By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
If you haven’t visited Prospect Park for a while, this weekend’s official opening might be an eye-opener.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside –- with a “green roof,” -- has replaced the venerable Wollman Rink, and thousands of square feet of parkland have been added to the park by the restoration of Chaim Baier Music Island and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Esplanade.
The Prospect Park Alliance has planned a range of events to welcome back park-goers on Saturday’s Opening Day.
Brooklyn Little Leaguers will parade through Park Slope and throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the season at the Bandshell. Alliance volunteers will take part in a spring cleaning, raking leaves and removing litter. Programming begins at Lefferts Historic House, the Audubon Center at the Boathouse and Pop-Up Audubon, where visitors can trek through Brooklyn’s last remaining forest. The Carousel is already in full swing.
On Sunday, April 6, food trucks serving munchies -- from dumplings to grilled cheese sandwiches -- will begin their “rallies” at Grand Army Plaza, which take place on the first and third Sundays of every month.
LeFrak Center is now making the switchover from winter to summer sports. James Snow, acting president of the Prospect Park Alliance said in a statement, “With the start of the warm weather, we look forward to introducing roller skating and other outdoor activities.” The center will offer skate rental, roller hockey classes and a Friday night “Lakeside After Dark” DJ dance party.
Thousands of square feet of parkland were added around the center, and trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants include Sugar maple, Winterberry and Appalachian sedge, Snow said.
Following Olmsted and Vaux’s historic plan for Prospect Park, Chaim Baier Music Island and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Esplanade have been restored to their original design. Five acres of the Lake were excavated, turning Music Island into a wildlife habitat, and paths meander throughout the Concert Grove and picnic areas.