Philharmonic Changes Summer Schedule to Relieve Park Grass

Sunday, May 06, 2012 - 08:52 PM

The 13 acres of carefully-manicured Kentucky bluegrass that blanket Central Park’s Great Lawn may get a reprieve this summer when the New York Philharmonic returns for its two summer parks concerts in July.

The orchestra said on Friday that it is moving the dates of its two Central Park concerts closer together in an effort to reduce wear and tear on the Great Lawn. The concerts will take place July 13 and 16, instead of July 12 and 17.

The revised schedule means that the Philharmonic will be able to keep its stage up over the weekend, instead of disassembling it between concerts.

The New York Philharmonic will also play in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on July 11; Cunningham Park, Queens, on July 12; and Van Cortlandt Park, the Bronx, on July 17. The Philharmonic brass will perform a free outdoor concert at the College of Staten Island, CUNY, on July 15.

Last summer, the Philharmonic decided to cancel its parks concerts in favor of other projects, including a free concert with the singer Andrea Bocelli and a 9/11 memorial concert. The Philharmonic pledged to restore the annual series for 2012.

The question of the the Great Lawn's durability has been hotly contested in recent years. In 2004, an anti-war coalition wanted to hold a rally on the lawn during the Republican National Convention. The city denied application for a permit, stating that such a mass gathering would be harmful to the grass and that such damage would make it harder to collect private donations to maintain the park. Courts upheld the refusal.

A 2009 independent study recommended a 55,000-person upper limit on crowds, although an estimated 60,000 fans turned out for a rain-soaked Black Eyed Peas concert on Sept. 30, 2011.

WQXR is a broadcast partner of the New York Philharmonic.

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Comments [3]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

Summer music festivals, especially the al fresco, outdoor, concerts bring families together at events which are moderately if at all expensive, often are free. Many have benefitted greatly from all the institutions that have brought NYC a cultural gem of LIVE performnces of world class. I miss the Lewissohn Stadium, now torn down many years ago, where top performers, pop, folk, and opera singers and instrumentalists pop to classical, had vociferous elated audiences. Same for the Goldman Band concerts at the Band Shell. But world-wide on every continent the summer music festivals are a real treat. Nonetheless nowadays, there are many who disdain providing finances for the arts. When a country considers its culture as too expensive to support, that country reveals its lack of humanity, conscience, and practicality. Culture gives enthusiasm to development and to reaching higher in expectations and in actual achievement. Cultural activities bring in revenue wherever they prosper. I am a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor and the director of the Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, where professional actors are trained for the Shakespeare roles and big-voiced singers are coached in the Wagner roles, voice production and dramaturgy techniques. I have sung in four concerts, three of them three hours-long solo concerts and one concert, a Joint Recital with the dramatic soprano Norma Jean Erdmann, in the main hall of Carnegie Hall, the Isaac Stern Auditorium. My next concert in New York will be on Saturday, June 9th at the YOGA EXPO at the New Yorker Hotel . The title of the concert is 'BRING HIM HOME, with that song from the musical LES MISERABLES, encouraging the return of our armed forces and inspiring hope and love of country with This Land is Your Land, The House I Live In, Climb Every Mountain, You'll Never Walk Alone, The Impossible Dream, Granada, Wien, Wien, nur du allein, When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, Billy Bigelow's Soliiloquy from Carousel,The Impossible Dream [The Quest], Kum Ba Ya, Earth Anthem and 11 other selections.

May. 25 2012 07:12 PM
Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

SAVING THE LAWN is a commendable objective. Having the two concerts in july only a few days apart is a good idea. It should benefit the lawn.

May. 07 2012 08:20 PM
David from Flushing

What New York City needs is a large paved public square--perhaps not as large as Tiananmen Square, but something that could accommodate a very large crowd. The obvious problem is where such a thing would placed. It is unfortunate that the early city planners did not consider a large square for Midtown when it would have been possible to build it.

May. 07 2012 11:51 AM

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