2006-04-26 / Editorials

Astoria Park is Perfect Orchestra Summer Home

The New York Philharmonic is seeking a permanent outdoor venue to perform free concerts in summer. Requirements are simple-lawn seating and a good location, possibly along a waterfront.

We point out to the orchestra's administration and to the city officials who have been asked to find it a summer home similar to the Hollywood Bowl, that they need search no further than Astoria Park. The site of waterfront concerts sponsored by the Central Astoria Local Development Coalition for nearly a quarter of a century, the lawn at Astoria Park has demonstrated

its carrying capacity and suitability many times over. At least 15,000 people are handily accommodated at the park for the annual Independence Day concert that kicks off each summer season and the numbers don't drop much during the rest of the two months that the concerts are held. Crowds, no matter how large, fit comfortably and everyone has a good time.

Astoria Park is convenient to public transportation, has more than adequate facilities for concert-going crowds and a number of restaurants and delicatessens

close at hand for those who don't want to bring picnic provender from home. While the existing amenities are more than enough, there's also a possibility that a band shell could be built to give the orchestra a more substantial summer home.

The New York Philharmonic, currently under the baton of Music Director Lorin Maazel, is one of only two orchestras in the United States that lacks a permanent summer home. We suggest one is ready and waiting on the shore of the East River. All the orchestra has to do is move in.

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