After more than seven years spent closed-off to the public, Prospect Park’s Concert Grove Pavilion is open once again. Closed due to structural damage, the historic Pavilion reopens now after a $2 million restoration which has brought back vibrant colors and intricate decorative details. This early park structure will be the site of future public events for the Brooklyn community.
The Concert Grove Pavilion was designed by Calvert Vaux in 1874. True to trends of the late 19th-century, the Pavilion features motifs found in Hindu, Chinese, Moorish, and Egyptian architecture. Its tall sloping roof covers an interior space with fine detailing like a stained-glass skylight and colorfully painted cast-iron columns. This beautiful structure was almost lost to history when a fire broke out in 1974. Saving the original cast-iron columns, the pavilion was restored in 1988. The Pavilion now joins the Endale Arch as another historic element of the park that has been magnificently restored in recent years.
The latest Pavilion restoration, made possible by funding from former Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the Brooklyn Delegation of the New York City Council, repaired the structural damage that forced its closure, repaired water damage, reconstructed missing historical details, and added new lighting. The new lighting highlights the star-patterned, stained-glass ceiling in the center dome as well as the surrounding landscape. Restored details include wooden trim and moldings at the eaves of the roof, and terne-coated, stainless-steel roof shingles. Through extensive color testing and mockups, the restoration team was able to recreate the original colors painted onto the wood ceilings and iron columns.
The iron elements of the Pavilion, like the railings and roof finials, were sent away to an iron foundry in Alabama. Specializing in historical restoration, the foundry recast missing elements and restored existing pieces that were damaged. To protect all of the new improvements and avoid future water damage, an innovative waterproofing system was installed at the Pavilion. In 2018, the 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.
To see the award-winning design for yourself, head to Prospect Park’s southeast corner, adjacent to Lakeside, in the Upper Concert Grove. Starting this spring, the location will be available for public events via the NYC Parks Special Events permitting process. Check out the Prospect Park Alliance website, here, for more information!