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11.28.2012
Music Island
Brooklyn's Prospect Park restores portion of Olmsted's original design.
Tod Williams and Billie Tsien's Lakeside Center in Prospect Park includes a large water feature for warm months.
Courtesy Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects

On October 19, the Prospect Park Alliance cut the ribbon on the restoration of Music Island and the Esplanade—portions of the original Fredrick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux design that were destroyed in 1960 to make way for Wolman Rink.

The alliance based its restoration efforts on Olmsted and Vaux’s original plans as well as archival photographic analysis and certain pieces of stone and cast iron that were found buried on the site. It removed invasive species of plants while re-excavating the five acre lake. It rebuilt granite walls along the formal part of the esplanade and extended the soft edge with boulders, native trees, shrubs, and aquatic plants. It also restored the radial path system and terrace that once surrounded the lake.

The restored Music Island and formal walkways surrounding the lake.
 

A second phase of construction, currently underway, will add a new 25,000-square-foot facility and two skating rinks designed by Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects and constructed by Sciame. The second phase is scheduled to be completed in December 2013. The rinks will host ice-skating and hockey in the fall and winter and roller skating and a water playground in the spring and summer.

Aaron Seward

 

 
View toward the lake from Prospect Park's Concert Grove in 1930 (left) and the same view today after the restoration (right). 
 
Site plan (above) showing the restored Music Island and the future Lakeside Center ice skating rink (below).