Met Museum Will Renovate Fifth-Ave Plaza


New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is getting a facelift.

The museum has announced that the four-block-long outdoor plaza that runs in front of its landmark Fifth Avenue facade from 80th to 84th Streets will be redesigned. The monumental front steps will remain untouched. Work may begin as early as this fall, and the museum anticipates completion by summer of 2014.

Landscape architects and urban design and planning firm OLIN, which has studios in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, will be the lead design consultant for the project.

Not having been renovated in 40 years, the plaza is due for a rehab, since seating, paving and the fountains have aged beyond repair. New, more environmentally beneficial trees will replace the ones currently in place, which are dying. More energy-efficient, diffused nighttime lighting is also part of the redesign plan. The 1970s-vintage fountains on the plaza, which are leaky, will be replaced with much larger versions.

Also included in the plan are two museum-run kiosks offering information and refreshments. As reported in the New York Times, the NYPD cracked down in 2009 on numerous vendors, many of them disabled veterans, who maintained food carts in front of the museum but were said to be outside legal regulations. “The legal status of the vendors is murky,” the Times reported, and involves a 19th-century law regarding veterans’ rights to operate food concessions.

Sure to attract the attention of the Occupy Wall Street crowd is the fact that, although it won’t be named for him, the entire project is underwritten by museum trustee and arts philanthropist David H. Koch, a significant contributor to the Tea Party.

Rendering Courtesy OLIN.