Daily Plant Masthead

Volume XXVII, Number 5729
Tuesday, Oct 23, 2012

Music Island And Esplanade At Prospect Park Is Dedicated

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On October 19, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to mark the dedication of Chaim Baier Music Island and the Shelby White and Leon Levy Esplanade at Lakeside in Prospect Park. The event celebrated the restoration of the most formal area of the Park, as designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1867. In attendance were Mayor Michael Bloomberg, First Deputy Mayor Patti Harris, Parks Commissioner Veronica White, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Members Brad Lander and Mathieu Eugene, Prospect Park Alliance Chair Albert Garner, Prospect Park Alliance President Emily Lloyd, former Prospect Park Alliance President Tupper Thomas, and founding trustee of the Leon Levy Foundation Shelby White.

The original Olmsted and Vaux landscape was dismantled in 1960 for the construction of the former Wollman Rink. The recreation of Music Island and the Esplanade is the first phase of a restoration project that will include, in the second phase, a new 25,000-square-foot facility and two skating rinks to be completed in late fall 2013. The first phase was funded principally by a $10 million grant from the Leon Levy Foundation, with additional funding from the Environmental Protection Fund of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York State Dormitory Authority, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Music Island is being named in honor of Ms. White’s father, Chaim Baier, and the Esplanade is in honor of Ms. White and her late husband, Mr. Leon Levy.

With its shoreline and scenic views, Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux conceived of Music Island, the Esplanade and the Concert Grove as a central space for Brooklyn residents to come together, whether for musical concerts or ice skating on the Lake. Using Olmsted and Vaux’s plans for Prospect Park and through extensive photographic research and analysis, Music Island and the Esplanade have been restored to their original design. Music Island has been rebuilt in five acres of re-excavated Lake. The granite walls along the formal part of the esplanade have been reconstructed as per their original design and the soft edge of the extended esplanade has been restored with boulders and native trees, shrubs and aquatic plants. The radial path system and terrace in the Lower Concert Grove have also been re-established. The completion of Music Island and the Esplanade marks a significant milestone in the Alliance’s ongoing restoration of Prospect Park and its entire 60-acre watercourse.

Music Island, the Esplanade and Concert Grove are an integral part of the $74 million, 26-acre Lakeside project to restore the southeast area of the Park to its original glory. Lakeside will also replace the old Wollman ice skating rink with a 25,000-square-foot facility designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects. The new sustainable facility has green roofs and is designed to seamlessly blend into the surrounding parkland. It will be LEED Silver certified and will feature both indoor and outdoor space with two rinks (30,000-square-feet in total skating surface). The rinks will host ice skating and hockey in the fall and winter and roller skating and a water playground in the spring and summer. By constructing this new year-round facility on the site of the parking lot for the old Wollman Rink, five acres are being added to the lake as well as three acres of green space for active public use. It is anticipated that Lakeside will accommodate three times the number of visitors as compared to the former rink.

Lakeside is a project of the Prospect Park Alliance, in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and the New York City Economic Development Corporation. Prospect Park Alliance landscape architect, Christian Zimmerman, FASLA, and the staff of the Alliance’s Design and Construction office provided the design for Music Island and the Esplanade, and are working with Tod Williams and Billie Tsien as the landscape architects for the entire Lakeside design. They also provided the landscape design for the restoration of the original Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux design throughout Prospect Park. For project updates please visit: www.prospectpark.org/lakeside.


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