A travel blogger from Sydney, based in Vancouver, who has lived abroad in New York as well as London and is obsessive over where to eat and drink. Check out my website at www.jesstours.com or follow me on instagram @jesstours.
Published June 23rd 2014
Brooklyn's Ultimate Urban Retreat
New York City is home to a wondrous array of city parks, each one as green and charming as the next. As such, it can be rather overwhelming when you're trying to decide which one or ones to visit on your trip to the Big Apple, especially when you're juggling to fit in a whole stack of other sights and activities too.
Whilst Manhattan's Central Park may be the obvious first choice for a lot of people when it comes to deciding where to visit or perhaps even plonk themselves for the day, Brooklyn's stunning Prospect Park should not be overlooked.
Located in the heart of Brooklyn, Prospect Park is a wonderful urban retreat for locals and visitors alike. It is enormous and filled with a diverse landscape of wide-open lawns, woodlands, lakes, tree-lined walkways and grassy knolls.
It is also considered to be 'Brooklyn's answer to Manhattan's Central Park'. Interestingly, the 585-acre parkland was designed and constructed in the 1860s by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the same two men who were responsible for the creation of Central Park.
In spite of this fact, Prospect Park has its own wonderful distinct feel and character. It also has a far less touristy vibe than Central Park and is certainly less crowded - a welcomed relief, as the crowds in Central Park can at times be overbearing and distract from the beautiful surrounds.
Sprinkled throughout the parkland are benches, picnic areas, baseball fields and playgrounds, as well as the Prospect Park Bandshell, which throughout the summer hosts a range of concerts through Celebrate Brooklyn. There are also a number of walking and hiking trails, bridal paths and a fantastic running and cycle track.
The park is also home to a collection of historic buildings (Litchfield Villa and Lefferts House), sandstone bridges and commemorative monuments. The Prospect Park Zoo and the recently opened LeFrank Centre (ice skating rink) can also be found within the park's grounds.
Despite New York's changing seasons, park goers enjoy a variety of activities throughout the year. In the summer months when most of the city is out, the park is dotted with people picnicking, barbequing, playing football, baseball, Frisbee, or simply stretched out on the lawns enjoying the sweet sunshine. As the park is within walking distance of multiple neighbourhoods the park becomes an extension of everyone's backyard.
Likewise, during the winter when the park has morphed into a snowfield of sorts, Brooklynites descend upon the park with ski's and sleds in tow. A visit in autumn means the chance to see the stunning change in colour of some 30,000 trees, whilst a visit in the springtime guarantees an exquisite display of cherry blossoms and daffodils.
Prospect Park is definitely worth a visit no matter what the season. And what's more it's only a short walk from the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket (a scattering of stalls), which is opened Saturday's year round and sells a huge array of farm fresh produce, as well as the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Brooklyn Museum, so you can really make a day of sightseeing in Brooklyn. Also it's easy to get to by public transport.