Number 4: Tupper Thomas


Prospect Park: The beating heart of Brooklyn; its shared backyard and a symbol of our urban renaissance; with 8 million amblers a year, one of the borough's most visited public attractions (Coney Island has 10.6 million). We have Tupper Thomas, Prospect Park's administrator and founder of the Prospect Park Alliance, responsible for programming and 60 percent of its $10 million annual operating budget, to thank. When she took over in 1980, it was considered dangerous and decrepit, and only 1.7 million people ventured in a year. To bring in people, she arranged for off-leash hours, knowing dog owners would be the park's most loyal users, and soon joggers, cyclists, and bar-b-quers followed. Thomas has also secured $120 million in public and private funds for renovations and capital projects, reviving an enviable amenity for Brooklynites of all stripes. The single largest feat of historic preservation in the borough.
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