Tupper Thomas, who for around 30 years has been Prospect Park's administrator, has announced her retirement (which she'll embark upon next year). When we talked to her in 2005 she talked about what she has seen happen with the park since taking the position in 1980, telling us: "what was most sorely missing from Prospect Park was people — people from every neighborhood who enjoyed coming to the Park, who felt comfortable in the Park, cared about it and would give of their time and energy to helping their Park."
At some point, as the NY Times pointed out today, drugs and muggers overtook the Brooklyn institution, and by the 1970s it became more of a crime scene than a place to find peace and quiet. Thomas had a role in changing all that, and Adrian Benepe tells the paper, “Walk from Grand Army Plaza through Long Meadow into the Ravine, past the rivers and waterfalls, to the Nethermead, and to the lake and the boathouse,” he said. “If you want to understand Olmsted and Vaux, you do that. That was lost, that experiential continuum is her masterpiece.” Though dog owners might think it's the off-leash hours she instituted!
Here's a look back at what Prospect Park was like before Ms. Thomas, and before all that crime.