Port 'N Starboard to get replacement windows in 2013
New London - When the lights go out after the Jan. 5 "Bash at the Beach," the Port 'N Starboard banquet hall will remain dark for two months.
The bash, hosted for the past six years by former City Councilor Michael Buscetto to benefit youth activities, will be the last event in the hall before a wall of east-facing replacement windows, which offer a panoramic view of the beach and Long Island Sound, will be installed. The steel structures around the windows also need replacing.
"The bad news, which is usually the good news, is the windows face the water,'' said Dave Sugrue, beach manager. "Those windows are like magnets. People are drawn to them as soon as they walk into the room."
But over the years, the steel around the windows in the more than 70-year-old building has eroded, Sugrue said.
The old windows had to remain closed, but the new ones will open, which will allow fresh air to flow through the room, he said.
"It's not surprising we have these problems, that whole side of the building is right on the ocean,'' he said.
The Port 'N Starboard, which can accommodate up to 1,200 guests, will be closed during January and February. But the Pilot House and Nautilus Room will remain open for smaller events, Sugrue said.
The City Council has given conditional approval to spend $220,000 from bond proceeds for the project. The council has to vote on the appropriation two more times before it is official. But Sugrue said he doesn't anticipate any problems.
Last year, for the first time since the beach opened after the 1938 hurricane, the exteriors of the Gam and Port 'N Starboard buildings were overhauled.
The $1.5 million project included refurbishing the buildings, which were designed in the "art moderne" or post-Art Deco style of the 1920s. Centerplate, the firm that manages the beach, paid about $1 million toward the project, and the city, with state and park money, came up with about $450,000.
The cost of the windows was included in the original $1.5 million project. The extra money is needed for the structural repairs.
"It's going to be a huge improvement,'' said Sugrue, adding that the windows also will help constrain heating and air conditioning costs.