City Lawns and Island Kites: Scenes from a Pair of Walks in Brooklyn

A sunny Saturday with pleasing temperatures sent New Yorkers outdoors yesterday to collectively enjoy the spring. These pictures come from Brooklyn - specifically Prospect Park, the borough's main park, and Coney Island, the city's most popular beach destination. The two spots make a good combination for an afternoon excursion, providing counterpoints to one another in palette and tempo. While the park is an abundantly green and formal landscape, the island is wild and blue. Hitting the two spots in sequence can offer the pleasures of a moveable feast - a picnic in the park followed by a beer on the boardwalk. The subway provides the here-to-there.

Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn,
leaving the concrete behind

With a little tactical planning, a walk in Prospect Park can begin with a dramatic prequel. Monumental Brooklyn surrounds the park's entrance near Grand Army Plaza, represented by the Soldiers and Sailors' Memorial Arch (1889-1892), Brooklyn Museum (1893-1915 by McKim, Mead & White), the sidewalks of Eastern Parkway, and the Brooklyn Public Library (streamlined Beaux-Arts from 1941). Olmsted & Vaux, the park's designers, provided the designs for the plaza and parkway as well.

Brooklyn Museum

Eastern Parkway

The Brooklyn Public Library, main library

A pair of Doric columns announces Act I of the park walk, with the narrative leading through the Endale Arch (below) and into the wide vistas of Long Meadow.

Through the Endale Arch, Prospect Park

A spring day in Prospect Park

Prospect Park

wildflowers, Prospect Park

Act II introduces the characters of the Prospect Park Zoo, most of them in various states of repose. A swan rests its pretty neck; a red panda drifts into a nap; the sea lions swim round and round.

Swan at rest, Prospect Park Zoo

Sleepy red panda, Prospect Park Zoo

Swimming sea lions,  Prospect Park Zoo

Subway ride (intermission) - Take the Q train from the Prospect Park station to Coney Island's Stillwell Ave station.

View A Pair of Walks in Brooklyn in a larger map

A first glance of Coney Island can be equally dramatic, via the elevated rails of the train. The Q train swings by Brighton Beach, and on a clear day, visitors can enjoy views of the blue ocean outside one side of the train windows and out the opposite side, distant views of the downtown Manhattan skyline. It's impossible to miss Coney Island.

Coney Island Amusement Park, through a window of the Q train

While over-the-top thrills always attract crowds to Coney Island, this day's trip featured the most charming of spectacles - fanciful kites, tethered together, soaring high above the beach in the brisk ocean breeze. If Dorothy Gale of Kansas had seen one of these, she may have surrendered.

Kites on Coney Island Beach, with the Wonder Wheel

Kites - woman with swim fins, Pegasus, and a witch on a broomstick

Images by Walking Off the Big Apple from Saturday, April 27, 2013. (Reminder: Clicking on the pictures enlarges them.)

No comments: