SummerStage Wins Approval for Structural Upgrade and New Stage

A rendering of the new stage.

By Alex Israel

Community Board 7 voted to approve the City Parks Foundation’s plan to upgrade the SummerStage venue in Central Park, which, according to the resolution, is “nearly twenty years old and can no longer hold the weight of some modern productions.”

SummerStage markets itself as “New York City’s largest free, outdoor performing arts festival,” and has hosted more than six million people since its inception in 1986.

The plan includes the following upgrades:

–Create six new stage foundations (these foundations are below ground and covered in sand when not in use for SummerStage).

–Replace the columns supporting the stage to increase weight-bearing capacity and present a smaller profile, thus increasing visibility for concert-goers.

–Dig new trenches and install access points for electrical wiring to reduce trip hazards and use electricity more efficiently.

–Build a new stage and canopy. Both the new canopy and new stage will be larger, and the stage will be accessible for the first time. (These elements are not permanent, and will be removed after the performance season.)

The total cost of the upgrades will be $5 million. Of this, $2.9 million in public funds have already been allocated, including $150,000 from Borough President Gale Brewer, and $50,000 from Council Member Helen Rosenthal. The remainder will be raised privately, according to the City Parks Foundation.

With CB7’s seal of approval, all but the last change will next need to pass through the Public Design Commission. If approved by the PDC, the project is slated to kick off this year and be completed in time for the 2019 season.

During the monthly meeting, CB7 also unanimously passed a resolutions to approve:

–Revocable Consent for the maintenance, use, and construction of a new stoop and extension of the lowered front lawn at 260 West 73rd St (Broadway–West End Avenue).

–New App Car & Limo, Inc. for the renewal of their For Hire Base Station license.

–New application by Salumeria Rosi at 283 Amsterdam Avenue (West 73rd St) for a two-year liquor license.

–Renewals of unenclosed cafés for both Maison Kayser at 2161 Broadway (West 76th-77th St) and Spice at 975 Amsterdam (West 108th St).

–New applications for unenclosed cafés for both Ella NYC at 249 Columbus Avenue (West 71st-72nd St) and Caledonia at 424 Amsterdam Avenue (West 80th-81st St).

Noting that many of the approvals related to existing restaurants rather than new ones, Business & Consumer Issues Committee Co-Chair Michele Parker put out a call to action for local residents: “Go out to eat and drink, and support your local business.”

ART, NEWS, OUTDOORS | 5 comments | permalink
    1. BillyNYC says:

      It is about time… We need this upgrade

    2. Sherri says:

      The updates and repairs to the stage itself sound great, but what about the inadequacies the concert attendees face? Will those be addressed too? The lines for concessions and bathroom facilities are always painfully long…long enough you often miss a good portion of the show while waiting. It would be great to see them offer more vendors (variety) or at the very least more of the same vendors in different locations so waiting in line for a drink doesn’t take 45 minutes.

      • Bobby says:

        Sherri, not sure how often you attend show at Summer Stage…. and what time during the event you’re going. there’s always lines pre-show and during set break at most venues. During the show, not so much. You start hitting shows enough you figure out the most convenient times to hit the bathroom are sometimes the best parts of the show. But hey, you can still hear everything. Gotta play it smart… pros n cons. But logistically it’s not that bad, at all. It works. And I see tons of music all over the country and used to tour with some bands but whatever. hope it does get better in that department too, sure.

    3. Linda G. says:

      How about spending some of that budget to renovate the horrible restrooms? I’m talking stalls too small to turn around in, stall walls indecently high, ancient fixtures, and all around filth? They’re a disgrace and embarrassment in an otherwise beautiful park.

      • BillyNYC says:

        I’m for doing away with public restrooms you’re dangerous filthy and billions of flu germs not to mention The homeless and the perverts that hang around the Public restrooms. There a disgrace to the city.