Earlier this week, Prospect Park gave a sneak preview tour of Lakeside Center, the $74 million year-round recreation facility under construction on a restored section of the lake. Twenty-six acres of parkland were restored to Olmsted and Vaux's original grandeur, much of which was changed or built upon when the Wolman Rink was constructed in 1960. Five acres of the lake's organic shoreline have been restored, as well as the original ornamental retaining walls and ironwork. One of the coolest restored features is "Music Island," a small oasis in the middle of the lake where musicians used to play for the crowds on the shore. Music Island and the revitalized esplanade will be opening in October.
The old rink has been removed, and two new rinks, which will be operational in all seasons, were built within the landscape. The above photo shows one of the rinks in front of the new building. Below, you can see the restored "Music Island" in the water to the right, and the under-construction center is in the background. You can also see the ornamental wall, which will be topped with a decorative iron railing.
Architects Tod Williams & Billie Tsien designed the building, which will open in late fall 2013, and the esplanade and restored lake shore will open this October, more than four years after the design plans were first revealed. Here is a painting of the original area, which is what they were trying to recreate:
· Hard Hat Tour of Lakeside Center [NYLC Facebook]