Friday, June 4, 2010

Prospect Park, Brooklyn

This is an amazing vast green space with forests, waterfalls, ravines, monumental architecture and a huge 90-acre lawn, the Long Meadow. The park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux after they completed Manhattan's Central Park. It was completed in 1873. Several older features were reserved within the Park boundaries, including the oldest bridge in Brooklyn, Endale Arch.

Perhaps most spectacular is the Beaux Arts Boathouse modeled on the Sansoviniana library in St. Mark's square in Venice. By 1960, the boathouse was almost razed by Robert Moses due to poor attendance, but was ultimately saved by preservationists. An abandoned 1869 Pump House designed by Vaux sits by the Lake. Most amazing is the Ravine area in the center of the Park. Off the beaten path one finds waterfalls and rushing streams, fisherman casting lines - hard to believe it is New York City.

At the Prospect Park West exit flanked by panthers, one has a great view of the Litchfield Villa, an Italianate mansion built in 1857. Litchfield was a lawyer whose fortune was made in Midwest railroad development.

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