After years of being shuttered, Central Park’s historic Tavern on the Green will soon be reopening to the public. Originally built in 1871, the restaurant was recently given a $15.9 million makeover by Swanke Hayden Connell Architects. The new eatery will also boast a menu featuring local and sustainable ingredients when it welcomes guests this month.

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Tavern on the Green has undergone many additions and renovations since it was built, starting out as a Victorian Gothic shelter for sheep before being expanded into a restaurant in the 1930s and eventually to a 31,00 square foot Rococo hot spot before closing in 2010. Over the next few years after it was shut down, it suffered significant damage, including asbestos, mold, water damage and corroded steel throughout.

Rather than reliving its past as an exclusive restaurant, the new Tavern on the Green will be more democratic, offering park visitors a place to get concessions, socialize or rest. To make the eatery more visitor-friendly, Swanke Hayden Connell Architects shaved down the enormous space to 14,436 square feet, adding reinforcing structures like masonry walls, a new roof, copper flashing and gutters, while also revealing historic facades that had been covered up by years of additions. The overly ornate Crystal Room was removed and replaced with a glass-enclosed pavilion that gives visitors full view of the surrounding Central Park, integrating the space with nature.

The new Tavern on the Green will also function as a Central Park visitor center, welcoming park goers year-round.

+ Swanke Hayden Connell Architects

Via NY Times

Image ©davidwilson1949