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Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall will expand programming after $19.5M renovation

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is adding a $19.5 million annex and doing a major renovation to its music hall, which will be open to the public in the summer of 2021. Photo Credit: Studio Joseph Architects

Staten Island’s Snug Harbor, home to the second-oldest music hall in the city, is looking to accommodate larger productions and events by 2021.

Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is adding a $19.5 million annex and doing a major renovation to its music hall, which will be open to the public in the summer of 2021.
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden is adding a $19.5 million annex and doing a major renovation to its music hall, which will be open to the public in the summer of 2021. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Scott Heins

The second-oldest music hall in New York City is undergoing a major renovation that will bring it into the 21st century.

Built in 1892, the Music Hall at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center on Staten Island isn’t ADA compliant or able to accommodate larger modern performances and events. But with $19.5 million in funding from the city, changes are now underway.

The Music Hall, the oldest in the city after Carnegie Hall according to nyc-arts.org, shuttered on May 31 and is slated to reopen during summer 2021. Among the renovations to the landmarked space is a new, 7,000-square-foot annex, which will include dressing rooms, a flex space for a green room, a loading dock, a new stage door, new offices, two additional restrooms, a sound and light lock between the loading dock and stage, a community room, and more, according to Snug Harbor officials.

"Aship, Aground, Anew" by artist Saul Becker will be visible through the annex's clear glass walls.
"Aship, Aground, Anew" by artist Saul Becker will be visible through the annex’s clear glass walls. Photo Credit: Studio Joseph Architects

Inside the annex, there will also be a work by Saul Becker, which will stretch across an entire wall inside the stairwell, between the first and second floors. 

Dubbed "Aship Aground Anew," the painting depicts an 18th-century shipwreck with trees growing out of the hull, meant to represent the area’s maritime community and traditions. The artwork won an Award for Excellence in Design from the Public Design Commission in 2018.

In addition to the new annex, the orchestra pit will also become ADA compliant so that everyone will be able to take part in the Music Hall’s programming, which will be expanded thanks to the upgrades, Snug Harbor officials say. Studio Joseph Architects is behind the new building design and the changes to the Music Hall.

"This renovation will help us serve our diverse visitors and community with dynamic programming in the arts for years to come," said Aileen Fuchs, Snug Harbor’s president and CEO, in a statement. 

NYC Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl said the city is investing in the renovation because of its long history and its need to grow with the community.

"As one of the oldest performance spaces in the city, the Music Hall embodies New Yorkers’ long tradition of engaging with the arts," he said. "With these improvements making it more accessible for people with disabilities and more accommodating of contemporary performing artists, this crucial investment will ensure that this facility welcomes audiences from Staten Island and beyond for generations to come."

Shaye Weaver