Eyes on the Street: The Return of “Plaza 33” — Maybe for Good

Here's what happens when you close a street to car traffic in one of the busiest parts of the city. Photo: David Meyer
Here’s what happens when you make a street car-free in one of the busiest parts of the city. Photo: David Meyer

“Plaza 33” is back, transforming the eastern half of 33rd Street between Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue into a car-free public space — and it’s set to remain indefinitely.

This is the second iteration of “Plaza 33,” which was installed from July through October last year and is funded and managed by Vornado Realty Trust. Next to Penn Station, the space gets some of the most intense foot traffic in Midtown and was filled with people yesterday evening.

Some parts of "Plaza 33" remain under construction. Photo: David Meyer
Some parts of “Plaza 33” remain under construction. Photo: David Meyer

Plaza 33 launched sans furniture on Monday, and on Tuesday afternoon Vornado installed tables and chairs. A few fenced-in wooden bleachers remain under construction but are set to be finished in the next two or three weeks.

The long-term future of the space is open-ended. There are no plans to remove it, nor is there a definite commitment to keep it, a Vornado spokesperson confirmed this week.

When this year’s plan was presented to Manhattan Community Board 5 in February, Vornado Senior VP for Development Marc Ricks said DOT would determine whether the plaza would be permanent after observing its impact over time. DOT has not responded to an inquiry from Streetsblog about when and how that decision will be made.

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