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The NY Sun has a great article about a few of NYC's open performances spaces by critic Francis Morrone. Most people love outdoor venues unconditionally, but the article is thought-provoking in terms of how these spaces should work with their environments. Various bandshells are mentioned, such as Seuffert Bandshell in Queens and the Prospect Park Bandshell in Brooklyn, but one Central Park institution gets a serious dressing-down.

The problem with many of our city's outdoor performance venues is that they've been dumped into inappropriate settings — and have been designed with little or no sensitivity to those settings. A prime example is the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, which is home to "Shakespeare in the Park." Originally, this series was begun by Joseph Papp, not in Central Park, but in East River Park on the Lower East Side. Like Naumburg, the book publisher George T. Delacorte thought he was doing something good for the city he loved when he made a series of benefactions to Central Park: the Delacorte Clock, the Alice in Wonderland sculpture, and the Delacorte Theater. Fine though each of these is individually, none has anything to do with the park. The theater was built in 1962, and was intended to be temporary, but instead was renovated in 1976. It is unfortunately infelicitous in its setting. Who thought that a modern theater could play nice with Vaux's enchanting Belvedere Castle? No one thought about that.The park was viewed as a big empty place just crying to have things like bandshells and theaters dumped in it. That such things are popular cannot be denied. A city, after all, gets what it deserves.

In the words of Heidi Klum, "Dayum!" We also like how Morrone calls Lincoln Center's Guggenheim Bandshell in Damrosch Park "a vaguely Moorish-looking thing."

Photograph of the Corlears Hook Pavilion bandshell from Bluejake