After a marathon 37-hour meeting which took place between the Gowanus Alliance and Prospect Park Alliance, the two organizations held a press conference this morning at The Boathouse on the Lullwater of the Lake in Prospect Park to announce their surprising collaborative.
Flanked by Gowanus and Park Slope residents alike, Gowanus Alliance President Paul Basile and Prospect Park President Susan M. Donoghue introduced the Kentile-Prospect Park Alliance (KPPA) which will install the beloved Kentile Floors sign letters inside Prospect Park.
“This morning, we are thrilled to report that Prospect Park will be able to mark its 150th anniversary by both looking back and moving forward at the same time,” said Donoghue, who will be on hand to enjoy the park’s anniversary weekend.
According to the KPPA, the letters will be mounted 1,949 feet in the air, an homage to the year the sign appeared at 111 9th Street in Gowanus.
Basile explained that the sign will be viewable from the Culver Line (F/G) subway tracks and throughout many areas of the borough.
“The Gowanus Alliance is about promoting advocacy, community stewardship, and dialogue,” said Basile. “We’ve preserved these letters since 2014. We know it’s up the Slope, but we are ecstatic that Prospect Park will be renaming their iconic greenspace in its honor.”
Prospect Park will be renamed to Kentile-Prospect Park. Donoghue expects the rebranding process to take about a year. “There’s a lot of signage in here, and we’ll be opening the RFP process to Gowanus and Park Slope artists for the re-design process.”
Council Member Brad Lander approached the podium to hand Donoghue and Basile napkins to wipe their faces after they sampled the messy yet by all reports scrumptious “spaghetti donuts” which will be available for sale on the opening day of Smorgasburg at nearby Breeze Hill in Kentile-Prospect Park.
Luigi Fiorentino, founder of Pop Pasta, quickly redesigned the donuts to spell out K-E-N-T-I-L-E F-L-O-O-R-S for the occasion. “I don’t know why, but the ‘K’ one tastes best. Brad, will you hand me another one of those?” said Basile.
Lander announced a meeting about further details on the project. “#GetOrganizeKentileProspectBK will meet at Congregation Beth Elohim on Wednesday, April 6. Just visit my website for further announcements. Our plan is to install a CitiBike dock at the base of the signage.”
In somewhat of a surprise to all attending the press conference, Park Slope resident Senator Chuck Schumer was on hand for the announcement.
“Were you up in Park Slope or did you make a special trip from Washington for this announcement?” asked Daily News reporter Gersh Kuntzman.
“Given the choice of being in Prospect Park with my neighbors or speaking with the schmucks in the White House, it wasn’t a hard decision,” the senator responded.
Prospect Park historian Nellie Nethermead believes that the signage is consistent with the vision of park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.
“Alongside the idyllic woods, halcyon meadows, and tranquil walking paths, the two dreamed of an additional element which spoke to the burgeoning industrial hub down the slope in Gowanus,” said Nethermead.
The historian also spoke about a clandestine and little-known meeting between Olmstead, Vaux, and railroad magnate/real estate developer Edwin Litchfield. “Heavy drinking took place, and Litchfield made an offer that Olmstead and Vaux couldn’t refuse,” she added.
Local author and illustrator Stephen Savage was both bemused and cautiously enthusiastic about the new home of the Kentile Floors sign. He was a leader of the ‘Save The Kentile Floors Sign‘ movement when it was announced that the sign would be removed back in 2014.
The author cites the structure as an influence for his illustrations in recent children’s books, including both The Mixed-Up Truck and Supertruck.
“I thought I was done with my vehicle series, but I think it may be time to create a pastoral vehicle series,” Savage said. “Those golf carts that the groundskeepers use are the underdogs. It’s time to give them their due.”
Brooklyn Pulp would like to thank Stephen Savage for the breaking news tip.
Image credit to G.