First of all, just take a deep breath, dear reader, because I feel like this take is going to be just a little bit controversial. You’re going to read the headline and think, What on earth is she talking about? Prospect Park is one of the most wholesome places in New York. Maybe one of the only wholesome places left in the city, in fact. My beloved mom should be welcome in this enjoyable public space whenever she pleases.
For the vast majority of the year, you’d be absolutely correct. Prospect Park is indeed a haven of huge green spaces with broad promenades; a perfect environment for sweet families with strollers, misbehaving dogs, cats on leashes and whoever else you can think of. In the summer months, however, every young and misbehaving New Yorker worth her salt knows that Prospect Park is transformed into a daytime playground for shameless hedonists.
In fact, Observer posits that a picnic blanket splayed out under a huge oak tree on a sun-dappled Prospect Park Saturday is actually the hottest bar/restaurant of the summer. If you don’t have a picnic blanket, you’re also welcome to lay a couple of yoga mats next to each other; I’ve seen that technique executed to great effect. Why you don’t want to bring your mom along with your friends on a Prospect Park group hang should be obvious, but I’ll spell it out anyway.
Do you want to make out with your significant other, whose lips are stained with raspberries and who already has a faint sunburn, while your mom is watching? Do you want to have to explain to your mom why your friend’s boyfriend is sucking on a vape pen? Do you want to hear your roommate’s story about her shitty coworker while running your hand through long grass with your mom within earshot? That’s what I thought.
Plus, if you feel like gossiping with your friends over a couple of cans of sparkling wine in beautiful weather, the last place you’re going to want to get stuck is inside a dank, sweaty dive bar. Won’t any park do? you might be asking, and the answer is absolutely not. Central Park’s Sheep Meadow is OK if you’re delighted by the idea of getting whacked in the head with an inflatable football thrown by a sauce-splattered toddler, but Prospect Park is for cool adults only. At least, this is the unspoken rule that I argue should be steadfastly observed from late June to early September.