photographs to be seen on my post
I find this park, more wild and more close friend that central park
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com
Prospect Park touts trail mix
BY JEGO R. ARMSTRONG
DAILY NEWS WRITER
Friday, November 18th, 2005
Walking has become much more informative in Brooklyn's premier park.
In ceremonies yesterday, dignitaries officially opened the 2.5-mile Prospect Park Nature Trail System through the park's diverse woodland and wetland habitats.
"We wanted to educate and teach people about nature while they were walking through the park," said Tupper Thomas, president of the Prospect Park Alliance and park administrator.
"We also wanted to create a way to educate people about the park's diversity and teach them something about why they should want to take care of it."
The system includes four pathways: the Lullwater Trail, the Midwood Trail, the Peninsula Trail and the Waterfall Trail. They are part of the $116 million Campaign for Prospect Park, 2001-2005 - the largest investment ever for the park, with $80 million from various government agencies and $36 million from private donors.
The trails include self-guided interpretive trail signs along with printed and audio guides and a guided water tour through the lullwater and lake areas on an electric boat called the Independence.
The Lullwater Trail offers opportunities to see the park's abundant wildlife, including 200 species of birds.
The Midwood Trail offers stunning views of the park's restored historic forest, which boasts tulip trees as well as red and black oaks.
The Peninsula Trail's restored natural areas, which are prime bird-watching spots, include a popular recreational and picnic area featuring one of three rustic viewing platforms overlooking the lake.
The Waterfall Trail travels throughout the park's restored woodland areas, with views of the Fallkill and Ambergill waterfalls. This trail's interpretive signage will not be installed until 2006.
New York City Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe was impressed by the additions to the park's 585 acres, calling Prospect Park "the most beautiful urban park in the world."
Yes. Olmstead designed Prospect Park in an attempt to correct the "mistakes" of Central Park. I've only been there three times and I've always enjoyed it.
June 11, 2006
Playing the Circle Game in Grand Army Plaza
By DAVID SCHARFENBERG
A hazardous hopscotch en route to the statues of Wisdom and Felicity.
The Death-O-Meter, a 20-foot-high sign, made its debut in Grand Army Plaza in May 1927. Installed by a group of prominent citizens who called themselves the Brooklyn Safety Council, it kept a running tally of the traffic fatalities in the borough and urged restraint by Brooklyn motorists. "Slow up," the sign admonished them. "What's your hurry?"
In retrospect, Grand Army Plaza seems the perfect spot for the morbid warning. Designed in 1865 as a gateway to Prospect Park, the plaza has evolved into a harrowing traffic circle for many pedestrians.
To remedy the situation, the Prospect Park Alliance has joined with groups like Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group for pedestrians and cyclists, and the Brooklyn Public Library to form the Grand Army Plaza Coalition. And in April, an urban planner from Copenhagen named Jan Gehl, who has worked on pedestrian puzzles in London, Melbourne and Zurich, was hired by Transportation Alternatives to conduct a $5,000 study of a redesign of the rotary surrounding the plaza, with the goal of improving access to the plaza for pedestrians. Mr. Gehl presented his ideas at a news conference on June 2.
People active in the coalition have embraced some of his suggestions, like shifting all the traffic to the oval's outer ring, or creating a broad, textured crosswalk that would better connect the plaza to the park's northern entrance.
The goal is to make more accessible what was intended as a premier city treasure. As Aaron Naparstek, the coalition's chief organizer, put it, "The plaza was really designed to be one of the world's great urban civic squares."
At the center of the plaza stands a towering arch, which memorializes soldiers and sailors who fought for the Union in the Civil War, and the Bailey Fountain, which was restored to full functioning in April after four years of repairs. The fountain includes bronze sculptures of male and female figures representing Wisdom and Felicity, poised atop the prow of a ship and surrounded by Neptune, his attendant Triton, and a boy holding a cornucopia.
In recent years, the city's Department of Transportation has made a few improvements at the site, such as adjusting traffic signals to give pedestrians more time to cross the traffic rotary surrounding the plaza. For many neighborhood residents, however, arriving at the splashing fountain involves navigating the plaza's scattered traffic islands and remains a potentially deadly game of hopscotch.
The next step is to seek money for a more detailed study. But a solution probably remains years away. And somewhere, perhaps in a dank Brooklyn basement, the Death-O-Meter continues to make its plaintive appeal: "Slow up. What's your hurry?"
Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
November 28, 2006
Light Waves in Brooklyn
by Jen Chung
We've been admiring some gorgeous pictures of last night's start of the Prospect Park in Lights installation on Gothamist Contribute. We love this photograph by Atomische, showing ocean waters created out of lights. According to Prospect Park, "more than half a million light emitting diodes (LEDs) will be used to illuminate four gateways to the Park: Grand Army Plaza, which encompasses the historic Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch and the Bailey Fountain; Bartel-Pritchard Circle; Park Circle; and the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to the Park."
Also, check out these before and after shots by neene and suzun's set. And the lights were switched on by Abigail Zuckerman, the 9 year old daughter of Daily News chairman and publisher Mortimer Zuckerman (the Daily News is sponsoring the Prospect Park lights). Abigail's verdict? "It was cool."
There's also free evening trolley service on the weekends to see all four entrances.
Photograph of "Neptune's Kids" by Atomische on Flickr
2003-2006 Gothamist LLC.
Prospect Park's New Rinks
Overlaid on Olmsted and Vaux’s original plan, the blue dot indicates
the location of TWBT’s Lakeside Center. Courtesy Prospect Park Alliance
On February 20, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced that Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects will design an expanded ice skating rink and recreation facility in Prospect Park. The Lakeside Center will be open year-round and includes two outdoor skating rinks and a 38,000-square-foot building housing a café, visitors center, and space for education programming. The existing rink on the edge of the lake will be taken down once the center is completed in what is currently a traffic circle nearby.
The center is part of a broader overhaul of the park by Prospect Park Alliance (PPA) in partnership with the city. Landscape architect Christian Zimmerman and PPA’s Design and Construction office are working on a masterplan that involves returning to Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux’s original design for Concert Grove and Music Island while adding a few new elements. When the new rink is built, the area of the shoreline that was filled in with concrete to build the old rink will be restored along with the island where musicians once performed for revelers on the shoreline.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES PLANS FOR NEW LAKESIDE CENTER AT PROSPECT PARK
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced plans for a new Lakeside Center recreation facility in Prospect Park that will feature two new outdoor ice rinks. The architectural firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects LLP has been selected to design the new 38,000-square-foot building and the ice rinks that will total 35,000-square-feet. The new building will be located adjacent to Prospect Park's existing rink on a site that is currently a parking lot. The landscape for the new facility will be designed by landscape architect Christian Zimmerman of the Prospect Park Alliance.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced plans for a new Lakeside Center recreation facility in Prospect Park that will feature two new outdoor ice rinks. The architectural firm Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects LLP has been selected to design the new 38,000-square-foot building and the ice rinks that will total 35,000-square-feet. The new building will be located adjacent to Prospect Park's existing rink on a site that is currently a parking lot. The landscape for the new facility will be designed by landscape architect Christian Zimmerman of the Prospect Park Alliance. Upon completion of the new building, the old rink will be demolished and the area restored to reflect Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux's original landscape designs for the site. The Office of the Mayor, the Speaker with the City Council, and the Brooklyn Borough President have each committed $7.5 million toward the Prospect Park Alliance's $39 million fundraising campaign for the project. Close to $1 million in federal funding was secured for the project by Congressman Anthony Weiner and former Congressman Major Owens.
"Prospect Park is literally and figuratively in the heart of Brooklyn and when the new Lakeside Center is built, New Yorkers will have a state-of-the-art place to enjoy the winter months," said Mayor Bloomberg. "This new facility is another great investment in our Park system and will make sure Prospect Park stays a premier destination, not just in Brooklyn, but in all of New York City. I would also like to thank the Prospect Park Alliance, our partner in restoring, developing and managing Prospect Park for over 20 years."
"New York City's parks are one of its most valuable commodities, attracting tourism and raising the quality of life for all of our residents," said Speaker Christine C. Quinn. "The Council is proud to have provided funding for the new Lakeside Center, which will provide fun and affordable recreation for families here in Brooklyn and in all five boroughs. I want to thank Council Members Bill deBlasio, David Yassky, Leticia James and Erik Martin Dilan, for their leadership in supporting the needs of Prospect Park and its surrounding communities."
"Prospect Park is one of New York City's natural treasures, and by replacing the old rink with a new one, we're ensuring that it can continue to be one of Brooklyn's most popular spots for recreation and family fun," said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. "I am thrilled to support the Lakeside Center project, which will keep Brooklynites gliding, sliding, and creating their own personal Ice Capades on two rinks all winter long."
"With the new Lakeside Center at Prospect Park, New Yorkers will double their fun on two ice skating rinks," said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. "The new center is the latest in a long series of major new parks and recreation facilities to be started during Administration of Mayor Bloomberg. Thanks to generous funding from elected officials, a spirited fundraising campaign from our partners in the Prospect Park Alliance, and a supremely talented creative team, we look forward to building an innovative year-round structure. This new sports and education complex will introduce generations of children to the joys of skating and to lifetimes of fitness and health."
The new Lakeside Center will be open year-round and offer visitors a café, gift shop, lockers, space for skate rental facilities, and space for educational programming. In warm weather months the two skating rinks will also be used for other seasonal outdoor activities with an area for pedal boat rentals on the nearby lake. Currently the rink is open each year from November to March. Even though operation of the present ice rink ( built in 1961 ) and its 15,000 square foot building is hampered by outdated equipment, it still serves more than 100,000 visitors each winter season and is the only outdoor ice skating rink in Brooklyn. The architects and their firm have won numerous awards and accolades for a growing list of projects around the world including the American Folk Art Museum in Manhattan. Among the projects they are currently designing are the Lincoln Center Harmony Atrium, a corporate campus in Mumbai, and a museum in Hong Kong.
"We are deeply honored to be chosen by the Prospect Park Alliance as the architects for the new skating rinks for Prospect Park," said architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien. "It is a gift and a responsibility to work in Olmsted and Vaux's beautiful campus. We hope to make a place that works both as a sports facility and as a place for pleasure, where proficiency and poetry meet."
"Thanks to the support from the good friends of the Park with us today, the much-loved but well-worn old rink can now be replaced by a new, architecturally significant facility and landscape design program that enhances the Park's natural environment," said Henry Christensen III, Chairman of the Prospect Park Alliance.
Construction of the Lakeside Center is expected to begin in 2008 and continue through 2010. The new building will conform to the Silver Certificate LEED ( Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design ) standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. The Mayor was joined at the announcement by City Council Speaker Christine Quinn; Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Congress Member Yvette Clarke; Parks and Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe; Prospect Park Alliance Chairman Henry Christensen III; Prospect Park Alliance President Tupper Thomas; and children from Brooklyn Ice, a free after school skating program. Over the last two decades, the Prospect Park Alliance has raised millions to restore, develop and manage Prospect Park in coordination with the City. By supplementing the park's basic operating budget with private funds, the Alliance has initiated a large array of capital projects and community programs including the Audubon Center and the Prospect Park Tennis Center. For more information on hours of operation, park events, programs and volunteer opportunities, call 311 or visit www.nyc.gov/parks.
Car-Free Hours in Prospect Park? Fuhgeddaboutit!
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz
The Daily News reported yesterday that, along with the recent extension of car-free hours in Central Park, Dept. of Transportation officials proposed closing Prospect Park's Manhattan-bound East Drive to cars during evening rush hour this month but the plan was squashed by Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz:
Sources said city officials were poised to cut Prospect Park's hours last week as well - but that the plans were scuttled at the last minute by Brooklyn's own cheerleader, Borough President Marty Markowitz, who has long opposed banning cars from Prospect Park due to traffic concerns.This news is disappointing. Markowitz and his staff have been increasingly vocal and helpful on "Livable Streets" issues in recent months. Granted, they still use the public plaza around Brooklyn Borough Hall as their staff parking lot, so perhaps the Prospect Park stance should not be seen as a surprise.
"It was a done deal. It was supposed to be both parks," said a source. "But Marty Markowitz blocked it."
Sources said city officials had been planning to ban cars on Prospect Park's East Drive in the evening so that, like Central Park, there would be morning hours on one drive, evening hours on the other.
"Everyone signed off on it, and then, boom," said the source.
Transportation Department officials declined to comment on Markowitz's role.
Markowitz spokeswoman Laura Sinagra said the borough president was never given a formal proposal to sign off on but that his long-standing position remains unchanged.
"Our historical position has been that further limiting hours would result in unacceptable traffic backup," Markowitz said in a statement. "The current hours are appropriate to the needs of the many in our borough who must rely on these roads to get to work and school.
Markowitz is a buffoon. One of the worst things to happen to Brooklyn in a very long time.
Prospect Park Starts Branding Campaign
By Associated Press
March 26, 2008
At 585 acres, Brooklyn's Prospect Park is big. Even frequent visitors may only know a small part of it.
So the Prospect Park Alliance is introducing a branding campaign with the tag line "Discover the Prospect Park you don't know." The alliance is a private group that raises money for the 150-year-old park. It had researchers spend six months observing park-goers and surveying them about how they spent their time in Prospect Park.
Many visitors didn't know about all the park's attractions, such as fishing in the lake or riding the carousel.
Copyright 2008 The New York Sun
March 28, 2008, 5:33 pm
A Zoo Jumps for Joy Over the Life of Riley
By Sewell Chan
The Prospect Park Zoo announced both a name
(Riley) and a gender (female) for a baby kangaroo
born this year.
(Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society)
At least they didn’t call it Akituusaq.
After a one-week naming contest held online, the Prospect Park Zoo today announced a new name — Riley — for its baby western gray kangaroo. No less a dignitary than the borough president, Marty Markowitz, announced the new name, which was submitted by Allison Make.
It’s a good thing, too, that Riley is an androgynous name. The Prospect Park Zoo only announced today that the kangaroo is, in fact, female. Zookeepers could not detect the creature’s gender until now and had referred to the baby kangaroo as a “joey” — which is a biological term (in addition to being a proper name).
Riley was chosen from four finalists selected from 208 submissions. The three runners-up were Nari, Kylie, and Kinta.
(For those who are wondering about Riley as a name for their human baby: Riley was ranked the 48th most popular name for baby girls, with 48 new Rileys, and the 159th most popular name for boys, with 24 new Rileys, among New York City babies in 2006, according to the most recent annual baby name data summary [pdf], released last October by the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.)
“The community sent in so many original and creative names, it was hard to narrow it down to just four,” said Denise McClean, the new facility director at the Prospect Park Zoo, which is part of the Wildlife Conservation Society. “Riley was the perfect choice because it celebrates the Australian tradition and it was a great fit for such an adorable female kangaroo.”
Heart of Brooklyn, a partnership of leading cultural organizations, helped the zoo run the naming contest.
Zookeepers learned that Riley’s mother, Christy, was pregnant in November, but it took more than a month longer for the baby to begin emerging from her mother’s pouch. Riley is Christy’s second baby.
Christy and Junior, Riley’s father, arrived at the zoo in 2003 from the Kangaroo Conservation Center in Dawsonville, Ga. The Prospect Park Zoo is the only zoo in the Northeast with western gray kangaroos; it now has four.
The western gray kangaroo is native to Australia and known for its jumping ability. Males are much larger than females, and can weigh more than 100 pounds and stand 5 feet tall. They use their large feet as springboards for hopping up to 30 feet, and they use their long, thick tails for balance. Their diet consists mostly of grasses and grains.
The Brooklyn borough president, Marty Markowitz, and Denise McClean, the new
director of the Prospect Park Zoo, announced the name of the baby kangaroo to schoolchildren.
(Photo: Julie Larsen Maher/Wildlife Conservation Society)
Copyright 2008 The New York Times.
Prospect Park rink redo price tag spins up to $75M
BY JOTHAM SEDERSTROM
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Wednesday, April 23rd 2008, 4:00 AM
An ambitious redesign of a winter (and summer) wonderland planned for Prospect Park could add $25 million to its cost, park officials acknowledged Tuesday.
The expected budget for the project, which calls for replacing Wollman Ice Rink with two new rinks, water features and an off-season roller rink, has shot to $75 million, from $50 million last year.
"It's because we've expanded the whole basis of the project, in the redesigning of it," said Prospect Park Alliance President Tupper Thomas, who said roadwork, new garage space and a parking lot will be included in the environmentally friendly plan. "It's more ambitious, and we should be going public with the plan soon."
The so-called Lakeside Center, which already has received $22.5 million from Mayor Bloomberg, Borough President Marty Markowitz and the City Council, is seeking $2 million more from each while also eying private donations, Thomas said.
Naming rights for the rinks also will inject cash into the increasingly expensive Prospect Park project, which would begin construction in 2010 and open by 2011, Thomas said.
The remaining money would be provided by private foundations, such as the Independence Community Foundation, which has donated an estimated $1 million since last year.
The expanded plan comes one year after Brooklyn's last remaining roller rink, Empire Roller Skating Center in Crown Heights, was shuttered after 66 years in business.
Councilwoman Letitia James (WFP-Prospect Heights) said the closing of the roller rink left a void that she feared would lead to decreased athletic activity among Brooklyn students.
"We're in critical need of athletic activities, and this is the solution," said James, who last year unsuccessfully lobbied for Empire Roller Skating Rink to stay open. "There is large support from the Brooklyn [City Council] delegation."
The project will now have to be approved by the city Parks Department prior to separate hearings before the Landmarks Preservation Commission and the Art Commission.
"By the time it goes through each of them, it should be fine," said Prospect Park Alliance spokesman Eugene Patron.
© Copyright 2008 NYDailyNews.com.
For Riders and Mounts, Rough Going in Prospect Park
By KAREEM FAHIM
Published: June 2, 2008
A mustang named Benny suffered a stone bruise. Dave, a Peruvian Paso, slipped and gouged his ankle. A thoroughbred named Sham, a former show horse, now needs regular hock injections for his stiffening joints.
Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Fran Levy, left, leads Dave, a Peruvian Paso, along the bridle path in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.
Fran Levy, their owner, said that Benny, Dave and Sham, along with countless other horses, have suffered injuries while trotting on the bridle paths in Prospect Park in Brooklyn, parts of which are badly degraded and look less like a riding path than like a rocky, dried-up creek.
Ms. Levy has kept her horses at the Kensington Stables, the only stable that routinely serves Prospect Park. She has been an instructor there for the last 11 years, but she intends to move her four horses on Tuesday to a farm in the Finger Lakes region, to save them, she said, from any further injury.
“This is the hardest decision I’ve had to make,” she said.
Thousands of riders come to Kensington Stables every year, according to Ms. Levy, for riding lessons or just to see Prospect Park from horseback. Since the closing last year of the Claremont Riding Academy, near Central Park, Kensington Stables is among New York’s few remaining urban stables.
But the riding trails in Prospect Park have become the subject of a dispute between riders who use the stable and the park’s administrator, Tupper Thomas. In the meantime, said the stable’s owner, Walker Blankinship, the horses are struggling.
Some complaints about the Prospect Park trails seem to reflect the ever-present realities of urban horseback riding. Joggers and even bikers wander onto the bridle path. Dogs, which can run around off-leash during the mornings, have chased the horses, causing injuries to both horses and riders. And there will always be pavement to cross: The route from Kensington Stables, on Caton Place, to the park requires crossing Coney Island Avenue, and then busy Park Circle.
But Ms. Levy and others who ride and work at Kensington Stables say the parks department has not done enough to maintain the more than three and a half miles of historic bridle paths in the park, or a riding ring near the south end of the Long Meadow, where the stable offers lessons.
Ms. Thomas, the park’s administrator, said parts of the path had been restored by the parks department. “We restore the bridle path during any major capital project near the path,” she said. “We try to do major repairs when there is a washout.”
The most recent restoration work was done last year, in the park’s Midwood section and on a part of the path near Lookout Hill.
Ms. Thomas, who said that maintenance of the paths needed to be a collaboration between riders and the park, said it had “never been very clear” whose responsibility it was. And she blamed a lack of communication for the confusion, adding that she was confident that the path would be fixed.
At least one other park in the city has had better success maintaining its horse trails. In 2002, the bridle paths in Forest Park in Queens were restored, with new drainage systems and erosion controls, as part of a $1.7 million park improvement. Joseph Sinopoli, the owner of Forest Equine Center, said that his and another stable held regular fund-raisers or contributed their own money to maintain the paths, and organized rock-removal parties. “Instead of complaining,” Mr. Sinopoli said, “we go out and do it ourselves.”
Kensington Stables did raise $12,000 to fix the riding ring, but the work has barely begun. And Mr. Blankinship said he had repaired the trails with his tractor in the past. But fixing the recurring problems on the bridle path would require money from the park, he said: “There’s no funds unless we do it ourselves.”
The problem at Prospect Park is complicated, those involved agree. The path, especially a stretch near the Vanderbilt Street Playground, is prone to flooding and could require an expensive drainage system in any true restoration.
The problem is not new. An 1887 editorial in The New York Times could have been written by Ms. Levy and her colleagues today.
“The soil of Prospect Park is not favorable to the formation of good bridle roads through the unaided and unchecked operations of nature,” it read. “This fact does not seem to be fully understood by the current managers of the park. It is excessively rough, very soft in places, and the loose sandy soil of which it is composed is thickly mixed with small stones, on which a spirited horse may easily lose his footing or become lamed.”
Ms. Thomas said in a recent telephone interview that she was committed to making sure riding could continue in the park. There has always been a bridle path there, though its route has been altered over the years. Ms. Thomas said, “When you go on a horseback ride, there are different ways you see the park,” views that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux intended when they designed it.
To preserve those views, riders from Kensington Stables are trying to raise more money from somewhere, anywhere, to restore the paths. Ruth Moore, a rider, wrote a letter to Shelby White, the philanthropist who donated $10 million to the park last month, urging her to earmark some of the money for the bridle paths. “We read that she used to ride in the park when she was a child,” Ms. Moore said.
On Sunday night, Ms. Levy, reached by telephone, was sitting at a bar near the stable drinking a beer with her colleagues after an emotional few days spent consoling children who have come to love her horses. Ms. Levy said that if real money was spent to make the paths better — to make them safe — she might bring her horses back.
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
Still Boys at Play on a Field They Love
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
For decades, the Prospect Park Parade Ground has been home to some of Brooklyn’s bright young players. Tony Famular, left, is 75.
By JAVIER C. HERNANDEZ
Published: August 6, 2008
The Old Boys of Summer, as they call themselves, trailed by seven runs in the seventh inning. As they readied for their final at-bats, looking for an improbable rally, pills for heart ailments were in the dugout, just in case. Each hitter planted his feet in the dirt, grumbling while trying to keep creaky bodies loose.
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
Andrew P. Mele, left, managed the Old Boys of Summer against representatives of the Brooklyn Cyclones on Wednesday.
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
Mr. Mele, 69, hitting, estimates that 40 graduates of the Prospect Park Parade Ground have earned World Series rings.
Tony Famular, 75, gripped his bat tightly, knocked the ball to the right side of the field and began his arduous dash to first base. The pitcher fielded the ball and threw him out at first for the final out of the game.
At the Prospect Park Parade Ground on Wednesday, the Old Boys played their annual ballgame against staff members of the Brooklyn Cyclones, a minor league affiliate of the New York Mets. For many of them, it has been a half-century since they took their first swings at the fields, a cradle of Brooklyn baseball that has been a training ground for the likes of Joe Torre, Sandy Koufax and Shawon Dunston, to name a few.
The players were a little grayer, a little slower and a little less optimistic about the future of their sport. But this was their diamond, the field where they spent many of their childhood summer days — and all they wanted was victory.
“This is what I live to do now,” Mr. Famular said. “It all started here.”
Growing up in Brooklyn, Mr. Famular said, he and his friends played baseball and its variants — stickball, slapball, punchball, stoopball, boxball — in the streets.
“Everyone talked baseball all the time,” he said, standing near the pitcher’s mound after the game.
He used to ride his bicycle the four miles from his house to play on the Parade Ground. Back then, the diamonds were so crowded that fields would overlap and they had to be reserved in advance. Today, the veteran players said, the park is much different.
“The kids today have too many options to have fun,” Mr. Famular said.
“Whatever we saw in baseball, they don’t see.”
The Old Boys, many of whom did not know one another until they started playing together in 1995, practice once a week and try to schedule at least four games each year. Their ages range from 60 to 76.
During the fourth inning, the Old Boys manager, Andrew P. Mele, 69, went to bat. Mr. Mele has written a book, “The Boys of Brooklyn,” a history of the Parade Ground, which came out in May. The fields opened in 1869 and had by 1930 become the place to see new baseball talent, attracting crowds of more than 20,000, according to Mr. Mele’s book.
“It was a place where there was always a lot of activity going on,” Mr. Mele said. “It was something you always looked forward to. It was our life.”
Mr. Mele estimated that 40 Parade Ground graduates have earned World Series rings. As Mr. Mele, No. 7, hit a ball into right field, an old friend from the bleachers cried out.
“There you go!” shouted Gil Bassetti, who used to play against Mr. Mele as a pitcher for the Brooklyn Bisons, once a Kiwanis League team. Mr. Bassetti, 74, later became a professional baseball player and is now a part-time scout for the Baltimore Orioles. “That’s exactly the way he hit when he was young,” he told other spectators.
The Bisons’ former manager, Clarence L. Irving, sat in the bleachers cheering some of his former players. Mr. Irving, 83, recited the year-by-year history of the Bisons, reliving the championships that his team had won in the 1950s.
He said that being on the field again and seeing how his former players had embarked on diverse career paths — law, marketing, major league baseball — brought him a sense of pride.
“They are role models and the most generous of people,” Mr. Irving said.
Halfway through the game, as the Cyclones tallied up their runs (they ultimately secured an 8-1 victory), an Old Boys player, Frank Chiarello, took a moment in front of his fellow players to gripe about youthful energy.
“Life stinks,” he joked. “I hate young guys. I hate every guy on that team.”
Mr. Chiarello, a retired police officer, remembered his days as a centerfielder who would play until sunset. One day in the late 1950s, his wife came to the field to remind him they had a wedding to attend. He decided to skip it. “I’m going to finish the game,” he told her.
Mr. Chiarello said the team had developed a special camaraderie because of a shared history on the fields of Brooklyn.
“I learned how to make friends,” he said. “I learned how to be a human.”
Now that his vision is failing, Mr. Chiarello has trouble tracking the ball. Other team members said that they could still summon the strength for a powerful hit, but that running could be difficult.
“As long as we can stand up for a little bit longer,” Mr. Mele said, “we’ll keep doing it.”
Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company