Eyes on the Street: Fort Greene’s Fowler Square Plaza Is Back and Better Than Ever

DOT made the short block of South Elliott Place between Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue car-free using paint and planters in 2012. Now it's made of more solid stuff.

Photo: David Meyer
Photo: David Meyer

The permanent construction of Fowler Square Plaza in Fort Greene is complete, and it looks gorgeous.

Six years ago, the short block of South Elliott Place between Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue was a through street lined with parked cars. In 2012, DOT repurposed the street for people using its quick-build toolkit — paint, planters, and other temporary materials — enlarging the public space around the statue of Civil War officer Edward Fowler.

The Department of Design and Construction began building out the plaza in concrete in January 2017. Work was expected to take nine months, but as is typical of DDC street projects, delays ensued and construction didn’t wrap up until last month.

It’s hard to remember now, but a few people who predicted this project would be a catastrophe got a ton of coverage before it was implemented in 2012. Some insisted they needed this block as a through route for driving even though all of South Elliott Place is just a few blocks long. Another plaza opponent tarred the expansion of pedestrian space as the work of the “greedy 1%.”

This is what all the fuss was about:

Fowler Square and South Elliott Place in 2011. Photo: Google Maps
Fowler Square and South Elliott Place in 2011. Photo: Google Maps
The same block in 2018. Photo: David Meyer
The same block in 2018. Photo: David Meyer
  • J

    Looks wonderful. I hope those who opposed the project are able to enjoy this beautiful space!

  • EVEN A WATER FOUNTAIN! Nicely done.

  • Scroller

    So glad this is finally completed. Passed through this weekend and have one gripe. They left the a clear “sidewalk” path along Fulton so someone can continue walking curbside past the plaza. However, along Lafayette, the “sidewalk” path along the curb has trees, planters and stone benches forcing someone to zig zag around the center of the plaza to continue straight on Lafayette.

  • Peter Engel

    The merchants on Fulton Street have aligned the Fowler Sq project and its “traffic disruption” to near-mutinous dissatisfaction with their Fulton Area Businesses Alliance (FAB) and director Philip Kellogg. I do hope they move on to other reasons to hate him.

  • Mustache Pete

    They won’t. Because “people can’t park and my business is hurting.”

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