Prospect Park reopens, more trains coming back on track

Prospect Park reopens, more trains coming back on track
Ben Muessig / Community Newspaper Group

Brooklyn’s backyard is back.

Much of Prospect Park reopened Saturday morning, days after Hurricane Sandy ripped through the greenspace and destroyed more than 300 trees, knocked down nearly 1,000 large branches, and left more than 100 arbors with hanging limbs, park officials said.

It was the most destructive storm in the Prospect Park Alliance’s 25-year history, according to the organization.

“Alliance and Parks Department staffs have been working long hours to prepare the park for its reopening to the public,” said Prospect Park Alliance president Emily Lloyd.

Lloyd said the park’s return comes thanks in part to the efforts of volunteers from NYC Service, the United States Forest Service, and U.S. Army recruiters from Fort Hamilton.

But some sections of Prospect Park remain off limits.

All woodland areas remain closed — including Quaker Hill, Lookout Hill, the Midwood, Breeze Hill, and Willine Hill. Also shut down are Nellie’s Lawn, the Lincoln Road Playground, and Detective Dillon Stewart Playground, in the Parade Grounds.

The park’s return comes as Gov. Cuomo announced the restoration of 4 and 5 train service between Brooklyn and Manhattan — the first lines to link the two boroughs since the subway system came to its second-ever preemptive halt before Hurricane Sandy struck.

The 2 and 3 lines are expected to link the boroughs by tunnel on Saturday, while the D, N, Q, and J lines will return to their original routes across the Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges, the Daily News reports.

Cuomo says the F and M trains will also cross the East River starting Saturday.

Also back on Saturday are fares for rides on trains and buses.

Mayor Bloomberg has lifted the ban preventing cars containing less than three people from entering Manhattan for the weekend, and likely for good. He also canceled the ING New York City Marathon.