Prospect Park is a world unto itself: a 585-acre oasis of scenic beauty for relaxation and recreation
One of NYC’s most beautiful and intriguing public spaces, 585-acre Prospect Park is sandwiched between five Brooklyn neighborhoods—Park Slope, Prospect Heights, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Prospect Park South and Windsor Terrace. Though it may seem dauntingly large, Prospect Park is actually very easy to get to and navigate. (View a map of the park at prospectpark.org.) Bounded by Grand Army Plaza on the north end, Parkside Avenue on the south (the Parade Ground extends to Caton Avenue), Prospect Park West/Southwest on one flank and Flatbush and Ocean Avenues on the other, the park is accessible via the 2, 3, B, F, G, Q and S subway lines. If you choose to drive, look for street parking along the perimeter. Some of these spots are metered, so be sure to have quarters on hand.
Designed and constructed over a thirty-year period (1865-1895) by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the masterminds behind Central Park, Prospect Park has blossomed into a premiere destination for Brooklyn visitors and residents alike.
Widely known for its intricate manmade watercourse (wetlands) and its trees, the bulk of Brooklyn’s remaining indigenous forest, the park is a highly functional green space. Contained within its 526 acres are a zoo, the first urban-area Audubon Center in the nation, an ice rink, a band shell, a carousel, and dozens of athletic and recreational facilities.
From baseball to birdwatching, and skating to nature programs, there are thousands of ways to enjoy Prospect Park. There’s plenty of room on the Long Meadow and Nethermead to sunbathe or find the perfect picnic spot, or explore the Ravine, which is the borough’s only forest. New York City planner Robert Moses was behind certain park additions, like the Prospect Park Zoo and the bandshell, where Celebrate Brooklyn! The Park has a number of destinations that will appeal to all ages and interests. Brooklyn’s flagship park is also the perfect location for weddings, birthday parties and other special occasions
A Grand Entrance
At the intersection of Flatbush and Vanderbilt Avenues, Prospect Park West and Eastern Parkway sits Grand Army Plaza, the main entrance to Prospect Park. Though there are many ways to enter the park (nearly 20, all told), this oval-shaped plaza—designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975—is the grandest one of all.
If there’s one thing Prospect Park is famous for, it’s the abundance of nature that can be found there. If you’re feeling adventurous, try out one of the park’s nature trails. View the park’s wetland and woodland habitats via the Lullwater Trail, which journeys along the park’s watercourse; the Midwood Trail, venturing through the historic forest that was part of the park’s original design; the Peninsula Trail, exploring the peninsula’s restored natural regions; or the Waterfall Trail, traversing the woodland areas. All trails are considered easy in terms of difficulty level, and they leave from the Audubon Center at the Boathouse—the country’s first urban Audubon Center, located at the Lincoln Road–Ocean Avenue entrance to the park.
Begin your explorations today and join the eight million annual visitors reaping the benefits of this beautiful park!