These days, Prospect Park’s shadowy groves are as likely to be littered with discarded toys as hypodermic needles. The Park has, much like Central Park, undergone a revitalization in the last few decades, bringing it closer to Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvert Vaux’s vision of artificial nature.
But even the most diligent efforts cannot rid the park of one its most fearsome (albeit natural) adversaries: pond scum. The Wall Street Journal reports that fighting the scum is an ongoing battle. Certainly, one can skim the scum off, but like a many-headed hydra, the efforts of even the most diligent Parks Department employees cannot get beneath the surface of the problem. The Harlem Meer in Central Park is similarly plagued.
The green stuff, mostly duck weed and azolla is natural; its growth encouraged by the potassium-enriched tap
Prospect Park even has an employee who devotes several hours a week to the task. The man, Martin Woess, rides astride a strange anti-scumming machine—dubbed the Lake Mess Monster—that “licks the scum into the belly of the boat,” as The Journal (rather excellently) describes it.
“The lake isn’t alive,” Mr. Woess told the Journal. “But it’s full of life and needs to breathe.”
Way to be gunk-ho!