Bull headlines Prospect Park 150 anniversary

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park is shown in this aerial photo, Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007 in New York.
Associated Press / Mark Lennihan

Who would have imagined that in the media capital of the world a charging bull inside Prospect Park would elicit teams of reporters to converge on the Brooklyn landmark for a lead-story that made national television during the anniversary period of the century and a half monumental, historic, oasis.

Some might describe that assertion as fake news others might offer other definitions — horse, cow manure, or just plain “bull.”

The latter would be correct.

Responders to sightings of an animal roaming through Prospect Park, Brooklyn recently, confirmed that it was no fake news that a bovine went buck-wild inside the landmark, green space which two days later was to mark the 150th anniversary of its dedication and public presence in Kings County.

News crews in helicopters, trucks and along the grassy plains reported that a cow was on the loose. They remained lingering for hours as the determined animal eluded nets, police, and animal control professionals who wanted to rein in the escaped, four-legged cattle.

After initial reports they were informed it was not a cow but a raging bull that commanded their attention.

Like the stationary, bronze bull on Wall St. in Manhattan, the runaway attracted more media attention than the fact the 585-acre retreat had reached a milestone anniversary.

Seven million visitors annually peruse the grassy acreage, ride the carousel, enjoy the meadows and pond and more than a few find escape from the urban landscape savoring the calm and respite dominated by trees and birds that is situated between the neighborhoods of Park Slope, Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Ditmas Park and Windsor Terrace as well as Flatbush Avenue, Grand army Plaza and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

The majestic space opened Oct. 19, 1867 and immediately emerged the first landscaped park in the United States.

Allegedly, James Stranahan believed that a park in Brooklyn “would become a favorite resort for all classes of our community, enabling thousands to enjoy pure air, with healthful exercise, at all seasons of the year…”

Wikipedia states the conservationist also believed that a public park would attract wealthy residents.

At that time the entire population of Brooklyn, America’s third-largest city was only 266,000.

Now boasting a new splash pad and roller rink, a zoo, a nature conservancy, a Boathouse, housing a visitors center and the first urban Audubon Center, Brooklyn’s only lake, covering 60 acres, the Prospect Park Bandshell which hosts free outdoor concerts during the summer months, sports facilities including seven baseball fields in the Long Meadow, a tennis Center, basketball courts, baseball fields, soccer fields, bike paths and the New York Pétanque Club in the Parade Ground, it is no wonder a two-horned animal sought freedom from a slaughterhouse by eluding police, animal control, crowds and his own fatality for more hours than imagined.

The animal made national news when California-based, late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel joked in his monologue that being in Brooklyn was an adventure.

Broadcasting from the Brooklyn Academy of Music during a one-week, remote visit, he even offered a bull as a gift to former Late Night Show host David Letterman who made a rare appearance on his hour-long talkfest.

Needless to say, neither of the veteran jokesters mentioned the 150-year anniversary of the site the animal sought refuge.

After the capture, a worker at Skylands Animal Sanctuary and Rescue in Wantage, New Jersey said the identified bull would be taken to their facility.

Staffers reportedly named him “Shankar.”

Allegedly, he will be quarantined for 30 days, and if he is found to be healthy he will be able to join the other 39 cattle in the sanctuary.

“Shankar” means “one who brings about happiness or prosperity.”

By the way, a private Society of Friends cemetery on Quaker Hill near the ball fields in Prospect Park is where actor Montgomery Clift is interred.

The Hollywood heart-throb who died at age 45 was an Omaha, Nebraska native, born on Oct. 17, 1920.

Take note, Shankar roamed free on Oct. 17, 2017.

Brooklyn Monument Marks Milestone Anniversary – On Campaign Visit Mayor Misses Mention

Commuters of MTA’s number 2,3, 4 and 5 trains who enter and exit the Grand Army Plaza train station may be elusive to the history in their midst, particularly the Oct. 21 commemoration of the 125-year-old unveiling of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch.

Commonplace to residents and visitors who frequent the area, the distinguishing landmark is perhaps the most visible dedication to a fighting force that formed the Union troops during the Civil War.

Historians estimate that as many as 750,000 Americans died during the war.

So grand was the unveiling on Oct. 21, 1892, President Grover Cleveland attended the ceremony to pay tribute to military men despite the fact the war had ended more than 30 years earlier.

At the time a Brooklyn newspaper — The Brooklyn Daily Eagle — reported that thousands of people attended the unveiling event that included remarks by Mayor Boody and several officials and religious figures.

In one of the addresses, Rev. Father McCarty said, “May these memorials remind succeeding generations of the awful price we paid in the lives of the chivalry of our country for the maintenance of the union. May they be a warning that will keep the monster of rebellion from lifting again its cursed head. May our blessed land never again drink the blood of its people. May our family of powerful states become constantly more united not only by the iron hands of business interests, but by the more enduring ties of love and loyalty.”

Standing tall at an elevation of 80 feet, a marker at the intersection of Flatbush Avenue and Eastern Parkway, in the median on Flatbush reads: “To the Defenders of the Union, 1861-1865.”

Catch You On The Inside!

The area around the Arch forms the largest and busiest traffic circle in Brooklyn. The convergence of Flatbush Avenue, Vanderbilt Avenue, Eastern Parkway, Prospect Park West, and Union Street is the end-point to the annual West Indian American Day Carnival Association’s revelry on Labor Day.

For the past several years a popular green market /farmers market opens on the plaza in front of Prospect Park every Saturday from 8 am to 4 pm.

Mayor Bill DeBlasio stopped at the Plaza last Saturday to campaign for next month’s election.

As shoppers foraged for healthy bargains, the incumbent Democratic candidate pounded the pavement smiling, shaking hands and probably hoping that those potential voters he met at Grand Army Plaza — across from the historic Arch — received a bang for their buck and will pull the lever next month to ensure him a second term as the number one citizen.

As for this Insider, because hizzoner did not mention the historic, Oct. 21 milestone date, and that he stood across from the very spot dedicated on that date 125 years ago, on the very anniversary, it will cost him some cool points.

Catch You On The Inside!

A man is silhouetted while walking past a holiday decoration at the Soldiers and Sailors arch at Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006.
Associated Press / Kathy Willens

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