Tavern on the Green Parking Lot to Get ‘Greened’, As Other Park Projects Move Ahead

By Alex Israel

A parking lot next to Tavern on the Green inside Central Park at 67th Street will be transformed into a more public-friendly space, with some sort of greenery. The project, which had originally been slated to start several years from now, has been expedited.

The Central Park Conservancy attended a recent Community Board 7 Parks & Environment Committee meeting to share information about that project, and two others

Following up from a committee appearance in October 2017, Lane Addonizio, Associate VP for Planning at the CPC, laid out some updates to the initial plans for the paved lot next to Tavern on the Green. The lot is part of CPC’s $300 million program of work, which includes a number of other projects to be completed over the next 10 years.

Upon reviewing CB7’s November 2017 resolution, which “strongly urged [CPC] to move permanent ‘greening’ of the former parking lot and conversion of it to park-appropriate uses to the top of its queue,” Addonizio reported that CPC has indeed moved the project up in their list. Initially slated for 2021, it has now been shifted to begin as soon as 2019.

Addonizio said that for the sake of efficiency, CPC is planning to “continue moving on the trajectory” toward a long-term proposal, “rather than get more elaborate with interim solutions.” They will still consider low-cost options that “don’t divert too much energy” from focusing on something permanent, but the plan is to return to the Committee within six months with a real design proposal for the long-term solution.

Terry Andreas, president of the board at 75 Central Park West, which is located directly across the street from the lot, had a simple suggestion. “The neighborhood would like it to be something nice… something green.”

While specifics are still up in the air, options are slightly constrained. Despite protests from local residents, the lot will continue to serve as home to the New York City Marathon Pavilion, which requires a flat surface. According to Addonizio, CPC will be exploring synthetic turf, all-weather play surfaces, additional seating, and horticultural improvements, amongst other options, as part of their proposal.

Klari Neuwelt, Co-Chair of the Parks & Environment Committee, expressed her excitement in the impact CB7 was able to make in pushing the project along. “We seem to have accomplished something here,” she said with a grin. “We’ll be delighted to have you back as soon as you guys are ready.”

Addonizio also introduced two new projects to the committee. One is a $1.6 million refresh of the Safari Playground at West 90th Street. CPC is hoping to receive approval from the Public Design Commission by May 2018, and would ideally kick off the 8-9 month construction project at the end of the summer.

Aiming to maintain the safari theme, major updates include:

–Adding a new ADA compliant route

–Reconstructing and re-grading the steps

–Upgrading the hippo and canoe structures

–Improving the water feature, implementing user-operated ground jets that conserve water

–Lowering the fencing

The other new project is a $3 million restoration of the Merchant’s Gate Comfort Station at West 61st Street. CPC is hoping to receive approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission by May 2018, and is looking to kick off the 6-month project in early summer.

Major updates include:

–Reconfiguring the interior to be ADA compliant

–Converting the station from seasonal to year-round

–Implementing an upgraded irrigation system

The Parks & Environment Committee unanimously passed resolutions approving both of the new projects. These resolutions will be reviewed at the next full Community Board 7 meeting on March 6, 2018.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 10 comments | permalink
    1. BillyNYC says:

      Great move on the green area at Tavern on the Green.
      Never did like that parking lot and it should be a garden with fountains/benches…would be preferred as a quiet area for reading and laptops.

    2. Wendy says:

      why don’t they spent $10k of that money and put in ADEQUATE, easily accessible, permanent bike racks up by the Harlem Meer and Lasker Pool?

      • EagleEye says:

        Wendy, Have you formally requested this? If so what was the response? Please send me a map with the locations you want indicated. Thanks.

    3. Stef Lev says:

      While I can see the preference from your perspective, isn’t Central Park a large enough green area for 75 CPW to look over and aren’t there more pressing park projects that should have priority over the Tavern on the Green parking lot, such as expanded tree maintenance?!

    4. Ish Kabibble says:

      And the Bull Moose Dog Run project, approved YEARS ago, and one that effects the health and well being of not only our furry friends, but humans as well, continues to be put off. Guess it’s just not as glamorous as the Tavern on the Green.


    5. Jonathan says:

      I’m all for playground renovations but how on earth do a few minor tweaks to the Safari playground cost 1.6MM?

      We could have so much more in this city if we could get some grip on insane runaway construction expenses.

    6. Mary Smith says:

      How about a small paved area for young children to learn to ride a bike or scooter-or another green space that will be covered in broken glass before long or fenced off where we are not able to access….

    7. David T. says:

      I think the idea of greening up that dreadful parking lot is brilliant. Why should one overpriced restaurant have the advantage of a surrounding parking lot in the heart of a wonderful urban park? I’ve always thought it was a tasteless waste of space.

    8. Mark Moore says:

      There’s no reason Tavern should have ever had a parking lot in Central Park. It’s ridiculous.