This roadway in New York City’s Washington Heights is being replaced by a pedestrian plaza with playfully meandering paving

City Terrain East Landscape Architecture Transportation Urbanism
(Courtesy New York City DDC and DOT)

(Courtesy New York City DDC and DOT)

New York City recently broke ground on a 14,000-square-foot public plaza in Washington Heights with a very wavy paving design. The Plaza de Las Americas  is intended to reference town squares found in the Caribbean, Central and South America. It was designed for the city by the RBA Group, a landscape architecture and engineering consulting firm.

(Courtesy New York City DDC and DOT)

(Courtesy New York City DDC and DOT)

The plaza’s design does feel reminiscent of the monochromatic wavy designs of the Brazilian landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx like the 1970 Copacabana Promenade, itself influenced by the Portuguese paving patterns of the 1930s. In more modern times, the design also reminds us of Bjarke IngelsSuperkilen park in Copenhagen.

Plaza de Las Americas will replace a block of roadway between a grocery store and an old theatre. The city says the plaza is designed to enhance the local markets that currently operate on the site by offering water and electrical system to vendors’ booths. The plaza will also include new trees, benches, “pedestrian scale lighting,” cafe seating, an information kiosk, and an artsy fountain by Ester Partegás.

When completed early next year, the space will host public events including concerts, dance shows, art and craft fairs, performances, and poetry readings.

[Correction: An earlier version of this story did not give proper credit to the RBA Group which designed the plaza. We regret the error.]

The groundbreaking ceremony. (NYC DOT)

The groundbreaking ceremony. (NYC DOT)

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