Prospect Park seems in many ways to be Central Park on steroids. Everything Central Park is, Prospect Park seems to be more.
Prospect Park seems in many ways to be Central Park on steroids. Everything Central Park is, Prospect Park seems to be more. It feels absolutely bucolic compared to Central Park. The woods are quieter, the paths more remote and the trees more massive. I don’t know facts and figures to compare, but Prospect Park is chock full of design elements – gateways and stairways, plazas, bronze urns, bridges – and they are lovely, sometimes fanciful and sometimes elegant. One example is the graceful columned boathouse that looks over a small (manmade) lake. My first view of it was across the water, and it is a charming view indeed.
The Concert Grove area is another favorite. It is a large plaza designed in repeating curves. Broad steps, punctuated by repeating large bronze urns, lead to a lower plaza planted with rows of towering sycamores around broad stone pathways. All lead to another (manmade) lake. It is a sophisticated design that is also a very welcoming space.
I have read that Olmsted and Vaux were freer with their design here because there were no prescribed design expectations and fewer city strictures in the wide open Brooklyn space. It is easy to see how they were able to realize the fuller expression of their art here at Prospect Park.
An interesting aside is that today’s Prospect Park was also the site of numerous Revoluntionary War battles. I stumbled on at least a few markers remembering these long ago, decidely un-tranquil days.
Both these great parks are worth a long, wandering visit!