, a gentrifying on that side of the park.''

    "I know they are working toward and aiming to get the whole park back," he continued. "I certainly hope that it's not going to stop where it is now."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  6. #6

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