When Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux built Prospect Park, they created a tranquil cove with a small island near the southern edge of the lake. Musicians would row to the island and play songs for park-goers, giving the plot of land its name, Music Island. But when Wollman Rink was constructed in 1959, they bulldozed the island and filled in much of the cove, plunking down the cement ice rink. As part of the new Lakeside project that's replacing the old rink, Music Island had been restored. The Times talked about the island's ressurection with Emily Loyld, the Prospect Park Alliance president, who helped lead the restoration of the shoreline and bring the oasis back.
Last year, the cove was damn, the turtles and fish were relocated, and all of the water was pumped out. About 9,800 cubic yards of dirt and rubble were removed to restore the shoreline and the nearby Teardrop Island. Then 3,300 cubic yards of new soil were brought in to recreated the half-acre landscape of Music Island. Granite boulders were brought in, and construction crews to move the boulders juuust right so that the turtles would have ideal sunning conditions. Then the landscape architects planted "bald cypress, black tupelo, duck potato, river birch, shadbush, sweetbay magnolia, and winterberry."
The new shoreline esplanade will open to the public on weekends beginning October 20, but if you can't wait until then, there will be tours of Lakeside this weekend during Open House New York.
· An Island of Tranquillity Is Reclaimed in Prospect Park [NYT]
· Lakeside [official]
· Lakeside coverage [Curbed]