Margaret Ring, often called “The Mayor of Prospect Park,” has retired after 26 years of service to Brooklyn’s Backyard.
The Prospect Park Alliance, which manages the sprawling greenspace, unveiled a plaque at the local Carousel on June 2 to honor Ring for her extraordinary efforts and unquestioned legacy in the park.
“She met countless people, thousands and thousands of people and just impacted so many people’s lives just through being herself and her big personality,” Patrick Kelly, director of concessions for the Prospect Park Alliance said. “She’s just incredibly outgoing, incredibly friendly and this is a very warm and comforting sort of fixture of the park over her decades working for Prospect Park Alliance.”
Photo by Ken Brown
The cherished employee began working in the park in June of 1997 as a concessions manager after growing up just blocks from the greenspace. She says she shares fond memories of the park she often attended with her family and friends when she was a child.
“Working her in the park, it was just amazing. It was like being a camp counselor. It’s not about running a carousel, it’s about embracing the public and making the people have a great time in Prospect Park,” Ring told Brooklyn Paper. “It was a happy place to work at and I feel honored that I was recognized.”
As a Flatbush native now relocated to Bay Ridge, Ring calls the opportunity to work in Prospect Park a full circle experience full of meeting new people and running various park operations including the Kate Wollman Rink.
According to Ring, the outdoor space has served as a place of comfort, creativity, and refuge during her 26 years of work.
Following the September 11 attack in Manhattan, the alliance held a day of service that Ring remembers as a sign that the community was working together towards normalcy.
“After 9/11 we had a day of caring and I remember this woman that I became friends with and she was a psychologist and she said you know Margaret this is the first place I felt normal,” Ring said.“To me, that meant a lot.”
Alongside the carousel plaque, Ring was also previously honored with a tree planted near Grecian Shelter after she hit 25 years of work.
An alliance spokesperson says the local celebrity will be remembered for making generations of families feel welcomed in the park.
“She made an enormous contribution with her effort and her care at the carousel towards keeping it up and running,” Kelley said. “She made a huge impact on the community that uses the carousel and was just this incredible staple at that site for 26 years.”