Preservation Magazine, Winter 2021

Renewing an Outdoor Gem in Prospect Park, Brooklyn

From the day it was completed in the 1860s, the Endale Arch in Brooklyn, New York’s Prospect Park has served as a key transition point between the bustling city and the peaceful Long Meadow. The Olmsted, Vaux & Co.–designed passageway “framed the view with a stylized arch,” says Sarena Rabinowitz, intermediate assistant architect at the Prospect Park Alliance, which oversaw the structure’s recent restoration. “It’s significant as a moment in the park.”

The five-year restoration process entailed updating the landscaping with native plants, stabilizing the stone retaining walls, fixing the drainage system, and cleaning the stone ornaments atop the tunnel and the alternating bands of yellow sandstone and brownstone inside the entrances. The project team, which included Curtis Barnhart of Barnhart Restoration & Design, also discovered a pattern of alternating white pine and black walnut paneling along the interior walls. They sanded off the layers of paint that had covered the wood and matched replacement pieces to the originals, leaving one brick-and-stone vault exposed. New LED lighting enhances safety and visibility.

The project cost $500,000, with much of the funding coming from the Tiger Baron Foundation and participatory budgeting through City Council member Brad Lander. The Endale Arch reopened in November of 2020, supplying a pocket of outdoor beauty at a time when such places are more welcome than ever.

Headshot Meghan Drueding

Meghan Drueding is the executive editor of Preservation magazine. She has a weakness for Midcentury Modernism, walkable cities, and coffee-table books about architecture and design.

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