The chic and historic Tavern on the Green restaurant in Central Park shuttered its exclusive doors in 2009, but new plans by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will open the site as an accessible concession area. The renovations, designed by Swanke Hayden Connell, will combine the historic architecture of the original façade with a modern glass cube pavilion. The renovation is also reported to use as many green materials as possible.

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The red brick structure that is Tavern on the Green was historically a hutch for Central Park’s sheep, built in 1871. It became an exclusive restaurant throughout the 1970s until its closing in 2009, with coveted reservations to dine in the epic Crystal Room. The restaurant was a place to “see and be seen” for the black tie set.

The Parks Department and the Department of Design and Construction have new, democratic plans for the site. Returning to Olmstead’s original visions for Central Park, they will create a concession area which will welcome all park visitors, rather than just the elite. The shell of the historic structure will remain, preserving the structure’s origins. The Crystal Room is gone, and replacing it will be a glass cube café that extends outdoors, creating a 12,000 square foot terrace that will give diners a relaxing views of the park.

Thus far, the Community Board 7 has been pleased with the new plan. The Landmarks Preservation Commission is currently reviewing the plans, but has thus far been positive about the renderings. Once they’ve completed minor adjustments, the plans will be resubmitted to the Community Board. Concession proposals are to be submitted by the end of the month, and the plans for the new, welcoming concession area will be set into motion!

+ Swanke Hayden Connell

Via Architects Newspaper