If you watched our "5 Must-See Places in Park Slope Brooklyn" video, you know that we featured Brooklyn's Grand Army Plaza as one of the five.

Where we showed off the aesthetics of the beautiful plaza in the video, here we want to give its story with these 5 interesting facts, so that when you visit you'll have an even greater appreciation of it...beyond its good looks.


5 INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT BROOKLYN'S GRAND ARMY PLAZA

 

01. Originally a Battleground

Before any of the beautiful structures (the arch, the fountain, the granite columns, etc) were erected, the ground on which the Grand Army Plaza was built, served as a battleground for the first battle of the American Revolution called the 'Battle of Long Island'.

 

02. A "Minor" Pause on Construction

In 1865, the construction of the Plaza resumed.

From what?

A minor incident you might've heard about called the US Civil War, which stalled it.

 

03. Some Harsh Words in Late 1800's

In 1887, the plaza got the following not-so-glowing review, courtesy of the Parks Commission: a “failure."

In its 1888 Annual Report, the Commission said it was...

...devoid of all life and a stony waste.

...suggestive of Siberia in winter and Sahara in the summer.
— Parks Commission

Ouch.

This was due to economic hard time of the 1873 putting a halt to much of the work on the Plaza in that decade. And the scathing reviews were part of the Park Commission's efforts to have it rebuilt.

 

04. Name Change

Grand Army Plaza, once upon a time, went by a different name -- Prospect Park Plaza. The current iteration of its name came about in 1926 observe the 60th anniversary of the foundation of  the Grand Army of the Republic, a fraternal organization composed of veterans of the Union Army and other military services who served in the American Civil War.

 

05. The Busiest Traffic Circle in The Borough

Not only is the Grand Army Plaza on the corner of Prospect Park's main entrance, but the area around the arch is the biggest and busiest traffic circle in all of Brooklyn.