Before Prospect Park was Prospect Park, it was covered by a chilly glacial system called the Wisconsin Glacial Episode. As this tremendous chunk of ice began to melt and retreat, it left behind the most expensive sections of the east coast: Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, Long Island, Block Island, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. This glacier rough-housed through Central Park, left scratches on the nice rocks there, then fussed around with the dirt in Prospect Park to create the pleasant hills and valleys we sneak wine into today.
According to the Prospect Park Alliance, we weren’t drinking our wine in enough places throughout the park (that’s not exactly what they said), so the Alliance hired Rehash Studio to design an app to help us find all the best places.
And there are a lot of great places.
Glacial History 101 unfortunately didn’t make it into this new app, which is divided into Map and Explore + Learn, but that omission isn’t a big deal, because now that you’ve read my version, you’re caught up enough to dive right into History, hidden in the Explore section. (Explore is full of trivia and challenges—the challenges are organized so users will walk around the park answering questions and earning points.)
It’s time to learn about the Battle of Brooklyn.
This was the first major battle of the Revolutionary War, and it took place right here in Long Meadow, the longest stretch of unbroken meadow in any U.S. urban park, the place where you’re most likely to be dodging soccer balls and drinking your Gamay. Nearly 1,400 people died here in that battle, and the Americans lost (bigly).
To earn points and complete challenges in the Battle of Brooklyn category (none of them life-risking), answer questions like “What weapon is the Marquis [de Lafayette] holding?” It’s either Cannon, Musket, Sword, or Bow and Arrow (not telling).
It’s impossible to cheat and do any of this from your couch, or even from too many steps away from the precise locations the questions refer to (maybe pack a thermos of wine?)—you can read the questions but won’t be able to select the answer and find out if you’re right. It’s seriously designed to get lazy nature-lovers walking around. The release is also well-timed for the fall foliage season (here are four good walks for optimum leaf-hunting), and a Park Alliance rep told me that future updates to the app could include season-specific updates.
Other challenges include Nature portions Backyard Birds (claim you’ve spotted a Grackle or a Mourning Dove) and Tall Trees (which reminds us that Prospect Park is home to Brooklyn’s last remaining forest), plus a Music Tour that asks questions about particular performance locations like Drummer’s Grove and The Bandshell.
It does mean people are looking at their phones while in the park, but at least they’re in the park, right?
Look out for more park updates, renovations, and events in 2017, when Prospect Park will celebrate her 150th birthday; another good reason to drink wine.
Happy birthday, Prospect Park! On this day in 1867, Prospect Park officially opened its gates to visitors. The decade leading up to the grand opening saw James Stranahan, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux working together to create a never-before-seen city park experience, where the residents of Brooklyn could escape from the hustle and bustle into their own personal oasis. In 2017, Prospect Park Alliance will celebrate the Park’s 150th anniversary with a full year of exciting special events. Click the link in our profile to sign up for our eNews and be the first to know what we’ve got planned. #prospectpark #Brooklyn #history