After a cyclist struck and killed a pedestrian in Central Park, the 78th Precinct is rolling out ways to get cyclists in Prospect Park to slow down and stop for pedestrians at lights. Park Slope Stoop attended the precinct’s local community council meeting last night, where the cops said they’re going to set up portable stop signs and pedestrian-activated signals manned by officers during the day starting Saturday, October 4.

When cyclists stop at the signs, officers will remind them to stop for pedestrians at the signals and give out a flyer noting the 25-mile-per-hour speed limit. Eventually, Captain Frank diGiacomo said, if cyclists don’t stop for pedestrians, cops will pull out their radar guns and start giving out tickets.

“A summons blitz is just going to piss off a bunch of people, so education first,” he said. “But we’ll go there if we have to.”

Prospect Park Safety in the Spotlight Again Following Deadly Crash in Central Park [Park Slope Stoop]
Photo via Park Slope Stoop


A group of residents who live near Prospect Park want to ban grilling in the park, because they say it causes toxic fumes to waft into playgrounds, public walkways and nearby homes. Park Sloper Daz Ryan has garnered 132 signatures so far on his petition, “Make Prospect Park Toxic Free by 2015.”

She told the Daily News she lives near the park on 14th Street and suffered through years of hazardous smoke seeping into her house. She is forced to close all her windows, and the smoke has even set off her carbon monoxide detector, she said.

Grilling is only allowed in certain areas on the outskirts of the park, but plenty of parkgoers ignore the rules and set up grills wherever they please, according to the story. The fumes also affect aquatic life, herons, ducks, turtles, frogs and possums, according to park cleanup volunteer Randi Lass.

“Runoff from the charcoal wind up in the lake, threatening all living things that require the lake for sustenance,” she told the News.

At least one park goer was outraged by the proposal. “This is everybody’s backyard,” he said as he grilled burgers. “Not everybody has the privilege of having a backyard.”

Borough President Eric Adams’ office said they were considering the issue. What do you think should be done?

Prospect Park-Goers Call for a Barbecue Ban in the Massive Green Space [NYDN]
Photo by Kristin Resurreccion


Brooklyn Brainery is hosting another cool Brooklyn history class, this time on the rise and fall of Prospect Park, which  planners Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux envisioned as a pastoral refuge. By the mid-1970s, the park had become a symbol of the borough’s urban decay and rising crime rates, and “the goddess driving atop the arch in Grand Army Plaza had fallen over in her chariot,” writes urban planning researcher Patrick Lamson-Hall in the workshop description.

But 30 years later, Brooklynites are proud of the park once again. It has a newly landscaped lakefront, a new ice skating rink and clean, rolling green space everyone can appreciate.

“Prospect Park is the the heart and lungs of Brooklyn,” writes Lamson-Hall. “Its decay and subsequent revival showcase important lessons about urban public space, public safety and policing, and the powerful role of citizens in reclaiming their city.”

The workshop costs $10 and will happen from 6:30 to 8 pm on March 11. You can buy tickets here.


We’re a little late to this news, but the two ice rinks at the LeFrak Center at Lakeside in Prospect Park opened to the public on Friday. The 32,000-square-foot skating facility includes an open ice rink and a covered one, which will be used as a roller rink during the spring and summer, and a cafe and event space.

The LeFrank-funded rink replaces the 50-year-old Wollman Rink, which closed in 2010. As we have reported, Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects designed the $74,000,000 Lakeside complex and helped restore the waterfront to its original Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux design.

The new rinks are near the Parkside and Ocean Avenue entrance to the park. Holiday hours are available on the Lakeside website, and admission is $6 on weekdays and $8 on holidays and weekends. Skate rental is $5.

Restoration and Skating Rinks Offer Tranquility, Natural Wonder in Prospect Park [Brownstoner]
Inside the Prospect Park Lakeside Center [Brownstoner]
Image by Mary for Ditmas Park Corner

Brooklyn, one building at a time.

Name: Concert Grove Pavilion, aka Oriental Pavilion, in Prospect Park
Address: 153 East Drive
Cross Streets: Roughly between Beekman Place and Chester Court, closest through streets are Lincoln Road and Parkside Avenue
Neighborhood: Park Slope
Year Built: 1874, rebuilt 1987
Architectural Style: Moorish/Indian-inspired Victorian
Architect: Calvert Vaux and Thomas Wisedell
Other works by architect: Jefferson Market Courthouse, Samuel J. Tilden House, original buildings of the Metropolitan Museum and Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, among others. Parks with Olmsted: Central Park, Prospect Park, Fort Greene Park, and more
Landmarked: Yes, part of Prospect Park HD, and on the National Register of Historic Places

The story: When Calvert Vaux and Frederick Law Olmsted designed Prospect Park, they included a number of man-made structures to enhance the natural (created) beauty of the park and also promote various recreational activities. Let’s face it, strolling and hiking through acres of parkland is certainly a wonderful way to get out of the city for an afternoon, but one wants to be able to sit down once in a while. The Victorian women of the late 19th century especially needed to sit; they were wearing a lot of clothing, including being laced into hot, uncomfortable whalebone corsets underneath layers of skirts, petticoats and long sleeved garments. There were no sneakers then either. I don’t know how they did it.

Anyway, Olmsted and Vaux planned the park very carefully to include man-made structures whose form and function would add to the use and purpose of the park. They thought of different activities that could take place in the park, and planned them all out accordingly. All of the pathways and roads had a purpose, carefully leading park-goers from natural feature to natural feature, throughout the park. They planned the buildings with the same care.

The Oriental Pavilion was part of a section of the park called the Concert Grove. It was constructed as part of a promenade, a formal strolling place to see and be seen, on Music Island, which was an inlet on the lake. The Grove consisted of the promenade walkways, called the Esplanade, the Concert Grove House and this building, which was originally called the Concert Grove Pavilion. Both of the buildings were designed by Vaux and Thomas Wisedell, a London trained architect who at one time worked at Vaux & Withers, under Calvert Vaux.


Reprinted in full from Gothamist:

Back in February, in the wake of two serious collisions between cyclists and pedestrians in the often-crowded 3.3 mile Prospect Park Loop, the DOT proposed a significant redesign to change how the road gets shared. Many were disappointed the DOT didn’t use the opportunity to try banning cars completely from the park, but the new layout does shrink the real estate allocated to motorists. Here are details about the work that starts today. As you can see, the new design, being implemented this month, replaces a lane of car traffic with a dedicated bike lane intended to keep cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers out of each other’s way. (The bike lane is bifurcated to accommodate different cycling speeds.) So drivers lose a lane, bikers gain their own dedicated zone, and pedestrians get their own section on the inside track. The only thing missing is a special fenced-in lane for teenagers!

Click through for Tobias Funke’s thoughts on the matter.
Big Prospect Park Loop Lane Changes Start… Now [Gothamist]


The Post reports that an online brouhaha erupted on the Park Slope Parents message board over whether ice cream vendors should not be allowed in Prospect Park. The way it’s framed in the Post, the debate revolves around parents not wanting to say “no” when their kids spy the tasty treats being sold in the park. Here’s a quote: “‘I should not have to fight with my children every warm day on the playground just so someone can make a living!’ the poster wailed. ‘I too was at the 9th Street Playground on Monday, and one of the vendors just handed my 4-year-old an ice cream cone. I was furious.'” Some local parents say the debate is silly. And so do some of the nannies watching the kids of local parents: “Dixie Kissoon, a nanny who also took her charges to Harmony recently, wishes the worked-up moms and dads would just get a life. ‘They’re obnoxious,’ she said. ‘There’s no harm in this.'”
Park Slope Parents Back Ban on Ice-Cream Trucks in Prospect Park
Photo by fstopfour