Photo of the Week: Prospect Park Sea Lions

Sea Lion Pool, Prospect Park Zoo, 1987, v1990.62.2; Jerome Frank photographs, V1990.62; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Sea Lion Pool, Prospect Park Zoo, 1987, v1990.62.2; Jerome Frank photographs, V1990.62; Brooklyn Historical Society.

Have you visited the sea lions at the Prospect Park Zoo? The photo of the week depicts the Sea Lion Pool on October 15, 1987. The zoo is located on the east side of Prospect Park, along Flatbush Avenue. The zoo opened in 1935 as part of a city-wide revitalization project initiated by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. The Sea Lion Court is one of the most popular exhibits and is also a unique architectural focal point of the zoo.

Shortly after the zoo’s opening, sea lion stories began popping up in New York Times and Brooklyn Daily Eagle articles. In 1935, one notable sea lion named Joe was moved from the Central Park Zoo to Prospect Park Zoo because his barking was disrupting Fifth Avenue residents. As reported in the New York Times, “Joe, the imperious male sea lions at the Central Park Zoo, was banished to Brooklyn yesterday.” A few years later in 1938, two young sea lions, Amos and Andy, snuck out of their enclosure and made it as far as Flatbush Avenue. A higher fence was built to prevent any future escape attempts.

This photograph comes from the Jerome Frank photographs collections comprised of 25 photographs documenting areas of Brooklyn during the 1980s. Frank was born in the Bronx and grew up in Brooklyn. He studied art at Brooklyn College. Today, Frank is a painter and photographer based in Brooklyn, and has been exhibited in galleries throughout New York City. To see more photographs from this collection, check out this gallery.

Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. library@brooklynhistory.org

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