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August 20, 2011 / Perspective / Meadows of Shame

Anne-Katrin is PO’d

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Prospect Park needs a corporate sponsor to step up and adopt the only lake in Brooklyn so the proper resources can be secured to help in its recovery.

Days after Sunday’s torrential downpour of eight inches, Prospect Park is still recovering from the effects of the flooding along the lakefront. The overflow even remained on the steps of the Boathouse at the Audubon Center, covering the boat deck launch for the electric boat, Independence.

We were assured that the in-flow to the watercourse was turned off and the out-flow fully opened on Monday in an attempt to reverse the course. Early Monday morning, we saw the waterfall at the Binnen Bridge running full force into the Boathouse Pond, adding water to an already severely overflowing watercourse. The erosion was evident at the Lullwater Bridge, with clumps of land loosening and falling from the shore as the water level kept on rising the next day.

The drains inside Prospect Park continue to empty into the lake and cause an additional burden on the infrastructure. The lake has overflowed over the walking paths and park benches hundreds of feet away.

On Monday and Tuesday, at the Park Circle entrance, a river of water was streaming away from the lake, onto the East Park Drive unabated and on Wednesday, park benches at the southeastern corner still looked like they are floating. In the past, the lake had been lowered in advance of heavy rainfall in order to minimize the damage.

The lakeside is already under stress from years of disrepair and lack of commitment of resources. Large sections of parkland have been turned into swampy pits and erosion continues at a rapid pace exposing tree roots that are covered in lake water. Some of the trees look as if they were planted right in the lake.

Boughs and branches are snapping and trees are uprooting from the wearing away of landscape. The erosion contributes to the demise of trees surrounding the watercourse by exposing the roots.

The bank’s stonework has fallen apart around the watercourse creating escape routes that act like broken Roman aqueducts spilling water haphazardly out onto the landscape. Now, there will be days and possibly weeks of large stagnant pools of filthy muddy water adding to the problem of creating more breeding grounds for mosquito eggs after the park was sprayed on Friday morning, Aug. 5, for West Nile Virus.

Brooklyn, more than ever, needs a corporate Neptune to restore our freshwater lakeside and to protect the wildlife habitat.

The opinion expressed by Anne-Katrin Titze, licensed wildlife rehabilitator, are hers. The Brooklyn Paper is an objective source for news. We are merely presenting this opinion piece to further local debate.

Updated 5:25 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Johanna from Clearfield says:
There was a NYC Parks public forum that discussed private interesrs and our public parks -- there is a new national non-profit called City Parks Alliance (the link is in the attached article) and their stated mission is to "Make parks WORK for people."

Catherine Nagel spoke at length on how private funds could "re-imagine" the park- Never making parks separate from the community" and that org has and is gaining huge national funding.
They would like nothing better than to "cleanse" all parks of wildlife and install more movie stages and fast food restaurants and lease the park out to more garbage generating (but money making) festivals.
In addition- if parks are privately owned - nobody - "the public" can have ANY INFLUENCE on what goes on there.
That includes massive wildlife killing.
http://parkslope.patch.com/d/blog_posts/which-park-is-it-anyway
Aug. 20, 2011, 10:46 am
Mitchel Cohen from Bensonhurst says:
Why does Anne-Katrin think that corporate sponsorship would bring about the kind of improvements to Prospect Park that she (and I) would like to see?

I remember an old Heinlein story in which corporate sponsors bought the rights to the moon and constructed a high-intensity advertisement across the moon's face, blazing the corporate logo (Coca Cola, I think it was) every night.

It is hard enough to attend concerts in the Park without being visually assaulted by all the corporate logos. I'd like spaces like Prospect Park to remain a refuge from the constant bombardment of corporate advertising, no matter how 'tastefully' presented. And I'd like to expand that "liberated zone" outward from the Park to include more and more of the rest of our lives. Wouldn't you?

Mitchel Cohen
Brooklyn Greens/Green Party
Aug. 20, 2011, 10:50 am
Eugene from Prospect Heights says:
@Johanna: you might want to actually look at the web site of the City Parks Alliance to get some facts. No one is privatizing parks - they always remain publically owned. The City Parks Alliance advocates FOR community input and for increased public and private funding to take care of Parks AND their environment. In fact, they are a force behind a great idea to turn many foreclosed strip malls and commericial strips into greenspace.

See: http://www.cityparksalliance.org/index.php

Do some fact checking before you rant.
Aug. 20, 2011, 10:59 am
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
http://parkslope.patch.com/d/blog_posts/which-park-is-it-anyway
Eugene- You might want to read this article- link above- which includes video of Catherine Nagel - which is quited in my comment, prior.
My article asks "Which Park Is It Anyway?" and goes on to detail the ways in which the City Parks Alliance fails to distinguish between parks that could also be described as "habitat" and which host migratory birds and other wildlife - vs. barren cement yards that can be landscaped as community green space. There arw huge differences in tge purposes of very different parks. In addition- Organizations like the City Parks Alliance are promoting the mythology ("lie" would be a better word) that govt has no money for parks so either they will close or worse -- if private interest with for- profit motivation- doesn't come to the rescue. In 2008, on Bloomberg's watch, both sports stadiums - built on our public land- changed their agreement to give the profit from just parking fees ($30 million annually) back to NYC parks - which had been the standing contract- and now they do not. This is only one example (there are many more in my article) where the parks are robbed of millions of dollars. Then groups like tge city parks alliance come in to exploit the parks for profit and "re-imagine" themselves as heroes.
Aug. 20, 2011, 12:21 pm
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
Anne,

It was the Private-public partnership of the Prospect Park Alliance with the City's management of the park which has prioritized the building of a $74 Million dollar two-ice skating rink / lakeside "center" - as you know rgat has been completely funded and construction is underway-- even as services such as basic garbage clean- up (as you are pictured here pointing out) is horribly underfunded.
I would love to see Prospect Park re-vamped more like tge Bklyn Botannical gardens- Where there are limited entry access points and people could be instructed on park rules. $74 million would pay for increased park enforcement of those basic rules. The Park has money- the question is - where or who is allowing such gross mismanagement of funds???
Aug. 20, 2011, 12:47 pm
Christine from Windsor Terrace says:
Prospect Park's lake is a vital body of water for Brooklyn and yet it is being treated as if it were a garbage dump for any and all debris.
More care must be given to improve the environment in and around the lake before its decline goes any further.
Aug. 20, 2011, 1:11 pm
Kim from Park Slope says:
The park is not heading in the right direction when it has a beautiful lake that is sorely lacking in maintenance.
We hope that this opens a new awareness from those who are calling the shots.
Do not let Prospect Park become unvisitable for those who enjoy a stroll around the Lullwater into the big lake.
Aug. 20, 2011, 4:53 pm
David from Ditmas Park says:
Anne Katrin is right that the protection of the park's wildlife and their habitat need to become a priority. I hope there is a way to do this without private investment.
Aug. 20, 2011, 5:02 pm
Eugene from Prospect Heights says:
@ Johanna: you write, "I would love to see Prospect Park re-vamped more like the Bklyn Botannical gardens- Where there are limited entry access points and people could be instructed on park rules." - But the Botanic (note BOTANIC – not “Botanical”) Garden is a PRIVATE, non-profit -- NOT a City Park! That is the problem with all you write: you are confused with what is PUBLIC and PRIVATE. It is YOU who want to restrict access to greenspace. Olmsted and Vaux talked about Parks as democratic spaces. The Garden, lovely as it is, with its entrance fee and rules, is not a public, democratic space like a public park. Your definition of public parks is so limited and restricted and non-democratic. If we need to fear for our green spaces, it's because people like you would lock them up, make them restricted with some illusion of these spaces having been created as pristine sanctuaries; forgetting that they all are man-made environments for the use of the GENERAL PUBLIC and not your select audience.
Aug. 21, 2011, 6:33 am
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
Uh, Eugene, I am totally aware that the Botannic or Botannical or whichever is the exact name for the lovely PRIVATE gardens by the Brooklyn Museum(spelled "museum"). There have been so may flagrant violations at our lovely Prospect Park (spelled "Park") including fatal or festering injuries to our prescious wild birds - ducks, geese and swans-- also the rampant dumping of hot barbeque coals -well documented by my own photos posted in the Park Slope Patch and thus paper-- so many violations coupled with the apparent REFUSAL if the city parks commissioner and the Prospect Park Alluance -- to pay for full tine park enforcement police to educste and orevent these violations -- Rather than do this, a $ 74 million construction project is going ahead full speed.

In order to find some relief for thus ridiculous lack of enforcenent, yes, I would love to see Prospect Park model itself after the PRIVATE limited access entry points that tge Botanic Gardens provides. Modeling this style of limited entry and asking for a donation (not requiring) would not make the park private.
Aug. 21, 2011, 9:44 am
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
sorry for all the typos but I am using my iphone and I am near- sighted- can't read these tiny keys! spelled "keys")
Aug. 21, 2011, 9:46 am
Johanna Clearfield from Park Slope says:
Eugene- not all parks are man-made. Jesus. City Parks Alliance cannot conceive of nature for nsture's sake. Yes - some resttictions to protect nsture - gee- is that going too far? We seem to shut the park roads yo traffic on the weekends!!OMg!! Some people with cars xsn't drive through the public park! No!!!
Cars aren't allowed (yet) to drive over the green meadows or through the trees! How fascist!
What is wrong with this city??? Having restrictions like that inhibits freedom for all!
Right, Eugene?
Aug. 21, 2011, 10:12 am
Dana from Windsor Terrace says:
The protection of the habitat at and around the lake is at stake. A change in the way this part of the park has been treated is overdue. Trees are in distress and what is left at the bank in far too many sites are trip hazards for young children, known to all as exposed roots.
Aug. 21, 2011, 11:58 am
jp from kensington says:
That lake needs more care. So many areas are overlooked. It's time for some action to be taken.
Aug. 22, 2011, 7:42 pm
Me from Prospect Park says:
@ Dana. Really? It's a park and woodlands. There will always be trip hazards.
Aug. 23, 2011, 6:28 am

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