At long last, new entrances on Flatbush Ave. side of Prospect Park
Two brand new entrances to Prospect Park along Flatbush Avenue, completed through the Parks Without Borders (PWB) Initiative, are now open to the public.
Until recently, there were no entrances to the park along Flatbush Avenue between Empire Boulevard and Grand Army Plaza-Eastern Parkway, a fairly long distance.
A formal ribbon-cutting with the community will take place in the coming weeks to celebrate the project, which represents the first new entrances to the park since the 1940s, according to the city Department of Parks and Recreation.
“When you are fortunate enough to work for the city where you grew up, there are some things you do that hold not just professional, but personal significance. For me, this is that project. When I was in high school, my brother and I would run around the park along Flatbush Avenue, and it always struck me that there needed to be an easier way to get into the park from there,” said New York City Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.
“Later on, this experience became my inspiration for creating the Parks Without Borders initiative to make green spaces all over the city more welcoming and easier to access. I am thrilled to see these pathways open today, to inspire and welcome all people into the park the way I had once only dreamed about,” he said.
Parks Without Borders, an initiative of which Prospect Park is part, was announced in November 2015 with a call for community involvement. NYC Parks asked New Yorkers to nominate the sites that would benefit the most from a PWB improvement project. Utilizing an online survey and 37 conferences with citizens, the Parks Department received more than 6,000 nominations for 691 parks.
The eight selected showcase projects, sharing $40 million in funding from Mayor de Bill Blasio, were revealed in May 2016; and an additional $10 million has been applied to another 40 capital projects in progress.
“Prospect Park Alliance is committed to making Prospect Park open and accessible to all communities it borders, and we are grateful to be able to open pedestrian access while work concludes on the site,” said Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue.
The two entrances, designed by the Prospect Park Alliance, will cost $3.2 million. One is in the northeast section of the park near the former Rose Garden, the site of future restoration; and the second, described as a minor secondary entrance, is located just north of the Prospect Park Zoo. Both entrances feature new lighting, seating, and new landscaping.
The major entrance aligns with a future DOT traffic signal and pedestrian crosswalk, intersecting a berm retained by a three-foot-high granite wall. This will open onto a small public plaza with two levels of terraced seating that provides views of the surrounding woodlands. Stepping stones will lead to an informal running trail atop a berm.
The plaza will also feature a rock scramble of boulders sourced from the building site of nearby NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Settees will be installed along the paths and between the boulders.
The other Parks Without Borders projects are: Fort Greene Park (Brooklyn); Van Cortlandt Park and Hugh Grant Circle / Virginia Park and Playground (Bronx); Jackie Robinson Park and Seward Park (Manhattan); Faber Park (Staten Island); and Flushing Meadows Corona Park (Queens).
Another, recent project in Prospect Park — funded with $2.4 million from Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams and Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and led by the Prospect Park Alliance – restored the Flatbush Avenue perimeter from Grand Army Plaza to the Prospect Park Zoo to its original grandeur with new landscaping, an expanded promenade and new furnishings.
“Green space has never been more important, and I’m proud NYC Parks is deeply committed to making it more accessible to all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Through Parks Without Borders, we’re making Prospect Park even better than ever before.”
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