The interim redesign of Ninth Avenue and 14th Street is done. Tables, chairs, planters and some of those giant granite blocks from DOT’s Bridges Division have been set out as multipurpose bollard-bench-tables atop a gravelly, earth-tone pavement surface.
What was very recently one of the longest and most hectic pedestrian crossings in Manhattan, and no treat for drivers, cyclists or nearby businesses, is suddenly a place where you can sit down and enjoy a Fat Witch brownie from the Chelsea Market after a busy morning of couture shopping at Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. And soon you’ll be able to get there via New York City’s on-street, parking-protected "cycle track." As Danish urban designer Jan Gehl says, "How nice is it to wake up every morning and know that your city is a little bit better than it was the day before."
If DOT’s new plazas on Willoughby and Pearl Streets in Brooklyn are any indication, the demand for this type of public space is huge and it’s going to be a hit with lunchtime and evening crowds regardless of the proximity to busy traffic. Word has it the granite blocks and tables on the south side of 14th Street were already seeing heavy use on Tuesday evening at around 11:00 pm. Meat Market Plaza seems to be particularly popular with the smokers, banished, as they are, from the city’s indoor spaces. Get ready to clean some cigarette butts out of the planters.
We’d love to get more photos of people using the new plaza spaces. If you’re in the area, snap ’em and send ’em to firstname.lastname@example.org.