The new Tavern on the Green was supposed to be a casual eatery whose design would hearken back to its 19th century roots, restoring the majesty of its brick and cut stone facade and removing the gaudy Crystal Room. And yet, the city has decided to construct a big glass box in the courtyard, not unlike the glass pyramid in front of the Louvre in Paris.
Actually, it appears to have another architectural inspiration right here in New York: the 5th Avenue Apple Store.
The Historic District Council, which posted the above photo on its blog and gave us permission to use it, urged the Landmakrs Preservation Commission to disapprove the glass box. “With all of the important work that is going on, it seems antithetical to go and put a large glass box at the main entrance in the central courtyard. If more restaurant space is needed, it should be accomodated in additions on the secondary façades, a tactic typically required of other landmarked buildings throughout the city.”
Landmarks West said: “LW! is not opposed to new design at the Tavern on the Green site in principle, but a legendary destination and a handsomely designed building such as this deserves something far more sympathetic; a quietly masterful note of our time. The pavilion proposed is a hefty glass-and-metal box that does nothing but hide what is most exciting about the building’s primary facade: the East-facing central bay.”
But the LPC decided to approve the whole thing, glass box and all, and they have the final word on this project, spokeswoman Lisi de Bourbon told us. The city is currently looking for a restaurateur to run the famous eatery, which hasn’t operated as a restaurant in more than two years.
Clearly, it will be nice for diners who get to stay warm in the winter while they peer out at Sheep Meadow, as Curbed noted. But what about the rest of us who have to look at it?