Snug Harbor Cultural Center

Preservation League of New York State Landscape Preservation Award
Preservation League of Staten Island Preservation Award

Snug Harbor Cultural Center, located on the Staten Island waterfront, was developed in the 19th century as the nation’s first home for retired sailors. It is one of the country’s finest collections of Greek Revival buildings set in a historic landscape. Today it includes a visual arts center, botanic garden, a children’s museum, art galleries, a museum of history, arts and sciences, a performing arts complex, and a botanic garden.

Quennell Rothschild & Partners’ master plan for this 83‑acre historic campus was carried out under a joint contract with NYC Parks, Cultural Affairs and General Services departments. The plan included extensive historical research and a comprehensive physical survey of the site and its waterfront. The firm coordinated the participation of user groups, and prepared a restoration and redevelopment plan.

The plan created a unified open space system featuring a 1,500 foot long great lawn terminating in a large outdoor performance meadow. Other elements of the plan include restoration of the historically significant landscape and waterfront, creation of a new pedestrian and vehicular circulation system, new entries, a ferry terminal and waterfront promenade, and the construction of new botanical exhibits, as well as active recreation areas, public gardens, play areas, and restoration of paths and historic landscape features.

As part of the phased implementation of the master plan QR&P designed waterfront improvements for the 3,000 foot long shoreline on New York harbor that includes a new waterfront esplanade linked with adjacent waterfront trails, new access points from the waterfront to the main complex that include steps, ramps and overlook terraces, and a new ferry landing facility which has made the Center more accessible for visitors from other New York City boroughs.

Quennell Rothschild & Partners also completed restoration of the Neptune Fountain, a historic fountain originally constructed in 1898.  This project involved reconstruction of a 60‑foot diameter cast iron fountain basin, with a statue of Neptune at its center, as well as the replication of surrounding historic site elements.

The work involved extensive historical research to determine the original design of missing fountain elements and the methods of construction. The fountain basin was rebuilt, the original cast iron panels re‑installed, and missing elements were replicated. A new fountain mechanical system was designed using modern engineering techniques to recreate the original water displays. The work also included new walks, planting and lighting, which recreated the original design of the surrounding areas. The project has won awards from both state and local Preservation Leagues.

  • Neptune Fountain_01