12. There Used to be a Camera Obscura on top of Breeze Hill

The views from and within Prospect Park were key design elements, particularly during a time when the hills of the land provided panoramic views towards Manhattan, New Jersey and Staten Island. As a reflection of the importance of these hilltops, a camera obscura — an enclosed theater where landscape scenes were projected onto a table from a lens above — was built in 1874. A spot to still catch great views is Lookout Hill, where you can see the Coney Island Parachute Jump and Verrazano Bridge.

While the camera obscura at Breeze Hill is no longer there, the primitive technology remains an entertaining way to capture images of New York City. In 2016 and 2018 a loft in Brooklyn was turned into a camera obscura and in 2019 an entire floor of the skyscraper at 101 Park Avenue was turned into one as well, with its own dark room for developing photos.

Want to explore the park for yourself? Join Untapped Cities for a guided walking tour of the Secrets of Prospect Park!

Secrets of Prospect Park

Next, explore the top 10 secrets of Central Park and the top 10 secrets of Grand Central Terminal

This article was written by Michelle Young and Nicole Saraniero