2020 has been quite the year – not only for Caramoor, but for the world. During these times, when the Caramoor staff is working from home like so many of you, we are building the Caramoor community in new and exciting ways and taking comfort from the words of our founders Walter and Lucie Rosen.
“We built a home, my husband and I, not to be old or new, just to be beautiful. And we built it for music.” – Lucie Bigelow Rosen
The Caramoor estate has seen many evolutions over the decades, from a gentleman’s farm, to a family country retreat, to a vibrant community member and renowned arts center. But the overarching vision of the Rosens was that Caramoor was to be a home for music and an oasis of comfort.
“It would seem to be the purpose of Caramoor that men will pause here, from all kinds of business, to think and dream, to feel joy and pity and hope for humankind.”
– Lucie Bigelow Rosen
While New York State is on PAUSE, bringing to a halt non-essential travel, our thoughts turn to those times when we can travel and gather at Caramoor again. To that end, we thought it would be important to let you know about the construction progress that was made in the past few months. Click here for an earlier installment of the blog updating on past construction.
February and March of 2020 were quite busy. We were most fortunate that the weather cooperated so that our construction partners could make important strides before the state shut down construction deemed non-essential.
Work in February and March included:
- Stone Walls: The stone wall work was completed on Center Walk and around the new Entry Circle
- Pavers in progress: More of the handsome new pavers were installed. The pathways now extend from the Center Walk into the Venetian Theater Circle, by the new Box Office and new Venetian Theater entrance, in front of the bathrooms to create a new, expanded patio waiting area, and toward the South Gate Path. The wider paths will allow more traffic and will have no stairs. These permeable pavers allow for water to drain through the cracks, which is environmentally friendly!
- Venetian Theater Entrance: The pillars were poured for the new large entrance gates into the Venetian Theater (on the north side).
- Lighting: Almost all of the new lighting posts were installed along Center Walk, in the Rosen House parking lot, and Venetian Theater walkways.
- Storm Drainage: A storm drain system was put in to help mitigate rain runoff.
- Conduit: Additional conduit was laid to carry fiber, electricity, and other infrastructure to enable us to produce concerts throughout the grounds.
- New Venetian Theater Box Office: Additional build-out included work on the doors, gates, interior fixtures, and painting.
- Backstage at the Venetian Theater: Work continued backstage to better support the artists and tech crew.
- Girdle Ridge Road Main Entrance: As part of our campus facelift, we have undertaken work to refresh our main Girdle Ridge Road entrance. As part of that work, the stone walls are undergoing a long-overdue restoration effort. Future work will include landscaping, signage, and other improvements.
One of the more exciting developments in March was the installation of the first group of striking new teak benches. As part of the campus upgrades, Caramoor has invested in a number of new distinctly designed benches, placed throughout the walkways and new outdoor areas for audience comfort, conversation, and contemplation.
As we developed our campus-wide seating plans, it was necessary to look at durable, low-maintenance materials that could survive the seasonal elements and last for years to come. Since Caramoor is also investing in garden designs that contribute to the ecological restoration of our landscapes, it was also important for us to look for sustainable, environmentally minded companies to provide this important element. These benches are being fabricated by Diamond Teak, a company known for producing hand-crafted teak furniture using sustainable, plantation-grown materials, and environmentally friendly methods.
Teak is a tropical hardwood known for its durability and water resistance, and is sustainably harvested by Diamond Teak at their plantations in Costa Rica. As a company, Diamond Teak was founded by Kevin and Christine Yardley in an effort to protect the environment in an entrepreneurial way. The company adheres to internationally-recognized environmental principles and works with organizations to certify the sustainable sourcing of the wood.
Diamond Teak is very invested in the ecology and economy of Costa Rica. Per their website:
… Costa Rica had some of the fastest deforestation rates in the world, so there was a desperate need to offset this environmental destruction. “The reforestation effort in Costa Rica has done a great deal of good,” explains Kevin Yardley. “But if you look at El Salvador or Haiti, countries that are 99% deforested, they have little prospects . . . A country without trees has no future,” he states. The Yardleys’ environmental spirit led them to envision a way to protect the environment while creating jobs to empower the local community. According to the Costa Rican Ministry of Natural Resources, Diamond Teak is having a positive impact in Costa Rica through their reforestation efforts.
We are so pleased to grow this partnership with Diamond Teak. Not only do they plant their own trees, but now we do too.
While it’s never easy to say goodbye to the familiar trees and bushes which have been part of the landscape at Caramoor over many years, “to every thing there is a season.” Over the last few years, much of the canopy of Caramoor has been shaped by the loss of injured or aged trees. Between ice-storms, high winds, disease, or simply age, it has been necessary to trim back or completely take down many of these trees. As we designed new vehicular and pedestrian traffic ways, it also became clear that additional trees needed to be removed. However, this provides Caramoor with an exciting opportunity to not only create key landscaping design areas and shading, but to be able to integrate more native specimens back into our landscape.
Just as all the construction work came to a halt, Caramoor saw the delivery of the first of the native trees – many lushly blooming in beautiful pastels. While the campus is quiet for now, they are being carefully tended by the essential Caramoor staffers who make their homes on the estate.
Despite this temporary construction “pause,” we look forward to sharing more about campus renovations in the months ahead. Our thanks must be extended once again to our dedicated partners, including project managers Andron Construction, Pecord Excavating, and Lospoto Landscaping, Inc. who made tremendous strides to keep schedules on target. As the state mandated work-stop orders came through, their teams hustled to move projects forward and to secure the worksite and equipment in a safe and orderly manner. We thank them all very much for their efforts and hope to be able to see them again very soon. We actually miss the symphony of sounds (cacophony of noise) that the dump trucks, backhoes, excavators, and work equipment brought to the backdrop of our ‘normal’ office workdays.
We hope, in some small way, that these words and pictures give you comfort, not only that Caramoor is planning for the future, but that we have done so thoughtfully and carefully. We have thought of what the Rosens had done in the past and have taken their words to heart.
“If we ever expand at Caramoor, it shouldn’t be merely to make the things we already have any bigger. It should be, rather, by adding new things. … But everything should be in some sort of proportion. It should all fit with the grand plan, to make Caramoor a kind of refuge for people who really care about things. I’m sure it will all go much further than it ever can in my lifetime.” — Lucie Bigelow Rosen
All of us at Caramoor hope that you and yours continue to stay well and sheltered at home. Until we welcome you back to campus and greet you at the Rosen House or concert venue gates again, we will continue to provide updates via our weekly e-blasts [sign up here!] and through our various social media channels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
We know we’ve said it before, but Thank You for your patience and for paying attention to our important construction-related and campus closing messaging. We want you to enjoy a visit to Caramoor whenever it is deemed safe to do so. Please continue to visit our website for the most up-to-date information about the continually evolving situation.