Eyes on the Street: The Petrosino Square Renaissance

petrosino_park.jpgPetrosino Square has nearly doubled in size. Photo: Elizabeth Press.

SoHo’s Petrosino Square was one of the first places identified by the New York City Streets Renaissance as a prime candidate for pedestrian reclamation. The western edge of the square, defined by Lafayette Street, used to give way abruptly to an inexplicable expanse of asphalt. No longer. At a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday, officials unveiled a new Petrosino. The square now extends 20 feet farther into Lafayette Street and 156 feet closer to Spring Street on the north. Stay tuned for a report from Streetfilms’ Robin Urban Smith. (City Room also has a nice recap and great historical background on the square’s namesake, Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino, a trailblazing New York City police officer murdered by the Sicilian mafia while on assignment in Palermo, Italy 100 years ago.)

We have a few still shots for now, and some archival footage of the old Petrosino from the Streetfilms vault, featuring Streetsblog publisher Mark Gorton and Project for Public Spaces’ Ethan Kent. Yes, they filmed this just four years ago:

After the jump, a shot from Robin showing the square’s spiffy new bike parking.

petrosino_bike_parking.jpgA view of the new Petrosino from Spring Street.

  • Are they going to restore the bike lane on Lafayette here?

  • I agree Mike, we need restoration of the bike lane for the first block of Lafayette (and continue it south on Centre to Worth while you’re at it, DoT!).

    This little spot is so strategically located at the epicenter of fashionable loitering that I expect 24/7 SRO conditions.

  • Absolutely

    Just imagine if NYC continues at the rate it is going! There is no looking back.

  • Glenn

    It would be interesting to track some vital statistics over time to see the impact like how many automobile lane miles does the city have over time…

  • poncho

    How many other little triangular squares like this are there in NYC? I know of Herald & Christopher

  • LN

    What a coincidence, tomorrow at John Jay College, there’s a symposium on Petrosino — all you ever wanted to know about him will be revealed tomorrow:

    10/15/2009 2:00-5:00 PM
    Admission is FREE.

    Senior Vice President Robert M. Pignatello, Office of Finance & Administration

    Honorable Francesco Maria Talò , Consul General of Italy in New York

    Anthony J. Tamburri, Dean, The John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, QueensCollege


    Det. Joseph Petrosino
    The New Sicily: One Hundred Years After His Death

    A Symposium to Celebrate His Life and Work and the Annual Italian American Heritage Day Celebration at John Jay College

    Speakers include:

    Dr. Pietro Grasso , Anti-mafia Chief Prosecutor
    The Fight Against New Mafias: Successes and Failures

    Prof. Learco Saporito, Esq., Vice President, Court of Administrative Justice and National President of the A.N.F.E.

    Fr. Luigi Ciotti , President of Libera
    Confiscation of Mafia Lands as Opportunity for Growth and Economic Development

    Dott. Ivan Lo Bello,
    President of Confindustria Sicilia
    The Anti-Mafia Role of Confindustria Sicily

    Prof. Marcello Saija , University of Messina
    Joe Petrosino: Biography of a Heroin the Fight Against the Mafia

    George Grasso, First Deputy Police Commissioner-NYPD
    NYPD and its techniques to fight organized crime

    Joseph Guccione, US Marshal Department of Justice, Southern District of New York

    The fight against organized crime at the federal level and at the international level together with Italy

    Lt. Petrosino, was an Italian immigrant who, in the early 1900’s became one of NYC’s most well-known detectives. From 1894-1909 Petrosino headed the Italian Squad, a special unit of NYPD responsible for investigating crime in the Italian communities of New York City.He was assassinated in Sicily.

    Location Information:
    Location Information:
    John Jay College of Criminal Justice
    T-Building – Haaren Hall (View Map)
    899 10th Avenue
    New York, NY 10019
    Room: Gerald W. Lynch Theater

  • Mike (in #1): I’m almost positive that’s the plan. I’ve seen all the drawings and I’m pretty sure that I’d have noticed if the bike lane was removed. We really pushed for the park to reclaim roadbed in this project.

    One thing that it appears that Parks could not get past the Art Commission was bollards. We (the CB – particularly the CB2 Parks Cmte) were very concerned about the broad, welcoming pedestrian ramp in the SE corner of the redesigned park, where Centre St. meets Kenmare (and the flood of cars trying to race from the Williamsburg Br. to the Holland Tunnel). We have misgivings that at some point we’ll see a car entering the park up that ramp, leaving a trail of destruction. And then we’ll say, “told you so.”


Petrosino Square to Expand Into Lafayette Street

Alan Gerson extolls the value of using underutilized traffic lanes for park space, with Friends of Petrosino Square founder Georgette Fleischer, Parks Borough Commissioner Bill Castro and CB 2 Chair Brad Hoylman  Manhattan Community Board 2 member Ian Dutton reports that this morning city officials held a groundbreaking for the renovation of Petrosino Square. As […]

New Bike Lanes and Sharrows Lead to the Brooklyn Bridge

This new buffered bike lane begins at Petrosino Square at Lafayette Street and Spring Street and heads southbound all the way down to Duane Street on the way to the Brooklyn Bridge. Along the way you’ll find quite a few bike boxes and sharrows, new bike safety tools in the Department of Transportation street design […]

Eyes on the Street: Driver Shatters Storefront on Lafayette

We’re still filling in the details on this one, but here’s a look at the Gold + Williams furniture storefront on Lafayette and Kenmare in SoHo this afternoon. It looks like the driver kept going straight on westbound Kenmare, even though the street ends. This block is very close to Streetsblog HQ and gets a […]

Today’s Headlines

Judge Shoots Down Petrosino Square Citi Bike Suit; Walden Vows Appeal (Post) Bloomberg: The Biggest Problem With Public Plazas Is There Aren’t More Of Them (CapNY) Feds Will Help Fund MTA Subway Storm-Proofing, Says Cuomo (Post) Bloomberg Says Citi Bike Isn’t Profitable Yet (Post, News) A Five-Point Case for NYC Residential Parking Permits From Tri-State (MTR) […]

Gerson Looks to Rein In Runaway Safety Improvements

Not long ago, Alan Gerson spoke in favor of giving pedestrians more space at Petrosino Square. Alan Gerson’s office has more on what we suspected was a bill intended to give the Lower Manhattan City Council member and his colleagues more power over DOT implementation of new bike infrastructure. Judging by this comment from Gerson […]

Judge Rejects Plaza Hotel’s Citi Bike Lawsuit

It was fun while it lasted, but the era of NIMBY lawsuits against NYC bike-share stations has now run its course. Today a Manhattan judge rejected the Plaza Hotel’s suit seeking to remove the Citi Bike station across the street from its entrance. This marks the final court decision regarding the four lawsuits challenging bike-share […]