Eyes on the Street: From Parking to Parklet in Hell’s Kitchen

Courtesy of Christine Berthet of CHEKPEDS, here are photos of what could be Manhattan’s newest public space, a pocket park on Dyer Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen.

This plaza, conceived by area residents, occupies a sliver of traffic island on Dyer between 34th and 35th Streets, near the entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel. The space was formerly used for motorcycle parking.

Berthet says this is an interim installation, since plans are on hold to convert three lanes of leftover asphalt on Dyer into a park.

See the before shot after the jump.

  • Daphna

    While this is good, I think it is much more important do the larger plan: put Dyer Avenue on a road diet and convert 37′ of the width of that street between West 34th and 35th Streets into a park.

  • Ben Kintisch

    This looks so beautiful. Tiny sliver of under-utilized space becomes a great new public space.

  • Cap’n Sensible

    A great new public space? Employing your kool-aid guzzling skillset to full effect here. A narrow median between two heavily trafficked streets is much better suited to MC parking.

    Seems like SUCH a nice spot to take the kids out for a little fun in the sun (and noise and exhaust fumes)!

  • Guest

    I love “road diets,” but I’m not sure what that means for a tunnel approach. Traffic backs up here every night. Seems like squeezing down the number of cars that can wait on Dyer is just going to back more of the traffic up on Ninth Avenue and block more intersections where pedestrians are trying to cross the street. I dunno…

  • Anonymous

    Yuppie whining turns rare MC parking spots into a useless park. Now the NYPD can issue tickets to the MCs that have to find new spaces.

  • Ben Kintisch

    Okay, not a beautiful new public space. But public space in a space-starved city is generally a great thing. Um, is the kool-aid reference meant to employ that I’m part of a cult? Actually, I am neither crazy nor cultish. I believe that when DOT finds small pockets of asphalt and repurposes them as public spaces, it is a good thing for the city. And a good place to drink lemonade, apple juice, and kool-aid – the non-poisonous kind.

  • Guest

    The value of this space may not be in how many people spend time there but in the message it sends to drivers: it tells them they are in a city made for people, and not in some sort of auto-centric dystopia where every last inch of pavement is reserved for automobiles.

    It also looks like there’s a crosswalk at one end, so the space will now become more pleasant for anyone waiting in the middle for the light to change.

  • Guest

    Was this done by DOT or the Port Authority? I thought Dyer was owned by the Port Authority, but this looks like the projects DOT has been doing.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck the Motorcycles. This is a city for people. People who actually live here are better off. I live near a tunnel entrance/exit as well and it’s a total shit show trying to cross the street and get to other neighborhoods. Every little bit of pedestrian refugee matters. Those Motorcycles can pay to park like everyone else.

  • Anonymous

    Yah, but this doesn’t remove any traffic lanes so I don’t think it’d squeeze traffic up to Dyer.

  • Joe R.

    My sentiments exactly. I’m a bit more sympathetic to motor vehicle concerns in areas like mine where public transit really isn’t all that great (unless you’re going to Manhattan), but in Manhattan I couldn’t care less. There’s zero reason to drive a personal vehicle in Manhattan, and even less reason to own one. We need to reapportion space to the primary street users there-namely pedestrians. If people lose their precious free parking spots in the process, perhaps they should rethink owning a motor vehicle.

  • Guest

    This didn’t, but I think Daphna’s larger plan would.

  • Guest

    I largely agree, but you may need to ease up on the notion that nobody living in Manhattan has a legitimate need for a vehicle.

    We still live in a world where a second worker in a household may have found it necessary to commute to a job somewhere outside Manhattan that is not accessible by transit as a reverse commute.

    Painting with a broad brush can cause problems for all of us.

  • Anonymous

    notion that nobody living in Manhattan has a legitimate need for a vehicle.

    Maybe Joe R. didn’t express it well but I don’t think that’s his position.

    It’s not that “nobody living in Manhattan” should have a car. Rather, it’s if you want to drive/park in Manhattan, then you should pay for it. As we all know, there’s value to every bit of public space. And every bit of public space that’s allocated for free parking, is a parking spot that is subsidized by the public at large, especially given that as a public policy, we should discourage private car owners driving into the CBD.

    I’d love to have a car. If I made more money, I’d have a car myself. But given the limited public space in Manhattan, free parking should be discouraged and as much public space as possible should be allocated to the public (and not the car driving minority).

  • Joe R.

    That’s exactly what I meant. If you want to own a private vehicle in Manhattan, then you should pay for an off-street parking spot. Furthermore, if you want to drive it during congested times, then you should pay for that as well. I’m totally sympathetic to someone who might have an off-hours job outside Manhattan, but I don’t think we should subsidize car ownership by allocating expensive real estate for free private vehicle storage. I also think a better solution to this situation is parking the car near a train station outside the city, taking the train into/out of Manhattan to your car, and then driving wherever you need to go. Rail access to parts of NJ right over the Hudson River, or to the outer boroughs, is great at all times of the day. The idea is to eliminate the need to drive and park within Manhattan itself, while still retaining the conveniences of car ownership.

  • Anonymous

    Motorcycles are not that bad. They only take slightly more space than bicycles. I think cyclists should make motorcyclists their allies rather than their enemies.

    I have no opinion about this particular parklet, but I think there should be reasonable places to park motorcycles, and if they are not free, they should be closer to the price of parking a bicycle (which is free on the street/sidewalk) than to the price of parking a car.

  • Joe R.

    I agree there should be more places to park motorcycles, and also that it should cost less than car parking. Cyclists do have quite a bit in common with motorcyclists, especially the fact that car drivers tend to marginalize us both, so we should avoid making them our enemies. Besides that, there are some cool motorcycles such as the Vectrix (100% electric). Vehicles like that are much more suited to NYC than gas-guzzling SUVs.

  • Anonymous

    Agree on the MC spots, disagree on the park. But theres plenty of car spaces nearby that can be turned into MC spots to replace those.

  • carma

    this really is about the worst place to put a parklet here. why would anybody want to sit in a faux green cement lawn sucking the exhaust fumes of trucks and cars with little scenery other than traffic?

    just leave it as motorcycle parking. or maybe put one or two bike racks and see what happens…

  • carma

    this really is about the worst place to put a parklet here. why would anybody want to sit in a faux green cement lawn sucking the exhaust fumes of trucks and cars with little scenery other than traffic?

    just leave it as motorcycle parking. or maybe put one or two bike racks and see what happens…

  • This is a beautiful park. I can’t wait to hang out in the middle of this traffic island, and watch cars and trucks whiz by, or stuck in traffic, while I’m relaxing sipping a raspberry peach mochaccino, soothed by the rumble of trucks and busses exiting the Lincoln Tunnel, while enjoying the delicate aroma of gasoline and diesel exhaust.

    This is a great step in eliminating motorcycles from Manhattan. Those who used to commute here by motorcycle and park in this now lovely park, should now find sufficient motivation to drive a normal, safe SUV instead.

    Like all major cities in the world, there is no room or place for motorcycles as a form of transportation, and the city should do more discourage these hooligans.

    For the residents who used to park motorcycles here, if they can afford $3500 a month for a studio apartment, they can afford to pay more for parking.

    I will see you all in the new park!

  • Brad Aaron

    Ridiculing a hard-won public space because it’s surrounded by motor vehicle traffic = creating a concept like “jaywalking” and blaming people for their own deaths when they do it.

  • If what you’re saying is nobody should jaywalk, or hang out on that ridiculous traffic island, because it’s bad for your health, then I agree.

  • Didn’t you hear, the city is banning electric bicycles.

  • And if you live in Manhattan, and wish to travel, take public transport. Or rent a car. Ban all Manhattanites from parking motor vehicles here.

  • I found it much more pleasant looking at the variety of motorcycles. Today it appears someone threw bread down to feed the pidgeons, but even they were scarce in this horrid putrid green faux park.
    It’s first use is derelicts illegally feeding pidgeons.

  • Don’t hold your breath for that to happen. Motorcyclists are afforded no consideration in NYC. No motorcycle parking spots. If you want to park a motorcycle on the street you have to take up a space the size of a car. Or you can buy a muni meter ticket, and display it on your dashboard, like a car. What, no dashboard? Well then you can just frack off, and come back when you get a car.

  • Marcos Fontoura

    Congratulations from Brazil!!!

  • Daphna

    I look at motorcycles as an ally to bicyclists. Motorcyclists have to pay attention or they will be hurt. They are vulnerable. Although they are noisy, I would welcome more on the streets. Motorcycles need parking available to them. The problem is that autos have too much of public roads devoted to them and pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists get put into conflict with one another over the limited remaining space. About half the width of Dyer, 37 feet, from 34th to 35th Street is proposed to be reclaimed from autos and become a park. That is what really needs to happen. Within that park, maybe there could be a motorcycle corral. There would be adequate room for both motorcycles and green public space. I would have rather have seen a parklet along a curb (like a pop up cafe) that replaced car parking rather than replacing this motorcycle parking. I would like to see both motorcycle riding and bike riding encouraged.

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