In our second episode about Brooklyn's 150-year-old public park, we interview three guests, each with a unique knowledge of the park's history and its restoration in the last three decades.
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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Here's the thing: saving money with Geico was almost better than playing pick up, basketball is always that guy who joined your game he never passes the rock he instantly bricks theories and who can we have you and then put his hands up and say no foul, no foul with Geico It's easy to switch and save on car insurance no need to fake an angel sprang because you're absolutely exhausted. So which, in save with back up its own, better than sport will continue stuff. You missed in history class from housetop we're stuck here. How? I would welcome to the pond calf, I'm howling fry and I'm Tracy Lee Wilson and its prospect park. Weak sit up on Mondays episode. Weed about how Brooklands Prospect part went from
dear to a public green space. That's often lauded is the greatest achievement of the old stead and vocs partnership. This year, the is celebrating its hundred fiftieth anniversary of the help us look at it three m its importance in the community. We have three different expert guests to share their websites on the park, our first gas is Charles Burn Bam. Who is the president, ceo and founder of the Cultural Landscape Foundation and the cultural? keep foundation is a non profit that helps people connect to the landscapes around them, among the many resources that the foundation offers our city, regional and national Park service guides for cities are North America, including New York, find out more about the organization at TC, Ella, DOT, Org will give you that you are again at the end of the episode and we will have it in the shared out switch in case you ve missed. It are now on the same page of the Epp for newly released episodes on our website yeah
trials also worked prospect park earlier in his career. So he is, he really really rich. Understanding of it is an integral part of identity, so we will jump right into that in my first question, for you, Charles, is how do you think that Prospect park has really shaped brooklands, identity and culture over the years? You know it is a very interesting question, because when I think about the park shaping the city identity, I would actually say that it mirrors the city, and let me explain what I mean by that so when you when I look at a landscape like prospect part I look at, is a talent as a place that has layers of history and I'll come back to the revolutionary war, maybe a little later in this conversation. But if you think about the through the park itself in the design of the park, beginning with a sudden vocs in eighteen, sixty six
and in that period it kind of on the city. Of course is much more rural at that time, Brooklyn and on the way in which the park meets, the city is very rustic. You know was influenced by Andrew Jackson, Downing, who was a great pacemaker who in a policy, would have designed central park in prospect part potentially not died in a river boat in the Hudson River in eighteen. Fifty two, so the first euro is sort of the rustic carry it sort of like you know a country outpost, then you of course have the city beautiful Euro, which is very ever present today, you know when you see things like Grand Army Plaza and the kind of boat heart of both arts, designed like that old house and all of the Yom sculptures memorials by people like Daniel, just a French, and I predict that monies and others, and so in this
way that New York City was having the city beautiful you're like a lot of great american Citys after the world colombian exposition of the park, echoes that and then as you continue to move along the park, then moves into the W p a Europe where it is a bit very much about act, use and so as in the same way that we look at the kind of suburban developments in the? U S and everyone having their own back yard. While cities had active parks with playground or its fields, and you know a ban shell as you all. These things came enduring Robert Moses Europe in many of the New York City Park and played out in a big way in prospect park between the nineteen. Thirty two nineteen sixty three and then as a mirror of the city. The park like New York City went to appeared a decline in the Sixtys and Seventys. Until around nineteen eighty, when the Prospect Park alliance was founded and
many science on began for the park and are the renaissance was beginning in the city at the same time, and I would say that the work in the park has gained steam in the same way that the city has, a great renaissance and dumb. That's me is kind of the interesting story where you had a rustic fury at the boughs arts period. Active recreational decline, renaissance, its history at the park, but is also very much this Brooklyn in the same way and in terms of almost at an vocs how do using prospect part compared to their central park design. Well, You know I am. I may mention to you when we saw each other. The other time that arm eighteen that I was working on for over five parts of the park that were doing historic landscape reports for things like the perimeter in the long meadow along better with
by the late George patent with landscape architect, the other four parts of the park were being looked at by any Walmsley and Patricia Oda and I mean I remember- we had a historian at that time. I believe- might have lived in Brooklyn his name without fine, and he was a great landscape historian retorted Harvard and dumb waiter no he's to bemoan at that time. That people didn't know who owns that was, and by extension, people certainly didn't know. Calvert covered box was so I You know specifically when you think about how does this part compare with central park this little bit more, breadbox. Here. There is a great dude all that was done by vocs in eighteen sixty. Five and I remember winner, historian, joy casting doubt on earth is, and it should you did the idea for the park. As we know, it is down trees with real
something that covered box saw, and it was a great departure from the earlier planned by the year- the engineer Egbert he'll. So there was a big deal first foremost, I'm second, when we think about it in relation to Prague Central Park. I think the big thing here is connectivity that central park with really created as a destination park for Medium Manhattan, really are more than anywhere else, whereas I think When you look at Prospect park, the prospect park was part of the Brooklyn Park system so, for example, Eastern Parkway, which meets the park. This is actually the first time in our history that even the term Parkway is used and is created. If you will buy,
that embarks on for this project. You know, in addition, this idea of connecting as far away as the Brooklyn Beaches like Coney Island, the Palisades Central Park, going across the EAST River. This was an Patients are planning ambition that had never been tackled before, and so I think that one of the big differences between the two is Central Park was a great park in a city and prospect park was a great park in a great city that was conceived to be connected both within that borrow of Manhattan, but also connecting all the way the central park- and I guess up the last thing I would say about your question- is when you just kind of look at the design itself and in order that involves had learned a lot in a working on central park.
you know, but the five hundred and eighty five acres at our prospect park. I think with extraordinary here is that I'm positional. There is a level of perfection here, The long narrow, for example, measures nine, be acres and, you when I look at a landscape, I like to think about landscapes. My prospect, part in the career, a body of work of homestead and homestead in and you got along meadow along with central parks, great lawn Franklin Park in Boston and washing in park in Chicago. Those are the four great kind of if you will country parts with a girl big meadow- and I would say of all of those don't belong meadow in prospect park- is probably the most iconic there's a reason. Why?
we told revenge, keep put that view on the cover of his book a clearing in the distance, and you could say the same about prospect, part lake, sixty acres, I mean that's kind of you to think about how that is and to be able to achieve a sixty acre lake in the city and then the ravine hundred and forty six acres and when
in the ravine you have escaped the city and I think that one of the great things about prospect part still today is that there are so many parts of the park where the city disappears much harder to do that in central park, with the scale of of the buildings that surround that landscape. And although that has changed some in Brooklyn, there are so many places you can be in the park and you suddenly have this activity. Thinking gosh whereby gone you don't realize you're still in Brooklyn, and so I think, all of those things collectively. I distinguish the park and I think the fact that arms it invokes had been there before both in terms of park making, but I would say also understanding the politics of park making allowed them to cry. something that words such as I comic masterpiece are often used to describe prospect park more than any other onset in both landscape and events of this, a little bit with
that really illuminating answer. But what else do you think sets this park apart, not just from central park other green spaces. Well, I would say one one of the things about the park is that it is its truly a cultural Landscape that, when we look at what a cultural landscape is, it is any landscape that is shaped by humankind. And it can be? What's called a historic design, landscape, the Ici, the work of arms that involves, but it could also be a historic sites because of an important person or event and you know I just what I find sort of remarkable is that you could be in the middle of Brooklyn, and you don't realize that there are cultural life ways at the battle pass at the revolutionary war playing out in New York City, let alone in what is now prospect park so
on top of all of the significance, as a masterpiece of landscape architecture at a world class defined by armed that involves and others that have also contributed to the park over time that it's also a cultural landscape as a place that saw true, movement during the Revolutionary war and sudden again this my view have somebody could tippets do you think, that is maybe the answer to this question- are perhaps something else. What do you do the most important thing for people to realise about prospect, parks history, why are you you're right? I have touched upon this a little bit and I would just say that in a win, win with studying landscape architecture in the late nineteenth seventies early eighties, you they
when the seventies or the onset renaissance was kind of just beginning, Frederick LA homesteads own home and office studio in Brooklyn Massachusetts had only become a national park site in the nineties sixties and it was designated, and you know the reality- is that with modernism and other approaches to design that the homestead, tradition if you will, for the picturesque in places like Prospect Park had been forgotten, and it was really you know with the founding of the Central Park, Conservancy nineteen, seventy nine in the Prospect park alliance in eighteen. Eighty you had. I believe that, with the founding of the National Association for Homestead parts, they were major exhibitions at the metropolitan the National Gallery in Washington
and you know, there's a reason why of the about- maybe a little less than two thousand works- have landscape architecture that are listed on the National register about two hundred of those were designed by homestead or his successor firm. So you know, when I do what's remarkable to me, is that there has been such a great renaissance for Olmstead and and and four parts like profit.
Park. I think that what we can now do today, as we can contextual eyes these, we can understand what makes prospect park one of the great onset vocs landscapes, and I think that there are several things your first of all, I think you know. We now realise that there were three almost as you know, the domes that son enough you who is stepson continued the firms, tradition onstage in your continued work. Well until we know the nineteen fifties and to some extent, the homestead brothers remain very involved in New York City in places like for trying park, but in terms of prospect park itself. When, when I started looking at this landscape
as a young student, I think that people thought places like central in Prospect park or acts of God that somehow we just put a stone wall around it. We put some pretty buildings in it and that it was there, and I- on certain box to their detriment. At that time made it look so apt and so easy, then everyone thought just that they couldn't imagine that it was a manufactured landscape in the same way that they Brooklyn Bridge Parker. The high line are today and in that way to their credit to create something in. It was, of course, a resource that had a hundred and twenty five years to grow in for better or worse, through sometimes through proper stewardship other times through neglect, and you know, I think, in the seventies people did think it was potentially an act of God they had done- they had thought of a cultural amnesia that that homestead invokes had defined this. and I think today, when you see the park, what's so
exciting for me, when I revisit it and to see the park back to life. I mean in the seventies, you know, benches had let's do shelters we're just literally slabs of concrete, with no pavilion that remained. Perhaps it was lost to fire or then or vandalism that the party real
He had to squint them not to see the tree canopy in decline, not to see the graffiti not to see the vandalism and in a we forget that it took twenty five years to build these parts or more, and it has taken the steadfast leadership of the Prospect park alliance, essential part, conservancy and other groups throughout the country to bring these places back. So I wanted there a little bit from your question and I think that I think the most important thing for people to see, as I began talking to you about seeing the park as a mirror for the city, and I think the park is also a mirror for the culture, and you know one of the things as exciting today is that when people go to the park there such enjoyment and their such understanding and respect that it compel
This ought to be good stewards and how we use the park onto the highest possible enjoyment that we can have in its natural scenic, its cultural recreational, and it all plays out in all five hundred eighty five acres today and so to me that the most exciting thing that, yes, it is a masterpiece of landscape, architect, sure- and we know we can line up all of the onset invoke scholars and they can tell us why it is such a significant work. But today it is important because we get to see ourselves in this place. We get to use it and we also get to know that there is no place like it and I'm sure. That's me if it puts us within this larger Pelham says that I began with this larger cultural story that we get to be a part of an especially for those,
for that live close by they choose to. They get to be a part of it every day. So you know, I would say the only thing that I would say other than that has been changing is I think you know, maybe ten or twenty years ago, if you who is going to New York City and you know, you're going to the metropolitan. You were going to central park in days, you're going to the high line, I think, because of what happened with Brooklyn as this kind of cultural destination. What I think is an exciting is tat. There are all new audiences of people who are now being exposed to the park and seeing it for them the masterpiece, the internationally celebrated master he said it, it should be an absolutely is worthy of it. As we mentioned before, we started that interview and as Charles also related to as he was speaking. He worked at prospect
for a while in the nineteen eighties and so mixed up. He'll talk alone, about the efforts that restored the park in the last thirty years. But before we get to that, we're gonna pause for a quick sponsor break Jackie. So you having found a little Patrick's work, they hardly yeah two year old son age. I'm really sorry I had to go, though unleashing a car, so I gotta go to all those dealerships. You should get the roadway roto. It lets you LISA Car, where from your phone, oh wow, that's the core. Oh, but you know I still have to go in to negotiate rates and keep track of those taxes and vs. Sorry, but no you don't roto does all that, for you, too, they applied discounts calculate all the fees. The taxes the praises re here clears the shoe had is pretty cool. They even deliver the Cartier House. It's amazing. They deliver to your house well. Well, I get? My house then thinks we're great advice. Gray party will
to the future of car leasing. Roto gives you access to hundreds of cars from dealerships all over your area online or on the roadmap. We give you crystal clear pricing that includes discounts. Taxes in fees will even deliver the car right to your house, so hit the road. The easy way with road out. we going to pick a right up with Charles Insight into the work of Christian Zimmermann we're Thomas as well as others, have been key figures in reinvigorating Brooklands Prospect Park well for me. What I think is so interesting is that the story of any great landscape has the story of great patrons and Patron can be someone who's philanthropic, that rights a big chair, and you know the Lakeside centre, for example, in prospect park, is the benefit of of that kind. Hatred age. It couldn't have been done without those individuals that
allowed. Such a magnificent work of design between taught and Billy and the Prospect park alliance under Christians implement happen, but in a cage, It is also about being on passionate having a political acumen and that then, can be at a municipal level in the same way. That strand a hand was who was a patron and enabler for Amsterdam Box. When the park was created but it can also be someone like Pepper Thomas, and as someone who had the good fortune of working with top ran the ease and then her work both for you know for several decades at the alliance and then Our role is an ambassador for the importance of great part throughout the. U S, what's remarkable to me when I think back to those early days at the alliance. When it you know it was kind of a spin glue operation when it first started
that when you see someone like copper who comes with a geography background for her, actually I straddle the bureaucracy of New York City when, when this was all starting, You don't remember. This was not near city, it didn't have the that the political capital and the well the wealthy neighbours that Central Park had when it first started, and I think that what Tupper was able to achieve what is its. It's, not just a story. how that we all get to enjoy today it was actually building the alliance itself and then, when you see people like Christians and remain who you know I remember when I first started, is an intern in the park and see the work that he has done one side as a landscape architect working on on the lake side project. I think it's just one of the most magnificent
sent rehabilitation of an urban park in the U S in the last decade, and I think it's because it recaptured those inherent qualities of what owns that involves heading. ended that had been eradicated during the Robin Moses ERA, but then also hand glad you have Tod Williams and Billy sign than working on a building thoroughly. Modern and is seamlessly inside it into a landscape that had been denuded that had been diminished both in terms of its historic and cultural and ecological values, and I think it's an exemplar, and it is because
tapirs initial leadership invasion that established the tone for that park and it's the work that then several decades later, that someone like Christian, gets to work both inside the alliance in concert with world class architects to create something that is appropriate for a world class masterpiece work of landscape architecture. Next up, I got to chat with Christian Zimmermann, who Charles mentioned and Christian is the prospect park, alliances vice president of capital and landscape management. It is you. He not only told Holly what his job as we also spoke about how the alliances team has approach. Work on revitalizing this park, while also remaining mindful of its rich history. So, first off, will you tell him exactly what a capital and landscape vice president does one simple
answer, is I over everything, blue, green and being built. The longer answer is I oversee all design, construction for the park. So I have a team of architects, landscape, architects, Do that work, and then I also oversee horticulture, turf, the landscape, management division into all that has now to resources, as well as our culture and they deal with the water. So you can see why they blue green and being built. I actually think that's a pretty gets a saint and fairly clear way to answer that question. In view of this, park for awhile, and when you joined it, it was in really serious need of renovation. So I went
how much you looked at its initial designs and various phases of design history in determining your plans for its future. At that point, I started in ninety ninety, and when I came here, we didn't have a lot of information. There were some annual reports on an large scale drawings, but one of the first thing that I was tired to do was to With two other peoples to research and try and collect as much information on the park, that was possible. So we went to the Library of Congress in DC and we went up to Brookline Massachusetts. Witches were homesteads, office and home was and at a national park in and just tried to culture All of that and see what we had for the park to daddy was really just doing a deep dive into understanding. What processor park was its historical significance and what remained and what
aged and have there been any times in your ongoing works boosts, particularly since you did do so much reason where some design element or idea from early in the parks history has struck. You, as particularly surprising or innovative You know there are a lot of little gems in the park that that surprise me when you, when I walk around one of them, and it's not so obvious, but if you there's a bridge called rock Arch bridge, the tiny lillibridge restored in the ravine that had burned, but nine feet of sediment had came in. Filled in this watercourse, and we uncovered this. This bridging there's, this tiny little opening where the water would flow through and that in itself is some. So interesting. but depending on when you walk on the path. So like early in the morning when the sun rises coming from the east,
this, the light shining through that tiny little opening it just glows it. It makes the watercourse glow and on that had to be a purse purposeful, how they oriented that bridge. and it works. The same way in sunset, if you come from in the other direction, so this interesting things like that that's really lovely. Now, that's like a thing I have to do and am in New York tax cannot really pretty at a very early I gotta prospect park. Are there any Elam of the original landscape designed for the park that you may be wanted to work on, but they just aren't really possible to recreate today or aren't sustainable. Today there was always a puzzle. Buddy
general design actually updating. Seventy four when they were working on the part of sudden box on they propose the refectory, a big dining hall in the middle of the park, and they really wanted that to be built in that. Never was built, and we couldn't do that now because in its place as a large bridge that covered box had designed so it just, it would be an awkward othello can put a dining hall on top of a bridge in others that I'd love to build the dairy we had. A dairy like Central Park has its very in the middle of the woods, but that would be very difficult to do these days. Just an access ray. It's a watch now so we'd have to cut down a lot of treason. We don't really want to do that. You have to wonder you you make me think about whether or not there are things that are on your wish list that you think are the bullet you're free to share with us or, if that's all, off limits until things get approved
I have a five of laundry looks like I have a lot of one hundred and eighty million dollars of capital easily, number of structures I'd like to bring back. There was a fat shelter that sat up near Grand Army positive this beautiful little structure. They dotted author of the park and of these some. But recalled summer houses narrow these for rustic shelters along the lake. We ve only recreated one and would be nice to bring the other three back. Do. You have a favourite of the projects that you ve done already that your especially proud in terms of of bringing back the the parks, historic intent.
It would be the ravine restoration yeah, that's bringing back the watercourse so where we reconstructed actually the ravine and to them than in water on three waterfalls, these ponds stream does. This is a beautiful watercourse, so that's probably- and that's that's probably the most special we followed. You know we use historic photographs to recreate these waterfalls and on this watercourse, we'd number everything you know, identify the rocks through the photographs and put them back where they were supposed to be. Some of them had fallen erosion, that's gonna be labour of love. At that point, I think, when your comparing photographs till you're doing on an ongoing basis, we do a lot of that. We do
about a reference sound because we don't have the original detail. Drawing re only have the large scale plans, so really on your ports, where it'll save when you're reconstructing a bridge that it with them. You know twenty five foot long bridge sixteen feet wide random made of black locust, and then you look at the pictures and of it and that sort of like a great we'll work, though I would think- and I have to wonder if you're planning updates to areas the property, because they know you obviously have to do it in phases. It's not like you do everything at once But I wonder how you your balanced,
honour in the parks passed with also honouring the needs of brooklands modern residents. Were you know we constantly do that? Obviously we have playgrounds in the park playgrounds. I mean there was a playground. They were different than what we consider a playground on the north end, but modern playgrounds didn't really weren't part of the original design, so we're not getting rid of playground. So right, that's what kind of interesting as most of the in Trojans or the changes to the park from the historic are along the perimeter and on the outside of the park drive. There are some buildings inside the park, but for the most part, it's pretty intact. Design from them said Anne Vocs period and what I ve finding it
that it is because the park of its size, its very accommodating, to modern interventions. You know where builds on the long, narrow we're not going to get rid of them and we re doing them, but it's the brilliance of the design. It it just kind of absorbs new things and just makes it a part of the parks designed. So the idea for us is to, as I say, and what Olmstead really believed in his? He didn't want objects on the landscape. He wanted everything to be within. It was all a single piece, so if you think of a painting it all blended together, as opposed to things donning on top of it. So like a diamond ring on your finger, everything just is a singular compass it's lovely and then. Finally, what do you hope? As you know, the park is celebrating its big milestone anniversary this year. What are you
that historians, a hundred and fifty years from now are writing about the parks landscape, I'm hoping that the period that I've been apart over that they they see. That is that we ve done well and that we honoured the original design without keeping it so precious that we didn't allow the park to evolve. We know we let it evolve. living breathing landscape but that they see, that is, as our modern interventions were done elegantly and in keeping with the original intent of accommodating in alarm. Now to the people that bridge descriptions, complicity gave really did put prospect park at sunrise on my Things that I'm going to do next time, I'm in New York, if I can manage it in any way, because it sounds really beautiful- our land,
interview as a tougher Thomas, who is often credited with saving prospect park, we'll talk to her about taking on hunting task of trying to turn this massive dilapidated park around, but first we're going to pause for one workweek sponsor rake I thought you weren't leasing apparent today sounds like you're at football me yeah. Why use road leads the car? You know it's up. I was telling you about. We can choose from hundreds of local cars right from your phone. Ok and the pricing crystal clear. All taxes in teaser included discounts negotiated. They need the car to your house. In the game? While I pick a car, so let me get this straight. the Roadmap car was so easy
Yeah see you understand, I gotta go its fourth down and anticipating between Sudan or hatch back. I welcome to the future of cohesion on the road where you can choose from hundreds of cars run your area. We did you Crystal clear pricing that includes discounts. Taxes in fees. Woolly then drive your car to your house. It's easy! It's clear its roto. All right. We will pick right up with Tupper who shares her Would you from three decades of work with the Prospect park alliance with us so I have to ask you: did you know about the long history of prospect park before he became the founding president of the Prospect park alliance?
so am. I actually was first, the first administrator for profit park reporting to the perks department. So I started that nineteen eighty with the plan that we would form something like, but we did, which was oppressed, Burke Alliance, Before I start the administrator. I didn't even know that you didn't spell Olmstead within a state you now so Had I had actually taking a course in urban planning and had a a background and on stead, but I miss spelled it throughout the entire course and nobody corrected Ich. But but I did know the importance of unsteady in Brooklyn because of these, Kirk in the park, but the really all that I knew when I got started and-
also didn't really know an oak from an I'm, a maple, my back and was government in red ribbon get rid of aid, and things like that and community outreach work. So it was a very exciting to learn the industry and by the time we started the alliance in seven years later, I was steeped in the homestead and box histories of the park You ended up helping a rather historic, private public partnership when began with the alliance. Will you tell us about sort of how that came together, and how it ended up existing yes, as though they are such a poor conservancy had been the first such. animals are to be created in that had started in linking eighty one
and that was the first time that a park actually became something you could give money too. get me a thing at my garden where you actually brought the private sector. Money and having those central park made lots of sense to people that should have put the idea out there, but to create that sort of an institution in Brooklyn was a little more complicated. We we had really had to think about who would be, My board, you who would really represented and even the name was really a significant issue, Four hundred Christians, who became art here and I to grapple with, because Brooklyn was a very different places, was nappy in spot that ours Everybody's children go to live it now. It was this tat way
your grandmother used to live and as though, really trying to create something that help more like brook. When we we called it the present park alliance, and the word business conservancy Does it really was an alliance of the public sector, the private sector and the community all working together? So we we really took of why how to get it going. It's me for years just to find any Kristensen, which was a complicated thing but Somebody who would share this entity who was- from Brooklyn who had enough contacts and things he could really bring an and raise money and put together and then he and I from Nightingale
for to eighty seven had to put together a board and some tat was. It was a much longer process than would normally be taken, but it showed people across the country that it could be, not just in the middle of men, in a wealthy, a section of the of the world but could begun in places like Brooklyn and then Pittsburgh. separate. So we really serve show people that you could do such a thing and you could create that out of in the neighborhood. That was not necessarily, though the wealthy of community and in the country- and I think I am somewhere. An interview with you were you had said like one of the trickiest things was integrating the tea
in terms of people who had come from the private sector in the public sector? Yeah so at a public private partnership is, is not necessarily comfortable it. It means you ve got to the government people and you ve got the not for profit staff, so the not for profit staff tend to be a little laugh and they don't have permanent jobs and their very enthusiastic about that. move around. You know they don't stay with you all the time and then the parks to Burma and staff were actually very dedicated people loved action, working, impressive curse. Do you can transfer out if you didn't one of its work and but to be in the parts in those rules that sir
situation meant that you had people who really wanted to work and one or two to produce a beautiful park that there was an attitude difference between the two of them in that Every two or three years of a meeting is handled stash but then send different kinds of party and retreats, and that's the thing to get people to understand that both what people really want in the park to be a great place, and so it was probably one of the most complicated process, and we were helped along by a number of wonderful organizations like bunch of the city of New York, who helped us get over that that barrier, though it was that it was a very interesting part of the process which I dont think exists as a problem.
President bargaining and then, of course it became the not for profit side, as is the ability to rate try that dollars in it. public park really meant that we could do special programming wicked hire people who could do special things at the city couldn't necessarily do so The huge pretty big natural resources, crew or programmes in the buildings that we had just. But we really had a very their commitment from government to get that going with them. A significant amount of money was given to us right off the bat. So We knew that we had the ability to get things government, because it otherwise the private sector wouldn't have felt so comfortable, starting to put my and so when you first took
this massive project of restoring the park at a time when it was really in a pretty rough state and you have assembled this team what was really the biggest obstacle after that, the biggest obstacle was really actually getting people to return to the park, and it was a beautiful piece of landscape that had simply been allowed to fall apart. The buildings were shot, they were up almost every building in the park with closed. and so we go. We had the capital bowers to do this. Work given by the city for the basic you know fix up. The building and do this and do that and start doing some landscape work. But we didn t have the public. So is it totally opposite from the central park expert where they had billions of people coming into going.
However, in the park and in running down. We had nobody and were there with fear and crime and slow. The issues were much more, not Thea meaning of the initial capital money which we got really met in nineteen eighty, we got ten million dollars, which was money then too, started, and then every year we had a commitment for it, so much catch administration and then gently army and then ankles and Giuliani till always or getting very good capital dollars to restore things from government. But what we needed to do is get, People to come to the park enjoy the park and then become involved, become here is become fundraiser, become out these other things, so that you could bring a
public, but we only had A little over a million people visit a year in the first year, and in our way, over a million. So it was a big big difference in the issues at present workplaces now versus what will your facing them with very different, so the perception of crime and the fact that people had stopped going to the park and sapped bill traditions around the park, and it took a long time to get back programming going to encourage people to come back and ask there have been a park, is so central to the eye The key of the place in which it exists. So I wonder what you think is the parks most important legacy to brooklands history. Well, they soon
there are so many things. First volley was, it was wet, brought a great sense of democracy in he'll Brooklyn in the early days, so that you had this beautiful public space that everyone cookies, three emigrants who arrived or every wealthy merchants. It was just a bit. Bull and three air and it created senses of Tunisia. from all the way around at the park it gave the building of Brooklyn a very big boost, but you know- and it continues to do so today, so it is still there place where no matter how much money you make. Why you do you in there and you're, just like all the other people you're having a great time with your family doing all these things together.
There is a! U you really enjoying your your time with family and within your community, even though the community is enormous around for us at work and now its becoming larger, because people even come from thence, hadn t go to profit bark, so it's because it is so beautiful. Also it was created at the same time as the museum and then a little later, the broken botanic garden. So we have this sort of cultural stop right there of the garden per the museum, the You can just a little way it away that children's museum, the Programme public library, so it created this place. And one of the things that we noticed that with great happiness, is when Arnold women came to the Brooklyn Museum, he changed
the way the museum described itself by saying that it was next to prospect park. Now never ask is that the treaty is now whenever that, oh, it were right now rather break. They will have that. oh god, and either play that we noticed it says suddenly. When you were selling your house The advertiser would always say only a few blocks from prospect for our car right next to prospect park, and So that's we, finally, that the part was now and ask that in the borough. But I think that's why, how I go then the borough president many unknown in the nineteen eighty them just before that toward a big, invest and the cap for the money into the park, because you know how
He had known the part back in the day when it was great em and had upon the impact, and then he had known it without that. So I think we ve got. even more positive impact than we ever a bad for you know, the two houses we really and he has our mark With- was with coming back. then going forward, as it were probably the darkest very influential I'm very many neighborhoods them and since the park, Celebrating its hundred fiftieth anniversary this year I or what you hope, historians, a hundred and fifty years from now will write about the park. Yes, I love that question. So hundred and fifty years ago. You know what people think this design that answer came up with is shockingly
cyber than it has lasted two hundred and fifty years with people able to enjoy it in the ways that people of the eighteen sixteen and the ways of the people in two thousand and seventeen, use it in very different ways, but it would be used so that passive, the observer, They just walk in beauty and relaxing, oh it's all. Yours is still there for people, but they can also play ultimate Christy, MRS Tennis, and no one is in actual fact there were just very different,
for an activities that went on in the eighteen, hundreds and now also, my hope would be that in a hundred and fifty years they would be saying well, it was pray that they form this press perk alliance, because it's really meant that the part never had to go down hill, the way it did several times in the first two hundred and fifty years. It is stayed consistently fabulous. All of this time. For this hundred and fifty m is still some flexible and design that at a comedy the people of the twenty second century, that flexibility of the tax base is not something I really would have thought about before talking with Tupper, but it really does speak to the elegance of its design
from day one. So you want to wish prospect Parker very happy hundred and fiftieth anniversary. If you're in the Brooklyn area, you can check out prospect park, dot, org to see everything the park has to offer any event scheduled there, our deepest attitude to Charles Burn, bound Christian Zimmermann and tougher Tom for taking time to speak of those about this amazing piece of really living history. But again, if you would like to check out the work that Charles does with the Cultural Landscape Foundation, including their city guides, you can visit Tc Ellen DOT, Org. That website offers a lot of really fine rabbit holds to explore all they do programmes all over North America, where they came of give people an opportunity to learn about the the landscapes in the like spaces, the architecture that they live around all the time and maybe not look at its really cool foundation you can also, of course, visit Prospect Park, prospect park, dot org, as we said, there's a kid Julian things that you could do there and it's a big beautiful space.
if some listener mail for us. I do it's kind of a short version of listener, real because this episode runs a little bit long, but we got an actual piece of male mail from our listener d and e, You wanted to request an episode because she is a descendant of a person who survived the Sultana. asked her and she wanted us to do an episode on it little bit bad because she wrote us is very long letter and it's very impassioned with a lot of information. But we have already done an emphasis on the Sultana. I think almost three years ago looming so I just wanted to use. This is kind of an opportunity to remind people. You can actually search our website any time we'll find out. If we have back episodes on a thing. Tracy has really been kind of This amazing driving force in getting all of our older episodes that were before she and I working on this protest tagged properly, so that search
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