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Anyone passing by the corner of 9th Street and Prospect Park West Saturday night around 11 p.m. would have been amazed to see police shooing hundreds of people out of the park and away from the area.

Turns out a very large group of students and alumni from three Buffalo schools — the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College, and Daemon College — had gathered at Prospect Park for the annual meet-up and informal reunion known as the Ruff Buff BBQ. (more…)

Dumbo Family Fest kicked off the opening of John Street Park and the expansion of Main Street Park in Brooklyn Bridge Park this past Saturday, August 8. 

Hosted by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy and sponsored by 1 John Street, festivities included food trucks, bubbles, and music by Hungry March Band. There was also face painting and arts and crafts. (more…)

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Two more sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park opened to the public with celebration this past weekend, bringing new spaces for enjoying the great outdoors and taking in dramatic new views of New York’s waterfront and skyline. Located north of Brooklyn Bridge, the newly expanded Main Street Park and all-new John Street Park make up the northern boundary of the waterfront park.

Designed by landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh, the Main Street Park has expanded lawns, a dog run, and bouldering wall. It is also the home of a new park maintenance and operations building that also offers public restrooms and space for children’s education programs. (more…)

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A mini-armada of kayaks, canoes, outriggers, and rowing rigs will be occupying the Bushwick Inlet this Saturday to bring attention to a decade-old promise for a 28-acre park along the Greenpoint and Williamsburg waterfronts that has yet to be realized. Organizers invite anyone who cares about this “last remaining open space in North Brooklyn” to join them in occupying the embankment.

There will also be some landlubbing activities, like art bombing, flying protest kites, and encircling the area with caution tape. (more…)

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A Fort Greene warm-weather music staple, the Fort Greene Park Jazz Festival returns to Fort Greene Park Saturday, September 12.

The free event, now in its sixth year, features nonstop jazz by local musicians and singers from 3 pm. to 7 p.m. It happens twice a year, once in July and once in September.

The festival was started by Fort Greene resident and musician Eric Frazier. Raised in Brooklyn, Frazier — who studied Conga Drum and African Dance — performs jazz and world music throughout the New York area at venues including Madison Square Garden and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Every year he brings the music back to Fort Greene for Jazz Fest. (more…)

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A biker at the now-closed Havemeyer Park. Photo by Brooklyn Bike Park

A waterfront pop-up park with an urban farm and a mountain-biking “pump track” is currently being constructed in stealth mode, under wraps and behind a fence next door to the Domino Sugar Refinery on Kent Avenue in Williamsburg, we saw when we stopped by yesterday afternoon. It will open this weekend — on Saturday, the 4th of July.

Developer Two Trees will eventually replace the pop-up with a permanent park, as part of its redevelopment of the Domino site.

This isn’t the first pop-up park for the project: Beginning in July 2013, the temporary Havemeyer Park operated across the street at 317 Kent Avenue, pictured above. The popular space shut down last September so work could begin on a 16-story building, the first step in the $1.5 billion redevelopment of the Domino property. (more…)

PP Picnic House, Bridge And Tunnel Club, 2

This story concludes our weeklong look at Brooklyn’s greatest treasure, Prospect Park.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Prospect Park Picnic House
Address: 95 Prospect Park West
Cross Streets: Behind Litchfield Villa at 5th Street and Prospect Park West
Neighborhood: Closest to Park Slope
Year Built: 1927
Architectural Style: Colonial Revival
Architect: J. Sarsfield Kennedy
Other Work by Architect: The “Gingerbread House” in Bay Ridge; houses in Prospect Park South, Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope and elsewhere
Landmarked: Yes, in 1975. Also on the National Register of Historic Places

The story: The grass had hardly begun to grow in the new Prospect Park before eager picnickers swarmed the Long Meadow and other areas, ready to enjoy the outdoor spaces. The year was 1868, and the park wasn’t even done yet.

The city had already received seven requests for permits from groups of over 100 who wanted to have picnics. In response, a picnic shelter and concession stand was built in 1876.

The popularity of the park grew steadily, and as time went by, more shelters, restaurants and other buildings were added inside the park, all designed to make the park experience easier for patrons and to add to the park’s ambiance. Some of the buildings were quite charming, some quite unusual, and some just silly. (more…)

Polo at PP, composite

We continue our weeklong look at Brooklyn’s greatest treasure, Prospect Park.

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

The first polo game in Prospect Park was played on June 11, 1879. It was between the Westchester Polo Club and a club from Queens.

Up until that day, “polo” had a totally different meaning to Brooklyn’s sports lovers. It meant ice polo, a game we now call hockey. It had been played in Brooklyn for several years, inaugurated by the Crescent Athletic Club and other well-to-do sports clubs.

They played in the Clermont Rink in Fort Greene, against clubs from nearby colleges like Yale and Columbia as well as other sports clubs.

As Brooklyn was getting richer, so too were her sports. Polo, the game with horses, had been played in Persia for centuries. A version of it traveled to the east, and was in play for hundreds of years in India before it was encountered by bored aristocratic British officers stationed there in the middle of the 19th century.

Two British soldiers started a polo club to introduce the sport — basically hockey on horses — to their countrymen, and the game took off and has been popular ever since.  (more…)

96 Parkside Ave, Peristyle, SSpellen 1

We continue this week’s look at Brooklyn’s natural treasure: Prospect Park. Summer is coming!

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Prospect Park Peristyle, aka Grecian Shelter, aka Croquet Shelter
Address: 96 Parkside Avenue
Cross Streets: Park Circle and Ocean Avenue
Neighborhood: Flatbush
Year Built: 1905
Architectural Style: Renaissance Revival
Architect: McKim, Mead & White
Other Works by Architect: In Brooklyn: Brooklyn Museum, Grand Army Plaza park entrance, and other entrances and structures within Prospect Park (Stanford White)
Landmarked: Yes, individual landmark (1968)

The story: Who doesn’t love this Classical Greek inspired structure? For many people, Prospect Park begins and ends on the Park Slope side, but other parts of the park have some of the best goodies, some hidden, and some, like this shelter, in plain view.

And to learn that it was designed by one of the finest architectural firms in the history of American architecture is just icing on the cake. As summer rapidly is upon us, let’s take a look at this wonderful folly on the Flatbush side of the park. (more…)

Prospect Park Lake composite

We continue this week’s look at Brooklyn’s natural treasure: Prospect Park.

A look at Brooklyn, then and now.

Because it was so carefully planned and executed almost 150 years ago, Prospect Park today looks as if it has always been there. Which, of course, was the whole idea.

If you don’t know the park’s history, you could easily think that all the landscapers needed to do was to enclose the park with a fence, cut some roads and pathways, build a couple of bridges and a grand entrance or three, and mow the lawn.

But in reality, Prospect Park is as constructed as the sets of Lord of the Rings in New Zealand. Every aspect of both the park and the Shire was carefully thought out and crafted. (more…)

Meadowport Arch, Wally Gobetz on flickr 1

This week, in anticipation of summer, we are revisiting articles about the greatest masterpiece in Brooklyn: Prospect Park.

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Meadowport Arch
Address: Prospect Park
Cross Streets: Roughly between Union and Carroll streets
Neighborhood: Closest to Park Slope
Year Built: 1868-1870
Architectural Style: Victorian Orientalist
Architect: Calvert Vaux with Frederick Olmsted
Other Buildings by Architect: Olmsted and Vaux designed all of the picturesque arches and bridges within the park
Landmarked: Yes (1975), also National Register of Historic Places

The story: All of the arches in Prospect Park are great for different reasons, but nothing beats the sensory experience of coming out of the Meadowport Arch and seeing the Long Meadow stretching into the distance. Only the Endale Arch, a close second, compares in this regard. For both, as Francis Morrone says in his Architectural Guidebook to Brooklyn, “WHAM!”

Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted were able to create this powerful experience through just the use of a tunnel and double entrance, artfully placed in front of a huge meadow. That, in a nutshell, is the mark of genius.

While the experience of walking through the tunnel is certainly quite something, especially for us greenery-starved New Yorkers; the arch itself ain’t bad either. It’s actually quite complex. (more…)