We live in New York City, so access to nature and open space is a bid deal. We spend all of our time with our heads down, avoiding other people, and largely ignoring our surroundings, because what’s in front of us is a jumble of concrete and bricks—i.e. what’s in front of us is largely not that beautiful. So when beauty in the form of trees and grass and undulating hills and water does present itself, we flock to it.
And so, people have been flocking to Prospect Park for that reason—for the sheer immensity and scope of its nature, and for the freedom and leisure that we get to pursue within it—as of 2017, for 150 years. Starting this weekend, Prospect Park is kicking off an entire season of events to celebrate this jewel that Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux saw to completion in 1867, and that Brooklyn residents have rightly been calling their backyard ever since; because, literally, they do not have backyards of their own.
From an Opening Day Parade and fair, to a 1960s-style exhibition ball game, walking tours, the kick-off of Smorgasburg, and the launch of a Brooklyn Brewery Prospect Park 150th anniversary beer (“Long Meadow Gold”) this weekend, to fundraising parties with music and cocktails, community park cleanings, lots of live music all summer long, historical and artistic exhibitions, and even a Moth story slam, Prospect Park is where it’s at for a lot of good times and outdoor leisure in a grandiosely gorgeous setting for the rest of its 150th anniversary year.
Of course, you don’t have to take part in these planned events to celebrate the park’s birth. The real beauty of Prospect Park—which has been operated through a private-public partnership between the city and the non-profit Prospect Park Alliance since 1987—is that it is there for all of us to make of a handsome, green and expansive canvas, what we can. Maybe it’s a weekend barbecue; maybe it’s an acoustic jam sessions with your friends; maybe it’s a personal celebration of your own, like Mayor Bill de Blasio used it for when he got married in the park. Maybe it’s your favorite place to contemplate life’s bigger questions while enjoying recreational drugs, and by that of course I mean some mean iced herbal tea.
Yes, the beauty of Prospect Park is that it generously welcomes all of that—and all of us—in every shape and form (you know, as long as you do your part to keep it beautiful); and even then, there’s still plenty of room, and undulating hills, and lakes, and trees, and even goats, for goodness sake, to spare for the rest of us.
Check out the full line up of birthday events, sent from the park, below: