Sep 3, 2021
Not all is lost: Grand Prospect Hall’s creepy talking horse has a new home
The building itself may be 'gutted' and the future of the facade is up in the air, but Grand Prospect Hall's horse has been saved
The demolition of South Slope’s Grand Prospect Hall has been halted until at least September 16 while the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission reviews a petition to landmark the 118-year-old event space. (The demo job, though, is already nearly done. “It’s totally gutted, there’s nothing left in there,” says a source involved in the demolition of the building. “The only thing left to preserve is the facade.”)
While the future of the Grand Prospect Hall—or at least its Victorian frontispiece—may be up in the air, there is some good news for Brooklyn preservationists and late-night commercial fans: The dreams of the animatronic horse that famously neighed and mumbled, full of static, at passersby and patrons of the Hall’s Brooklyn Bavarian Biergarten have come true. The pony will be staying on Prospect Avenue, just a block away from where it has been delighting—and occasionally creeping out—Brooklynites for years.
“We went by every day for a month and asked if we could have it,” says Roberto Rivera, a superintendent for a number of buildings in the immediate area. Rivera, who has lived on Prospect Avenue for 55 years, knew he wanted to keep the talking horse, a former stand-in for TV star Mr. Ed, according to folklore, as soon as he saw demolition had begun on the hall. “Our neighbors, they all have good memories” at Grand Prospect Hall, he says.
“We wanted to keep the horse in the neighborhood,” adds Danny Ocasio, who works with Rivera and regularly frequented the beer garden.
Lucky for them, the crew at the ballroom site agreed and allowed Rivera, Ocasio, and a few other neighbors to push the white horse up the block to Rivera’s home at 320 Prospect Avenue yesterday afternoon.
Currently, the relic is in a garage in Rivera’s backyard, but he and Ocasio plan to clean up the horse and present him—flanked by two banana trees—in front of the home on “special occasions” to delight (and hopefully not creep out) passersby who have fond memories of Grand Prospect Hall and its equine host.
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