Prospect Park was originally designed to be an idyllic piece of the county
in the midst of the then rapidly expanding city of Brooklyn
. The park was supposed to present a glorified vision of farm life, complete with its own flock of grazing sheep
. In the way it presented a sanitized version of reality for escaping urbanites, it was like a Disney World
of its time.
From its escapist beginnings, things got more real in Prospect Park over the years. Today the park is home to a flurry of joggers, cyclists, soccer players, barbecuers, and sun bathers, and sits in the midst of an incredibly diverse group of neighborhoods. To the West, Sothwest, and North are the trendy but beautiful brownstone districts of Park Slope, Prosepect Heights and Windsor Terrace, on the Northeast and East are Crown Heights and Brownsville, to the Southeast the bustling Caribbean neighborhood of Flatbush, and on the south Prospect Lefferts Gardens, a district of old mansions.
At the Northwestern corner of the park the designers placed a huge traffic circle on Flatbush Avenue and erected a triumphal arch. Grand Army Plaza is therefore reminiscent of landmark boulevards of European cities. Other grand circles are at other corners on the western side of the obtusely shaped park, at Bartel Prichard Square (really a circle), and Park Circle. On the northern side of the park one can find the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the public library, and bordering the park to the east is the Botanical Garden and the site of the old Ebbets Field. Within the park there are forests, waterfalls, a large lake, large open meadows, skating rinks, a tennis house, a boat house, and a grove featuring statues of the greatest classical composers. An important Revolutionary War battle took place within what would later become the park.