Neighborhood Highlights

Must-See Prospect Park

by Heather Liang, 10/02/2013

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  • A Grand Entrance
    At the intersection of Flatbush and Vanderbilt Avenues, Prospect Park West and Eastern Parkway sits Grand Army Plaza, the main entrance to Prospect Park. Though there are many ways to enter the park (nearly 20, all told), this oval-shaped plaza—designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975—is the grandest one of all. It was constructed in 1867 as a way to circumvent the intricacies of the intersection, and at the time, it was intended to be a space for public gatherings and contained only a simple fountain and a monument to Abraham Lincoln (which was later moved inside the park to the Concert Grove). In 1892 the park's most recognizable feature—the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch—was added. The arch resembles the famous Arc de Triomphe in Paris and was created as a tribute to those who died defending the Union in the Civil War. The bronze sculptures that adorn the Beaux Arts arch were dedicated by 1901: the Quadriga (Lady Columbia in a chariot flanked by winged goddesses of victory) and depictions of the Union Army and Navy. Following the addition of the arch, monuments to several Civil War generals were added to the plaza, and in time a bust of President John F. Kennedy was installed. At the very center of Grand Army Plaza is a group of fountains; the most famous, Bailey Fountain, was completed in 1932 and underwent a million-dollar renovation from 2002 to 2004. In addition to its many attractions, Grand Army Plaza is also the site of an ongoing Greenmarket and the annual New Year's Eve Fireworks. Read more about these and other events in a later slide.

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