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City Breaks Ground on Expansion and Upgrade of Snug Harbor Music Hall in Staten Island

Facility to become ADA accessible

May 31, 2019

DDC: Shoshana Khan, 718-391-1251,

DCLA: Ryan Max, 212-513-9323,

(Staten Island, NY - May 31,2019) The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) joined elected officials and other local dignitaries today to break ground on a $19.5 million expansion and upgrade of the Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center on the north shore of Staten Island. The project, which is scheduled to be completed in summer 2021, is funded by DCLA and managed by DDC.


A rendering of the coming addition to the Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island (Courtesy of Studio Joseph)

“Visitors and performers from around the world will have an enhanced theater experience with the expansion and upgrades to the existing building,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “DDC and DCLA are in various phases of design and construction for a series of projects at Snug Harbor, and we are honored to contribute to the history of this historic location and valuable cultural resource.”

“The City is proud to invest in this major renovation and upgrade of the landmark Snug Harbor Music Hall,” said DCLA Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “As one of the oldest performance spaces in the City, the Music Hall embodies New Yorkers’ long tradition of engaging with the arts. 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.”

“Snug Harbor’s historic Music Hall is beloved in our community, and we’re excited to partner with Studio Joseph Architects, the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and the NYC Department of Design and Construction on this incredible project,” said Snug Harbor President and CEO Aileen Fuchs. “This renovation will help us serve our diverse visitors and community with dynamic programming in the arts for years to come.”

“The Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center is a huge community asset,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo. “This project strives to make the historic Music Hall and its programming even stronger through enhanced accessibility and facilities, including an expanded stage and restored orchestra pit. I look forward to its completion when Staten Islanders and visitors alike can enjoy high quality performances at this landmarked theater, which is the second oldest in the city.”


DDC, DCLA, Snug Harbor and local elected officials break ground on the expansion and renovation of the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall

“More than a century ago, visionaries designed and built this magnificent Music Hall here at Snug Harbor on Staten Island. Today, we take a step toward fully realizing their promise and vision by ensuring that future generations will have the opportunity to enjoy a diverse selection of artistic performances in this historic venue,” said Council Member Deborah Rose. “We will expand and modernize the Music Hall, while ensuring people of all abilities have access to it and that it meets tomorrow’s sustainability standards. I thank everyone who has worked on this award-winning project, and I look forward to returning for a future ribbon cutting.”

“Snug Harbor is one of the best hidden gems this City has to offer. The cultural opportunities at this site are endless, and the expansion of the Music Hall will only continue the destination's success,” said State Senator Diane Savino. “I am thrilled for the Snug Harbor and Staten Island family for this momentous event.”

“I would like to extend my gratitude for the leadership of Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, Commissioner Lorraine Grillo, NYC Department of Design and Construction and Aileen Fuchs, President and CEO of Snug Harbor Music Hall for capital funding and designing the expansion of Snug Harbor Music Hall of Staten Island,” said Assemblyman Charles Fall. “Snug Harbor Music Hall is cultural entertainment beacon for the diverse communities that reside in and around the North Shore of Staten Island. Most commendable is the upgrades that will make the facility more accessible and meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). I look forward to reviewing first-hand the progress of the renovation in the next couple years.”

The landmarked, 686-seat Snug Harbor Music Hall was built in 1892 and is the second oldest music hall in the northeastern United States. The building will receive a 6,974-square-foot extension comprised of two levels that will have a low-profile design so as to not visually overwhelm the historic exterior of the Hall.

The lower level of the extension will house two large multi-station dressing rooms, a private dressing room, restrooms and equipment storage. The main level will contain a loading dock, stage door, equipment storage room, restroom, sound and light lock between the stage and loading dock, pantry, backstage room, extra wing space for the stage, two offices and a flex area to be used as a greenroom, meeting area or reception space. Access between the extension and the existing Music Hall will include a flex space that can be used as an additional dressing room, warm-up room or a greenroom.

The existing Music Hall building will receive upgrades including underpinning at the cellar level to stabilize the foundation and prevent it from shifting. Waterproofing will be installed to prevent water infiltration. A new sprinkler system and fire alarms will be added to increase safety. Additionally, the two sets of exterior stairs leading to the balcony will receive a de-icing system to be used during cold weather.

Inside, the stage will be extended and the orchestra pit will be restored to its original condition. Operational efficiency and flexibility will be maximized by creating a larger swing space for flats and theater backdrops. Audio and lighting will be upgraded. All work will be performed in a way that is sensitive to the existing historically significant features. 

The building will also be upgraded to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The project is anticipated to meet the requirements for LEED Silver certification as the Hall’s addition was designed to incorporate energy efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning. Plumbing fixtures are water efficient and many of the materials that will be used contain recycled content.

The project received the Public Design Commission’s (PDC) award for Excellence in Design in 2016 as an example of innovative and thoughtful design at one of the City’s civic spaces.

DDC has previously received several other awards for work at Snug Harbor. The $24.4 million Staten Island Museum renovation and expansion, Building A at Snug Harbor, was completed in September 2015 and was the first historic landmark building on Staten Island to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The project also received two awards in 2016, including the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) NY/NJ Project of the Year Honorable Mention and The New York Landmarks Conservancy Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award for Excellence in Historical Restoration.

The project was designed by Studio Joseph and will be built by NSP Enterprises, Inc.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $12 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit

About the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs
The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves nonprofit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs.