Celebrate Earth Day with some of New York City’s oldest and most beautiful trees. Six years ago, writer Allison C. Meier set out to visit and learn about each of NYC Parks’ official “Great Trees,” and she turned her exploration of these august arbors into her recently-published The Great Trees of New York Map. Join our conversation with Allison as we discuss some of her favorite trees, how to find them, and why they are such an important part of the city’s historic and ecological landscape. We will even join the conversation live from some of the Great Trees of Prospect Park.
April 26 is Frederick Law Olmsted’s birthday, and for his 199th, the National Association of Olmsted Parks is kicking off a yearlong celebration as we approach his bicentennial in 2022. The first event is a panel discussion of Rebecca Messner’s 2011 documentary Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks (which prominently features Prospect Park) with TIME Magazine’s Justin Worland; Dr. Thaisa Way, Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington; Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Denver Parks and Recreation; and Justin DiBerardinis, Director of Philadelphia’s FDR Park. When you sign up for the free panel discussion, you will receive a link to watch the documentary for free at your convenience on April 24 or 25.
To learn more about the bicentennial campaign honoring and exploring Frederick Law Olmsted, please visit www.olmsted200.org, and we will be posting special events related to Olmsted’s life and work in New York in the coming weeks.
Join us for an interactive game and live virtual visit to Prospect Park Zoo to see and learn about the history of the zoo and its animal-inspired art and buildings! This virtual program will be hosted by our friends at Turnstile Tours in partnership with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Prospect Park Alliance, and Brooklyn Cultural Adventures Program.
Brooklyn’s biggest lake is in Prospect Park – but where does all of the water in the lake come from? Join this live virtual visit to Prospect Park, where we will explore not just the lake, but all of the waterfalls, streams, and ponds that run through the park, and the pipes that run underneath it! We’ll learn how the water system works, and how it has changed throughout history. We’ll also go behind the scenes inside the Wellhouse; Prospect Park Alliance recently transformed this historic building, which once housed machinery for pumping water into the lakes and streams, into the first composting toilets in an NYC park. We’ll explore how this environmentally-friendly system works and get to see the bugs and worms that help break down waste from the bathrooms!
Hit the slopes with us as we explore the history of downhill skiing in the United States. We will look at the introduction of modern skiing by Norwegian immigrants, the evolution of Alpine skiing disciplines and equipment, and the explosion of the sport’s popularity after World War II, thanks to veterans of the famed 10th Mountain Division. We will also look at local connections – though New Yorkers routinely flock to northern resorts, multiple New York City parks once hosted ski hills (including Prospect Park), and today you can ski indoors at the nearby Meadowlands. We will even have guests joining live from slopes at Vermont’s Smugglers Notch and Quechee Ski Area, near where the country’s first ski lift started spinning in 1934.
While winter can seem like a slow time for birdwatching, many migratory species can be seen in New York only at this time of year. Join us for a discussion with experts from the Brooklyn Bird Club, where they will share some of the notable species currently found in the city, how to identify them, and tips for where to to find them. We will also have a birder joining us live from the field showing some of these spots in Prospect Park.
Prospect Park Alliance recently completed the restoration of the Endale Arch, one of the original portals to the park designed by Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted. Get an insider’s look at the restoration process, which required years of research, incredibly skilled craftspeople, and painstakingly detailed work to bring the arch back to its original splendor. We will be joined by Sarena Rabinowitz, Assistant Architect, Design & Construction at the Alliance about the years-long, multi-phase process to restore the full arch, and Curtis Barnhart of Barnhart Restoration & Design, which did the restoration work on the stunning interior. We will also go live to the arch itself to see these wonderful details up close. This program is offered in partnership with the Prospect Park Alliance, and the arch restoration was generously funded by the Tiger Baron Foundation, with additional support from Council Member Brad Lander through District 39 participatory budgeting.
Join us as we explore one of the most curious chapters in the history of Prospect Park, the four years (2005–2009) during which the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Grand Army Plaza housed a free lending library of puppets! Our guests will be master puppeteers Sara Peattie of the Puppeteers Cooperative and Theresa Linnihan, who operated that puppet library and performance space. The library was forced to move due to the arch’s leaky roof, but now the Prospect Park Alliance is preparing for a major renovation, so we thought this would be the perfect time to talk to the last tenant of the arch! Theresa and Sara will share stories, images, and puppets from this important community resource, which lives on in its current home at Brooklyn College.
With the National Hockey League scheduled to resume play soon (pandemic permitting), we are looking at the history of hockey in the New York metro area with our resident hockey historian Andrew Gustafson. We will look at high, low, and curious moments in the histories of the Rangers, Islanders, and Devils, but also look the forgotten clubs like the Raiders, Wanderers, and Americans (and how the latter almost moved to Brooklyn), and the many amateur, minor-league, and college clubs that have competed in the region over the past 125 years.
In 1881, Spanish engineer Rafael Guastavino arrived in New York City and unveiled his new technology for building self-supporting vaulted tile ceilings. These ceilings are now iconic elements of many New York landmarks, and the city is home to more than 250 of them, more than any other city in the United States. On this virtual tour, we’ll look at many of the ceilings up close, in both grand public buildings and out-of-the-way places, including in Prospect Park, Grand Central Station, Ellis Island, and the Municipal Building, as we discuss this engineering marvel.