Prospect Park, Brooklyn
Brooklyn , New York
Subway: 2, 3 to Grand Army Plaza; B, Q to Prospect Park
Concierge.com's insider take:
Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted was reportedly more proud of this 585-acre idyll than anything else in his repertoire. He and partner Calvert Vaux secured the commission of Central Park several years prior but approached the design of Prospect Park, which was completed in 1868, with a vastly different vision. Think of it as a wilder, free-spirited version of its more famous cousin, with a lake for fishing, forested ravines, and horseback riding trails. Many formerly decaying landmarks have been restored, such as Lefferts Historic House, a quaint example of 18th-century farm life in Brooklyn, and the Beaux Arts boathouse, home to the country's first Audubon center. Overall, though, it's the grand sweep of the 90-acre Long Meadow that thrills, and where polyglot Brooklyn, with its lesbian softball leagues, Honduran soccer teams, and moneyed brownstoners all commingles in a hopeful, heartening display. There are multiple entrances, but the most convenient from Manhattan is via Grand Army Plaza, whose magisterial arch was built as a tribute to the victorious Union in the late 1800s.