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SILive: NYC invests $3.4M to renovate the city’s second oldest music hall at Snug Harbor

By Giavanni Alves | [email protected]

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — As part of a record breaking investment in New York City’s arts and culture, the city Department of Cultural Affairs has allocated $3.4 million in capital funding for the restoration of Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Gardens’ historic music hall in Livingston.

Mayor Eric Adams and Cultural Affairs Department Commissioner Laurie Cumbo gathered with Staten Island Borough President Vito Fossella, State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island/South Brooklyn), Snug Harbor administrators and community members to share the funding announcement and tour the music hall, which is under construction, on Wednesday.

As the second oldest music hall in the city, built in 1892, Snug Harbor’s facility is at the center of the city’s long history of arts and culture.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
The Snug Harbor Music Hall is tarped as Mayor Adams and the Department of Cultural Affairs announce a $3.4 million investment at a press conference on Wednesday July 13, 2022.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

(Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

The $3.4 million is part of a total $222 million in capital funding allocated in the fiscal year 2023 adopted budget – from the mayor, City Council and borough presidents – to invest in more than 70 cultural groups across the city.

“The heart and soul of the city is in our cultural institutions,” Adams said. “Culture was a lifeline for all of us during the last two years, so my administration is committed to giving our incredible cultural institutions the support they need to thrive.”

Other cultural fixtures on the Island, such as the St. George Theatre, Noble Maritime Museum, Staten Island Zoo and Staten Island Museum will also benefit from the historic investment.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
Mayor Adams and the Department of Cultural Affairs announce a $3.4 million investment in the Snug Harbor Music Hall at a press conference on Wednesday July 13, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

“I’m proud of our investments in Snug Harbor and across Staten Island, and to give our cultural groups the public support they deserve. Together, we can drive a comeback for our city that connects with all New Yorkers,” they mayor added.

The press conference was part of Cumbo’s five-borough tour to celebrate the city’s largest investment in the cultural Affairs Department ever, and to highlight Adams’ commitment to supporting New York City’s arts and culture.

“Staten Island is home to so many incredible cultural institutions, and we’re proud to deliver the support they need to create cultural facilities that engage Staten Islanders and attract visitors from across the city and beyond,” Cumbo said, noting she recently became a Staten Island resident.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
Laurie Cumbo, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Mayor Eric Adams announce a $3.4 million investment in the Snug Harbor Music Hall at a press conference on Wednesday July 13, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

“Along with new funding for Snug Harbor’s extraordinary music hall, we’re stepping up to invest in capital projects in all five boroughs to foster a more equitable, inclusive, vibrant cultural sector for all New Yorkers,” she added.

MODERNIZATION OF THE MUSIC HALL

The first phase of the Music Hall building’s modernization, which began in 2019, includes the design and construction of a 6,974-square foot addition—the Music Hall Annex—that is expected to be completed later this year. The new space will allow Snug Harbor to provide an array of programming to the public.

The $3.4 million in funding will support the next phase of the music hall’s transformation, including installing Wi-Fi, underpinning the cellar level to stabilize the stage house foundation, upgrades to the HVAC system to comply with pandemic guidelines and new seating. The building’s accessibility will also be updated to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Fossella, who allocated $430,000 of the $3.4 million toward Snug Harbor’s music hall, also thanked Adams for “once again delivering for the people of Staten Island.” He also encouraged visitors to venture beyond the Museum Mile in Manhattan to other boroughs and experience gems, such as Snug Harbor.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
Laurie Cumbo, Commisioner the Department of Cultural Affairs jokes with Mayor Eric Adams and Borough President Vito Fossella as they announce a $3.4 million investment in the Snug Harbor Music Hall in a press conference on Wednesday July 13, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

“We’re here to remind everybody, not just across New York City and State but throughout the world, that when you come to New York City, go to the outer boroughs, and you’ll be amazed at what you see and the people you will meet,” Fossella said.

Snug Harbor CEO and President Jessica Vodoor, thanked the officials for their contributions and support, saying that the organization was “enormously grateful” and “deeply honored” to receive the support. The fiscal year 2023 capital funding also includes a $6 million allocation for a critical storm water and resiliency project to protect the Snug Harbor campus from potential flooding issues.

“Thank you for fighting to ensure five boroughs access to culture through your investment in Staten Island. Thank you for recognizing that the significant role that these Staten Island cultural organizations play in our local community and in New York City at large,” Vodoor said.

She said to celebrate the “historic collaboration” Snug Harbor will be offering a new discovery pass at the end of this month.

“For the first time ever, an adult visitor will now be able to purchase a single visitor ticket, which will allow them access to the Staten Island Museum, the Noble Maritime Collection, the New House Center For Contemporary Art, the New York Chinese Scholars Garden, as well as our 14 beautiful botanical gardens,” Vodoor said.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
State Sen. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/Brooklyn) speaks as Mayor Eric Adams looks on as the Department of Cultural Affairs announce a $3.4 million investment in the Snug Harbor Music Hall at a press conference on Wednesday July 13, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

Savino also shared remarks at the press conference, referring to Snug Harbor as a “crown jewel” of the North Shore and borough.

“There are some amazing places in the outer boroughs and there is no place like Snug Harbor, not just because of the museums but because of its beautiful grounds,” she said pointing out the farm and Botanical Gardens.

Savino said that all of Staten Island’s representatives at various levels of government are “committed to this patch of land because we understand its history and its potential.”

“This is another step along the way of reaching the potential of Snug Harbor,” she added. “It’s a great day for Snug Harbor for its past, its present and its future.”

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
Mayor Adams and the Department of Cultural Affairs announce a $3.4 million investment in the Snug Harbor Music Hall in a press conference on Wednesday July 13, 2022. L-R: Rachel Somma, communications manager, Staten Island Museum; Jessica Vodoor, CEO/president, Snug Harbor; Mayor Eric Adams; NYC Dept. Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo; Ciro Galeno, executive director, Noble Maritime Museum; Vincent Innocente, director of marketing and audience services, St. George Theatre. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall

Participants in the Summer Youth Empowerment Program (SYEP), representatives from the St. George Theatre, Noble Maritime Museum, Staten Island Zoo and Staten Island Museum, as well as the offices of Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/South Brooklyn) and City Councilmember Kamillah Hanks (D-North Shore) were also in attendance on Wednesday.

Mayor and Dept of Cultural Affairs announce $3.5 investment in Snug Harbor Music Hall
Mayor Adams speaks to Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) participants at Snug Harbor on Wednesday July 13, 2022. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)