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The Daily Plant : Monday, October 18, 2010

New Visitors Center Opens At Tavern On The Green

The new visitors center at Tavern on the Green.
Daniel Avila

On October 15, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Central Park Conservancy President Douglas Blonsky, Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David Burney, NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta, Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver, and representatives from the Sony Corporation opened a new visitors center and welcomed new mobile food vendors at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. Inside the historic Tavern on the Green building, a visitors center, gift shop and restrooms opened to the public. The Tavern on the Green outdoor terrace also opened, featuring high-quality offerings from four mobile food vendors: Ladle of Love, Pera Mediterranean Brasserie, Rickshaw Dumpling Truck and Van Leeuwen Artistan Ice Cream.

“Tavern on the Green has long been one of the city’s most historic and bucolic settings and today marks a new chapter in its life,” said Commissioner Benepe. “Through delicious food, a one-of-its-kind visitors center, and easily accessible public restrooms, the space is being returned to all park patrons. I am thankful to everyone involved for the collaborative efforts that brought this project to fruition so quickly.”

“Tavern on the Green has been treasured for generations as a must-visit destination in Central Park,” said Douglas Blonsky, President of the Central Park Conservancy and Central Park Administrator. “We’re excited to partner with the City to once again open this historic space to Park users.”

“We are thrilled to be a part of the restoration of this venerable New York City icon into a vibrant and eclectic destination for a new generation of residents and visitors to Central Park,” said Department of Design and Construction Commissioner David J. Burney, FAIA. “The entire design and construction of the project was accomplished by in-house architectural and engineering professionals, working with the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Central Park Conservancy, the Landmarks Preservation Commission, NYC & Co., NYC Media and DOITT. Our contractor, Promo-Pro, delivered the project on a very tight schedule. The result is an asset to Central Park and the City.”


“Last year New York City welcomed more than 45 million visitors and without fail Central Park was one of the most popular and beloved City attractions,” said NYC & Company CEO George Fertitta. “Given Central Park’s allure and incredible impact on the vibrancy and energy of the City, it is the ideal location for New York City’s newest visitor center. As we continue to reach new audiences and attract more people from around the globe, this new center will be an invaluable tool to improving and enhancing the visitor experience.”

“We are so very proud to be part of the new Tavern on the Green, one of the most iconic places in one of the world’s most famous parks,” said Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. “For years to come, we are looking forward to providing New Yorkers and visitors from all over quality content and rich history here in this legendary landmark.”

Located in Central Park at West 67th Street, the new visitors center gives park patrons a one-stop shop for Central Park and citywide information on tours, attractions, and events from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The 2,800 square-foot space is operated by the Central Park Conservancy and offers a range of Official NYC gifts from the City Store, apparel, and other Central Park souvenirs including t-shirts, sweatshirts, books, mugs, posters and more. The center features large flat high-definition televisions, donated by the Sony Corporation, that show documentaries on park history, as well as photographs and information about the park. NYC Media, part of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment has provided a short custom video on the history of Tavern on the Green. The Visitors Center showcases interactive touch screens created by NYC & Company, the city’s marketing, tourism and partnership organization.

The center also includes patio seating on Tavern’s 7,000-square-foot outdoor terrace, which opens out onto the park and provides stunning views of the Sheep Meadow. Ladle of Love will serve a variety of seasonal homemade soups and stews; Pera will offer Turkish tacos with a wide variety of fillings; the Rickshaw Dumpling Truck will serve an array of dumplings; and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream will feature its popular ice cream, an extensive coffee menu, and rotating pastries.

The Department of Design and Construction oversaw the renovations that led to last week’s opening. In less than 100 days, approximately 100 workers performed essential structural improvements to the building while bringing it up to code. New plumbing, electrical, and roofing work were included in the renovations. The façade was restored, with thanks to Landmarks Preservation.

Tavern on the Green, originally known as the Sheepfold in Central Park, was designed by Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould and constructed in the latter half of the 19th century. It is one of the city’s finest examples of Victorian Gothic architecture and one of the park’s most treasured landmarked buildings. The preliminary sketch for the building was published in the First Annual Report of the Department of Public Parks of 1871. Sixty years later, Parks Commissioner Robert Moses converted the Sheepfold (which housed the 200 sheep that grazed across the street) into a restaurant named Tavern on the Green, which opened to the public on October 20, 1934.

QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift.”
Albert Einstein
(1879-1955)

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