As we Brooklynites say, "Olmstead and Vaux practiced their park design on Central Park in Manhattan and used what they learned to make Prospect Park their masterpiece." The park has spectacular views down Long Meadow and around the lake, areas of forest and classic buildings and arches.
It is a wonderful place to run, walk or bike (a 3.5 mile roadway goes completely around the park) or just to laze on the grass or have family barbeques and picnics. There are stables across the road and bridle paths throughout the park. There are baseball and soccer fields in the park and across the street in the Parade Grounds. The Prospect Park Zoo is within the park and across the street there is the spectacular Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Returning in late 2013 is ice skating (and roller skating) in a completely new rink. The Brooklyn Marathon is held within the park, as well shorter races throughout the year. The Carousel is open all summer and many weekends during the rest of the year.
There is a drum circle filled with drummers on weekends during the summer months, as well as concerts from a broad range of musical styles at the Bandshell. One evening during the summer, the New York Philharmonic performs to a crowd of thousands of picnickers and music lovers, followed by fireworks.
Saturdays throughout the year at the Grand Army Plaza entrance is a very special greenmarket, and another smaller greenmarket on Wednesdays near Bartel Pritchard Square. Both are heavily attended by the neighbors.
As the site of the Battle of Long Island in the American Revolution, you can trace the progress of the British by Lookout Hill and over Battle Pass, while at the Maryland Monument you can honor the 400 Marylanders whose desperate stand allowed George Washington to evacuate his troops to Manhattan and on to New Jersey to fight another day.
Other history is found in the over 200-year old Lefferts House built by a Dutch family in nearby Flatbush. Children's programs and historic tours are presented there.
Prospect Park even has its own cemetery. Although it is private, you can peek through the fence at the Quaker Cemetery.
And it is all safe, clean and cheap. The 2 or 3 subway trains to Grand Army Plaza, the Q or B to Prospect Park or Parkside or the F to Prospect Park-15th St all take you to the edge of the park.