Must-See Prospect Park
by Heather Liang, 10/02/2013
Celebrate Brooklyn! at the Bandshell. Photo: Robert Smith
Get Your Groove On
As we continue to uncover all the secrets of Prospect Park, one of the most exciting discoveries is the number of places one can hear live music. The most famous of these is, of course, the Prospect Park Bandshell, an outdoor entertainment venue that hosts Celebrate Brooklyn! each summer. It features a three-story-high acoustic shell designed for optimal audio output, a raised stage and a large circular plaza. The first-come, first-served seating consists of 2,000 spots in the plaza and another 5,000 on the lawn. The Bandshell hosts many musical performances, but it's also a great place for film screenings and has food and beverage concession stands along with public restrooms. There are also smaller, lesser-known musical venues within the park (some functional; some just for show) that are worth noting. The Concert Grove, once a place to hear music in an open-air setting—concerts were moved to a different section of the park in 1887 due to acoustical problems—makes a beautiful place to visit for some peace and quiet. Within the Concert Grove, find the Oriental Pavilion (formerly a teahouse), radial walkways and flowerbeds, and sculptures of historical figures and classical composers, like Abraham Lincoln, Washington Irving and Ludwig Van Beethoven. Following the sound issues in the Concert Grove, performances were moved to the Music Pagoda—an octagonal structure that sits in a shady section near the center of the park. Musical and theatrical performances have been taking place here since the 1880s and, in recent yeras, community-organized events as well. An informal but always happening place for music is Drummer's Grove. For more than 40 years, musicians have gathered here to play, beginning with the Congo Square Drummers in 1968 and expanding to include a variety of instrumentalists, along with dancers and vendors. Stop by any Sunday afternoon from April through October and join in the jam session with your own skins, or just sit back and enjoy the show.