Central Park Vs. Prospect Park

The Central Park, NYC
Recently, the New York Times printed an fun article called CENTRAL PARK VS PROSPECT PARK. in which two correspondents joust back and forth over the merits of their particular favorite park.

Having grown up in Brooklyn (the old Brooklyn, not the 'cool' Brooklyn) and gone ice skating in Prospect Park with Jonah and Emily and then moving to the Upper West Side for high school and hanging out in Central Park (anyone remember the 'Be In' there?) I feel I can add to their conversation.

Here is one side from the article :

 I have actually been to Prospect Park. It is, as I recall, in Brooklyn. I am sure that if I found myself near it again and had nothing better to do, I would be happy to watch the grass grow, or whatever it is people do there. But seriously. I look forward to sharing with you why Central Park is not only the most visited, most famous, most beloved, but also — wait, I’m going to need the caps lock button for this — THE GREATEST URBAN PARK ON EARTH.

Here is the other side:
prospect park boat house photo by Alexander Cascone

I’m sure Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the architects of both these parks, would be surprised by your surprise, as Prospect was their clear favorite. It’s widely understood among landscape architects that Central Park was a mere practice run, and Prospect Park the true masterpiece.

The truth is both parks are fabulous! Imagine having 2 parks designed by the great duo - Olmsted and Vaux - and growing up enjoying both. No wonder I am enthralled by great public park design.
Prospect Park Map


  1. Jan,
    I was just in New York visiting my daughters for 4 weeks. I was amazed at how beautiful Central Park was, in fact New York was not at all the concrete jungle that I had been expecting. Flowers in every nook and cranny :) Never been to Prospect Park, so guess I better put that on the list for next time.

  2. My facebook friends are all for Prospect Park but I must admit that, to me, Central park is the crown jewel of NYC...without it, I don't think it would be the city it is...

    when you comeback, check out Bryant Park too...

  3. HI Jan, I loved the class, Creating Serenity in the Garden.I lived on Prospect Park West in the late 70's before it was cool and CPW in the late 60's. Both are a salvation, as in salve for the soul for those who visit it, no hierarchal grade between the two in my opinion.
    Marianne Z

  4. thanks so much for your compliments and you are indeed a 'fellow traveler'


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