New York City Looks to Activate Public Space on Downtown Manhattan’s Water Street

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The plaza at 55 Water Street (Courtesy of DCP)

The plaza at 55 Water Street (Courtesy of DCP)

After Hurricane Sandy swept through the east coast, it left Water Street, a sleepy corridor in lower Manhattan, even more deserted. But now, Department of City Planning (DCP) has proposed a zoning text amendment to enliven the quiet downtown stretch by allowing for seating, art installations, food trucks, concerts, and other such events and amenities on privately owned public spaces (POPS). Sprinkled throughout the city, POPS are unique public areas that are maintained by developers for public use in return for more floor space in their development.

Shuttered business on Water Street after Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of DCP)

Shuttered business on Water Street after Hurricane Sandy (Courtesy of DCP)

This slice of downtown is a mix of commercial and residential buildings, and has a shortage of amenities to offer residents and employees in the area. DCP hopes to change this and turn Water Street, extending from State to Fulton Streets, into a “Public Space Activation Area” for a variety of activities such as farmer markets, concerts, food tastings, festivals, cultural exhibitions, and performances for this coming summer, spring, and holiday season. The City Planning Commission green lighted the proposal back in April, and next City Council will make the final decision by June 29th.

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One NY Plaza off Water Street (Courtesy of DCP)

One NY Plaza off Water Street (Courtesy of DCP)

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