Overlook Pavilion Update

On April 27, 2011, the long awaited reopening of the newly restored overlook pavilion across the street from Grant’s Tomb finally took place as part of the day’s Grant birthday commemoration. Adorned with red, white, and blue bunting and ribbon, the spruced up neoclassical structure was in brilliant form - a stark contrast to the state of disrepair that had character-ized the site over the preceding four decades.

The brief reopening ceremony began at 10 a.m. in the presence of a crowd that included student groups, community leaders, and members of the Grant family. Following remarks by National Park Service Public Affairs Officer Darren Boch, National Parks of New York Harbor Commissioner Maria Burks, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, and Community Board 9 Chairperson Larry English, the ribbon across the overlook was cut and the
pavilion was officially open to the public.

The event marks a welcome development and a new chapter in the history of Grant’s Tomb. For years, the site had suffered from the lack of restrooms, which were provided in the lower level of the facility for the approximately half a century it was in use following its construction in 1910. Over the years, the Tomb itself came to house a gift shop and exhibits of a temporary nature—several historical panels with text and photos and display cases with artifacts —that were widely considered to detract from the reverent atmosphere originally intended for the Tomb. Those have now been moved to the lower level of the overlook, except for the historical exhibit panels, which have been replaced entirely and located in a new presentation room in the pavilion that has audio-visual equipment and seating for groups. In the back of that room, the largest in the facility, sit the display cases, including a model


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