On Wednesday, April 7, 2021, Prospect Park Alliance President Sue Donoghue, Council Member Brad Lander, Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene, and Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher gathered to cut the ribbon on the Concert Grove Pavilion in Prospect Park.
Designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874, the Concert Grove Pavilion features eight cast-iron columns supporting a decorative metal-and-wood roof with a stained-glass skylight. Typical of the day, the design borrows motifs from Hindu, Chinese, Moorish and Egyptian architecture. Situated in the Upper Concert Grove in the park’s southeast corner, adjacent to Lakeside, the pavilion was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1974, but the elaborate cast iron columns were salvaged and the pavilion was restored in 1988.
“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. “Thanks to funding from the Brooklyn Delegation, Prospect Park Alliance’s team of architects have been able to restore one of Brooklyn’s brightest jewels—and we’re excited to welcome the community back to enjoy it.”
“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. “I am thrilled that with the completion of the Concert Grove Pavilion, it will add an additional place for a new generation of families and picnickers to enjoy the pavilion and all Prospect Park has to offer.”
“The Concert Grove Pavilion is an important part of what makes Prospect Park such an inviting place for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene. “I want to commend and thank the Prospect Park Alliance for partnering with The Brooklyn Delegation and former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito of the City Council to make this renovation possible, and for helping to maintain its historical significance within the park.”
Through this current restoration, the Alliance fully restored the Pavilion, bringing back beautiful features including elaborately detailed wooden trim and moldings at the eaves of the roof, and terne-coated, stainless-steel roof shingles. New high-efficiency light fixtures illuminate a beautiful star-patterned, stained-glass ceiling in the center dome and light the surrounding landscape. The original colors of the painted wood ceilings and iron columns were matched through extensive color testing and mockups. All of the iron railings and roof finials were trucked to an iron foundry in Alabama that specializes in historical restoration where missing elements were recast and damaged pieces were repaired and restored. The Alliance also installed an intricate waterproofing system to prevent future water damage of the structure.
“The Concert Grove Pavilion is a key piece of the identity of Prospect Park; as it serves as a venue for enjoying concerts, celebrating special occasions, and so much more,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.“Through the support of Prospect Park Alliance, former Speaker Melissa Viverito, and the City Council this historic structure has been revitalized for an entirely new generation to enjoy and explore.”
In 2018, Prospect Park Alliance was honored with an Award for Excellence in Design by the New York City Public Design Commission for the restoration design of the Concert Grove Pavilion by the Alliance’s Capital Projects team, which includes architects, landscape architects, construction supervisors and an archivist. The restoration repaired water damage, reconstruct missing historical details, and repainted the structure based on historic images, bringing new life to this charming and historic community gathering place.
According to Wikipedia, Concert Grove is a section of Prospect Park in Brooklyn that historical functions as an outdoor music venue. It also serves as a sculpture garden, lined with busts of composers, largely put up by German American and Irish American singing societies. Concert Grove Pavilion was formerly known as the Oriental Pavilion, and adjoins a Lincoln sculpture facing the lake.
Founded in 1987, Prospect Park Alliance is the non-profit organization that sustains, restores and advances Prospect Park, “Brooklyn’s Backyard,” in partnership with the City. The Alliance provides critical staff and resources that keep the park green and vibrant for the diverse communities that call Brooklyn home. Learn more at www.prospectpark.org.
The Concert Grove Pavilion will be available starting this spring for the public for events via the NYC Parks Special Events permitting process. Please visit prospectpark.org/permits for more information.