Apr 8, 2021
Prospect Park’s Concert Grove Pavilion receives surprisingly colorful restoration
The 1874 pavilion, which had been closed to the public since 2014, reopened on Wednesday after a $2 million makeover
If you’re looking for an old-timey destination on your spring perambulations, the Concert Grove Pavilion in Prospect Park has been fully restored to its 1874 glory. It reopened to the public on Wednesday.
The structure, tucked into the southeast corner of the park, across from the Le Frak Center, is the beneficiary of a $2 million makeover secured by former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council.
“The Concert Grove Pavilion is a beloved landmark, and has served our community as the location for family reunions, birthday parties and celebrations for generations,” said Sue Donoghue, president of Prospect Park Alliance and Park Administrator, in a statement.
And its reboot is surprisingly colorful, with splashes of mauve, orange and lavender. While accurate to the time period, some of that color-work had to be guessed at (of the five colors used on the columns only a few could be matched exactly, according to a Brownstoner report from last September.)
In all, the pavilion is held aloft by eight cast-iron columns and a capped with a decorative, arched metal and wood roof that borrows motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish and Egyptian architecture, all popular Victorian influences.
The pavilion, a hot spot for birthday parties and concerts, has been closed to shade-seekers since 2014—and even before that had a complicated past: Completed by park designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1874, the pavilion was largely destroyed by fire a century later, in 1974. It wouldn’t be restored until 1988, when it received the addition of its ornate stained-glass skylight.
The pavilion closed again in 2014 when its 140-year-old roof began to crumble.
Its restoration comes on the heels of a “new year’s surprise” that saw two new entrances open up along Flatbush’s mile-long stretch hugging the park—the first new entrances since the 1940s.
Also recently, Prospect Park saw the reopening of its Endale Arch in November, following a five-year restoration. Also designed by Olmsted and Vaux, the stunning tunnel funnels park-goers from the footpaths near Grand Army Plaza to the sprawling Long Meadow. Like the concert pavilion, that renovation revealed long-hidden details of the arch, which itself looked like the overturned hull of a beautiful boat.
The park itself has provided an oasis of safety and calm during the past year, though the pandemic has resulted in a loss of funding for parks across the city, just as traffic to them has climbed.
“During this health crisis Brooklynites have been using Prospect Park and all its amenities more than ever and I think everyone in New York City’s appreciation has grown for their local parks during this pandemic” said Council Member Brad Lander at the unveiling of the pavilion.
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