Thursday, February 2, 2012

In Central Park, Tavern on the Green to rise anew

Tavern on the Green, Central Park*
Tavern on the Green, the legendary dining destination inside Central Park at West 67th Street, will soon rise again.  But unlike the famously glitzy, high-priced restaurant of days gone by, the new Tavern on the Green (the name stays!) is set to be a casual, park-centric eatery that celebrates the historic architecture of the building and it's landmark landscape setting.

This past Tuesday, February 1st, the Dept. of Parks and Recreation (DPR), along with the Central Park Conservancy, the Department of Design and Construction, reps from Swanke Hayden Connell Architects, and others behind the project convened a site visit for all those interested in applying for the one-of-a-kind opportunity of operating a restaurant/bar at the Tavern on the Green site (currently serving as a visitors center).

From our office just down the way on West 67th Street, LW! scooted over to the Tavern site to hear and see for ourselves what the multi-agency vision for the new restaurant is.  And we weren't the only ones.  Dozens (50? 60?) of people flooded the terrace, where this summer food trucks reigned supreme.  In introductory comments, the DPR informed the crowd that the footprint of the former Tavern on the Green is to be reduced.  Earlier additions are to be demolished (the Crystal Room is already long gone) so that the U-shaped building at the core of the Tavern is all that remains.  With this in mind, we were taken in small groups to tour the building.

A stickered remnant of days gone by at the Tavern on the Green site in Central Park.*

Mirrored corridor inside the Tavern on the Green building.*
Following the short walk-through, a question-and-answer session took place.  As the morning's intended/primary audience was that of possible restaurant operators, rather than preservation advocates or design consultants, the majority of queries concerned HVAC allowances, storage availability, delivery access, and the like.  Though questions concerning intended landscape modifications did arise, they were not fully addressed.  They are expected to be a focus, rather, of the upcoming Community Board 7 Preservation Committee meeting, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 9th at 6:30PM (item No. 1).  This will be the West Side's first look at how the DPR and the Conservancy's vision of a reborn Tavern on the Green translates into landmark (both architecture and landscape) restoration and preservation.  Mark this important public meeting on your calendar!

The Feb. 1st site visit prompted quite a bit of press buzz; see and read for yourself:

*These photos familiar? Hopefully you saw them on our Twitter feed. For more from-the-field preservation updates, be sure to follow us!  See snaps like the one below, of graduate intern Ali K. doing site documentation of the Tavern.

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