Life for Sue Donoghue revolves around Prospect Park. It is her backyard, her oasis and, lately, her workplace. Conveniently, the four-story house where she lives with her family in Park Slope is only a block away from that green space, considered by some to be the masterpiece of the landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. For almost two years, Ms. Donoghue, 51, has served as the official park administrator and the president of the Prospect Park Alliance, a nonprofit that works with the city to manage and maintain the 585-acre park. On Sundays, she spends at least part of the day in the park with her husband, Dmitri Nayduch, who is the director of fixed-income research at Loews Corporation, and their children, Seamus, 17; Ivan, 14; and Bridget, 13.
OFF-LEASH HOURS I generally wake up between 7:30 and 8 a.m. My husband is a really early riser and has already made coffee. The first thing we do is take the dog out. We have a springer spaniel named Dwayne, and we like to enjoy the off-leash hours in the park, which end at 9. It’s a breed that needs to run. It’s pretty rare that any of the children are up before 9. So it’s usually just my husband and I, and it’s nice to have some quiet time. The off-leash hours are amazing; you see every size and breed of dog. There are literally hundreds of dogs. The park was a big part of our decision to be here. Our daughter plays softball there, and our two boys play flag football.
STROLL WITH AN AGENDA Frankly, it’s also a good time for me to see how the park looks on a Sunday morning. I bring my camera and we walk the whole length of the Long Meadow. We see if any trash has been left. We have a great staff that cleans the park, but some days, despite our efforts, there are raccoons that get into the trash. I view the park very differently in this role than I did before joining the alliance.
PIT STOP We’ll stop at the cafe in the bottom of the Picnic House, called Tip of the Tongue, and get coffee and sometimes pastries to bring back to the kids. For me, it’s looking to see how they’re doing. It’s a fairly new concessionaire. At home my husband might make pancakes, but if the kids have games, they eat and run.
HALF-MARATHON WOMAN I have a running partner and we set aside Sundays for a longer run. We recently did an 8-to-10-mile run in preparation for a half-marathon, and I ran the Brooklyn Half in May. The time and distance depends on what I have coming up. Sometimes, after doing a loop in the park, we’ll go over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan.
WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN When I get home, we strategize about who needs to be where. With the three kids and different ages, there are a lot of activities. Our older son, Seamus, plays baseball for his high school team. Our daughter, Bridget, plays softball, and our middle son, Ivan, plays squash in a league. One of us will walk our daughter to a softball game, while the other will get in the car with the boys to games in Bay Ridge.
SODA FOUNTAIN FAVORITE There’s a place the boys love in Bay Ridge called Stewart’s. It’s a classic diner with a counter in the front where you can order egg creams or ice cream floats. I usually order a salad and a grilled cheese. Because I’ve run, I’m looking to have something pretty substantial.
HOMEBOUND I love Sunday nights because everyone needs to be home. The kids have school the next day and we’ll start thinking about dinner. We use the grill in our very small yard or we might order in Chinese. It’s good to have dinner together before everyone goes off in their corner and does their homework. And that includes me. There are reports I need to read and letters I need to sign. It’s a chance for me to think about the week ahead.
WINDING DOWN For better or worse, we’ve gotten into “Breaking Bad,” so we’ll watch a couple of episodes of that with the boys after their homework is done. We try and get the two younger ones in bed by 10. Then we get in bed by 11. Honestly, my oldest is still up then and doing homework. Generally, I read before bed. I just finished “Invisible City,” which I loved. It’s a very Brooklyn-based murder mystery. It’s fascinating.
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