If the Winter Olympics have you dreaming of schussing or spinning, perhaps these vintage images of Brooklynites getting their game on in Prospect Park will give you a push to get outside and enjoy winter in the borough.
While curling was added to the Olympics fairly recently — in 1998 — it is not a new sport. In this vintage snap, Brooklynites are shown testing their skill at the game in 1914. There’s still a place for the sport in Prospect Park: The LeFrak Center is currently home to the Brooklyn Lakeside Curling Club.
Ice skating has long been a favorite winter activity in the park, but portions of the ice were also reserved for other icy sports. In addition to curling and ice hockey, other popular sports over the years included ice baseball and ice yachting (also known as ice sailing) — the latter involving a vessel on blades on the ice.
While ice yachting seems to have fallen out of favor in the park, ice hockey is still played at the Lefrak Center. For those a bit nervous about being on skates, there’s also Broomball — played with sneakers instead of skates and brooms instead of hockey sticks.
Eager to get out onto the lake, every year skating enthusiasts would look for a red ball to be raised near the water, indicating that the ice was thick enough for skating. In 1884, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle bragged the ice of Prospect Park was usually ready for skating “long before the officials at Central Park send up the signal at their park,” allowing thousands of Brooklynites to pack the ice and enjoy “Jack Frost’s benefits.”
Instead of the Boathouse, skating in the park is now centered at the LeFrak Center with open skates as well as the annual Lakeside Open Competition on Feburary 25 when skaters can sign up to compete in age categories from toddler to adult.
- Prospect Park Transformed (Photos)
- Boating About in Prospect Park (Photos)
- Kidding Around in the Prospect Park Playgrounds (Photos)