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Grime and Glory: A History of Prospect Park
Aug 19, 2014 @ 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm| $11
Landscape architects Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux envisioned Brooklyn’s Prospect Park as a pastoral refuge in the midst of a rapidly urbanizing city. For generations, the park fulfilled its promise, but by 1976 the goddess driving atop the arch in Grand Army Plaza had fallen over in her chariot, a symbol of the park’s decay. Spiraling crime rates and degraded infrastructure threatened the future of this vital urban public space.
Three decades later, the park has once again become a Brooklyn institution, with a revitalized lakefront, a new ice skating rink, and a safe and family-friendly environment. Learn about the history of Prospect Park, from its original conception as a rival to Manhattan’s Central Park, through its glory days into the 1940s, it’s decline and near-collapse, and its stunning rebirth. Along the way, see how the use of urban public space changed over time, as the park mirrored the history of its native borough, with boom giving way to bust, and renewal bringing new hope for some and displacement for others.
Prospect Park is the the heart and lungs of Brooklyn, and the great pleasure ground of New York’s most populous borough. Its decay and subsequent revival showcases important lessons about urban public space, public safety and policing, and the powerful role of citizens in reclaiming their city.