View Full Version : Water Street: Transformation to NY's Champs Elysee?

June 2nd, 2010, 03:03 PM
I recall that after 9/11, Bloomberg floated this proposal. It seems that it's actually making progress.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/remaking_new_york_road_by_road_water_CW8px38sqvQ0I sWijJgmNK


Remaking New York, road by road (Water is next)

Last Updated: 4:35 AM, May 2, 2010

Posted: 12:22 AM, May 2, 2010

It’s officially downtown’s most depressing street.

Water Street — a dark, 60-foot-wide wind tunnel in the Financial District where Goldman Sachs and AIG both recently vacated their headquarters for greener pastures — has been identified by urban planners as the “saddest street in lower Manhattan.” Now they’re eager to “cheer it up” with a Bloomberg-style makeover that would steal street lanes from cars and cede them to cyclists and pedestrians.

“Water Street feels very isolated,” said Nicole LaRusso, head of planning and economic development at the Downtown Alliance. “The pedestrian experience is just sad — there’s nothing to engage you. It has an unappealing mix of retail and services for the people who come there every day. There’s a lot of open space but not a lot of it is useable or welcoming.”

Water Street, which along with 34th Street and Union Square, is being considered for remodeling.
Water Street’s greatest claim to fame is that it’s a good place to hail a cab. In fact, most New Yorkers seek out the half-mile street between Whitehall and Fulton Streets only when they’re trying to leave as fast as possible.

The depressing thoroughfare is a byproduct of automobile-friendly zoning policies enacted in 1962, which widened streets so that the city’s urban core could compete with suburban office parks, LaRusso said, speaking at a panel hosted by the Municipal Art Society last week. “It was supposed to be the antidote to the Financial District,” where streets are too narrow to accommodate a heavy traffic flow.

In late 2008, the Downtown Alliance convened property owners, brokers, arts presenters, small business owners and preservationists to consult on how to transform the outdated thoroughfare into the Champs-Elysees of lower Manhattan — a modern and appealing boulevard of cafes and shops, backed by private and public investment. They hired two top architecture firms — Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners PLLC and FXFOWLE Architects — to come up with a new plan for a happier street with a unique identity.

It’s the kind of thinking about city streets that has evolved, over the past two years, into a signature issue of the Bloomberg administration.

After permanently banning cars from Times Square, thereby transforming the world’s busiest intersection into a pedestrian plaza, Mayor Bloomberg is now targeting other clogged arteries where park space could replace roads.

A new car-free plan for 34th Street — which would feature a pedestrian mall between Macy’s and the Empire State Building — is currently under consideration. The Department of Transportation also recently announced that it is considering banning vehicles on the North end of Union Square and along portions of Union Square West. Instead, tables and chairs for pedestrians would be rolled out on Broadway between 17th and 18th Streets.

On Water Street, however, too much traffic is just one of many obstacles to a “complete street.”

Skyscrapers block any natural sunlight from filtering in, and the “robust wind” makes it unpleasant and physically trying to walk there. “Cars zoom down Water Street and it’s intimidating to pedestrians,” said LaRusso.

Towering office buildings that house 70,000 workers — about 23 percent of the lower Manhattan workforce — are “not scaled for pedestrians” and the shops close early in the evening, leaving the street deserted and ominous at night. About 9 percent of Water Street’s office space is currently vacant — and it’s playing at a competitive disadvantage.

“The area around the World Trade Center is getting billions of dollars in terms of public and private investment,” said LaRusso. “This area has not seen that kind of investment.” The goal of the study is to identity new opportunities for property owners and businesses who can help stimulate more economic activity along one of the oldest streets in Manhattan.

The Downtown Alliance study expected to be unveiled within weeks will outline a drastic makeover that includes a “road diet” — narrowing two lanes of traffic to one, and installing bike lanes along the wide street.

The city Department of Transportation is also expected to roll out a select bus service route along Water street, and the business group is proposing a median that would double as a pedestrian refuge and a green space with public arts displays.

The Downtown Alliance will also propose widening the west side of the street by six feet to create a sidewalk that can support cafes and potted trees, as well as benches and a public wifi program. An underused parking area at the intersection with Whitehall Street could be transformed into a pedestrian plaza, according to the study.

The cost of the revitalization effort has not yet been determined, LaRusso said, but the plans will be handed over to the city’s Department of Transportation amd the Economic Development Corp. for consideration in the next few months.

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/remaking_new_york_road_by_road_water_CW8px38sqvQ0I sWijJgmNK#ixzz0pjTRymGA

June 2nd, 2010, 08:58 PM
This is great news! Some trees a wider sidewalk and some attractive lampposts would really beautify the whole area...

June 3rd, 2010, 01:05 PM
Eh. Even if it's wearing lipstick, a pig is still a pig. The dominant architecture of the place does not lend itself to a pleasent pedestrian experience. And the fact that they roll up that street a 6:00 PM doesn't help. They need to get more street level retail, and get the stores to stay open later. Maybe convert some of the buildings to residential, so that there are people out later, and it would be a bit less stark.

June 3rd, 2010, 02:01 PM
Get that new Second Avenue subway stop (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Avenue_Subway) at Hanover Square in there and it would help 100%.

June 3rd, 2010, 08:37 PM
I think it is the windiest street in Manhattan.

June 4th, 2010, 01:54 AM

Notice that pretty much the only building in this picture capable of raising someone's spirits, making you feel better for being where you are, or in any way in keeping with a sense of aesthetics developed over thousands of years (most of them pre-WWII) is ...

... marked for destruction by Sam Chang, and replacement by his toadie, Eugene Kaufman?

Water Street is beyond salvation.

June 5th, 2010, 06:42 AM
Notice that pretty much the only building in this picture capable of raising someone's spirits, making you feel better for being where you are, or in any way in keeping with a sense of aesthetics developed over thousands of years (most of them pre-WWII) is ...

... marked for destruction by Sam Chang, and replacement by his toadie, Eugene Kaufman?

Water Street is beyond salvation.

I remember the proposal to raze that nice little building. It makes me sick.

June 7th, 2010, 09:36 PM
we already have a champs elysee!

"Construction began on the Grand Concourse in 1894 and it was opened to traffic in November 1909. Built during the height of the City Beautiful movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Beautiful_movement), it was modeled on the Champs-Élysées (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champs-%C3%89lys%C3%A9es) in Paris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris)"


June 8th, 2010, 11:25 PM
One of the few good public spaces along Water St is Coenties Slip.

http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/8226/coentiesslip01.th.jpg (http://img693.imageshack.us/i/coentiesslip01.jpg/) http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/1365/coentiesslip02.th.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/coentiesslip02.jpg/) http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/857/coentiesslip03.th.jpg (http://img687.imageshack.us/i/coentiesslip03.jpg/)

And it flows across Pearl St
http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/8605/coentiesslip04.th.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/coentiesslip04.jpg/)

to Stone St.
http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/7531/coentiesslip05.th.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/coentiesslip05.jpg/) http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/8429/stonest01.th.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/stonest01.jpg/) http://img693.imageshack.us/img693/3410/stonest02.th.jpg (http://img693.imageshack.us/i/stonest02.jpg/)

In back of 75 wall St, there's a stepped garden plaza that seems mostly useless, except maybe for skateboarders.

And then we get to this:
http://img256.imageshack.us/img256/1489/waterst01.th.jpg (http://img256.imageshack.us/i/waterst01.jpg/)

It's like an alfresco DMV waiting room for the eye test.

June 9th, 2010, 03:23 AM
we already have a champs elysee!

"Construction began on the Grand Concourse in 1894 and it was opened to traffic in November 1909. Built during the height of the City Beautiful movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_Beautiful_movement), it was modeled on the Champs-Élysées (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Champs-%C3%89lys%C3%A9es) in Paris (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris)"


The Grand Concourse has the potential to be nice again, but the more Champs Elysees, the better!

June 11th, 2010, 03:44 PM
http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/8605/coentiesslip04.th.jpg (http://img641.imageshack.us/i/coentiesslip04.jpg/)
A nice outdoor food court, maybe a tad mallified.

June 21st, 2010, 09:13 AM
This will be great. Before Bloomberg leaves office, I'd like to see the City beautify more avenues and major streets in this manner. (I fear that after he's gone, the impetus to do these projects will be lost and there will be the usual NY opposition to improving the City (i.e., trees and flowers are a waste of money, yadah, yadah, yadah).



While Lower Manhattan may be better known for its office buildings than its bustling pedestrian neighborhoods, a new proposal could turn a key corridor into a commercial haven. The Alliance for Downtown New York, a neighborhood advocacy group, has pitched a comprehensive reorganization plan for Water Street designed to enhance foot traffic and encourage retail activity. The plan includes a broad reconfiguration of the roadway by scaling down Water Street and making the area more pedestrian-friendly through the addition of plazas and landscaped space. Also integral to the plan is a reevaluation of current Water Street zoning, the Downtown Alliance said, in order to allow more ground-floor retail activity. While it was not immediately clear how much the program will cost, Downtown Alliance said it expects the initiative to be complete in 2020. TRD

June 21st, 2010, 09:29 AM
Also integral to the plan is a reevaluation of current Water Street zoning ... in order to allow more ground-floor retail activity.
This likely explains the ground floor desolation of far West 42nd Street (lamented in another thread).

June 21st, 2010, 09:55 AM
http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/06/21/fidis_water_street_hopes_to_look_more_like_park_av enue.php

June 21st, 2010, 09:56 AM


Trying to Breathe Life Into a Canyon of Concrete

Alliance for Downtown New York
An artist’s rendering of a redesigned Water Street.

Published: June 20, 2010

In the last several years, almost every part of New York City’s financial district has been torn up for rebuilding, rewiring and repaving. But Water Street, the wide corridor lined with office towers that skirts the eastern edge of Lower Manhattan, has largely been left alone.

The New York Times
The Downtown Alliance wants to narrow the street, add a planted median and make better use of public plazas to draw pedestrians.
Now, the leaders of the downtown business community want to breathe new life into Water Street. Fearing that big employers will not be attracted to a half-mile stretch that could be replicated in any other big city, the Alliance for Downtown New York has drawn up a plan to “redefine Water Street as an engaging commercial boulevard.”

The plan, scheduled to be unveiled on Monday, calls for narrowing the street and installing a planted median — similar to the one that runs up Park Avenue. It also calls for redesigning the eight acres of public plazas surrounding the big buildings, with the hope of drawing more workers outdoors and more tourists.

“It comes down to the people,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, president of the Downtown Alliance. “Where are the people? We know they’re in the offices, but they’re not out on the street.”

The alliance’s Water Street Study Project found that almost nobody walks along the corridor for more than two consecutive blocks, in part because so many of the buildings present blank walls to pedestrians and their ground floors contain stores that cater primarily to commuting office workers.

“In a way, it’s kind of a 1970s and 1980s paradigm of what a commercial boulevard ought to look like,” Ms. Berger said.

The street’s appearance is a result of an early 1960s plan for a sleek, modern strip of office buildings in what had been an old maritime district. The street is so wide that it draws traffic away from the narrow lanes and alleys that wind through the financial district.

“The upside is that Water Street is the only place where you know you can get a cab in Lower Manhattan,” Ms. Berger said.

The cost over 10 years to put the redesign in place, Ms. Berger said, depends on how city officials embrace the idea — whether they decide to try a “full-on reconstruction” or divide the project into phases.

One proposal calls for starting out by creating a pedestrian plaza where Water Street meets Whitehall Street near the Staten Island Ferry terminal, and closing off Front Street to cars at lunchtime.

The plaza would serve as one anchor of the reinvented Water Street; the other would be at Fulton Street, where the plan calls for an installation of public art, creating a gateway that would draw people in. (The segment of Water Street north of Fulton is not covered in the plan.)

To complete the whole plan would require financing from the city, state and federal governments, as well as improvements by buildings’ owners, Ms. Berger said. Property owners have been reluctant to spend much money on street-level improvements, she said, because they first want to see a commitment from the government to modernizing the corridor. She said the alliance had not estimated the total cost.

Steven Spinola, the president of the Real Estate Board of New York, said the owners of Water Street buildings were concerned that activity in Lower Manhattan had “kind of moved westward over the years” toward the site of the World Trade Center and Battery Park City. Since the destruction of the trade center in 2001, most of the public investment in the area has understandably flowed in that direction, he added.

Now, he said, “there needs to be a recognition that Water Street should be one of the great office streets in the city,” but that “it’s just a difficult setting” to lure big tenants to.

“The owners believe,” Mr. Spinola said, “that they have to redefine what the street life and what the environment will be to get those tenants to make commitments in that part of Lower Manhattan.”

June 21st, 2010, 11:51 AM
The title of the thread reminds me of a pipe dream I've entertained...Forsyth and Christie street run parallel with blocks of park between them, and I always thought that stretch could be spruced up to be one of the most attractive in NYC. It has SO much potential.

June 21st, 2010, 12:13 PM
I agree, MTG.

Forsyth and Christie also have many beautiful old buildings.

June 22nd, 2010, 11:02 AM
Most people don't care (hardly notice) what the buildings look like.

That's not what they're trying to fix.

June 22nd, 2010, 11:55 AM
In fact the southern end has many nice old buildings most of which still have their cornices and lots of nice detailing. Are there some uglier things mixed in? Sure, but that goes for most neighborhoods. That stuff can be replaced. The majority of the buildings down there are charming.


A big problem is too much roadway and skinny, ragged sidewalks but the bones of a gorgeous neighborhood are there.


You've got the very hot neighborhood to the east full of bars, restaurants, and cafés, and just to the west is the Bowery, undergoing its own remaking. This is a location prime for sprucing up...a lovely stretch of old Manhattan blessed with a long park right down the middle. At the end you even have the beautiful arch and columns of the bridge entrance.

It needs to be spruced up with good sidewalks and a lot of the park is raggedy and neglected, but I can imagine this area being a New York version of Alameda de Hércules in Seville (in the sense of nightlife and cafés surrounding a long park-like square with low buildings around the perimeter). The park in the middle needs to be more even with the street level for starters. It's all too closed off. But I like this area very much.

June 22nd, 2010, 12:02 PM
Sorry for the detour from Water Street.:o

June 22nd, 2010, 12:24 PM
That's Sara Delano Roosevelt Park (http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/saradroosevelt), created in 1934; some re-construction (http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/lmr/html/sara_d_roosevelt.html) is now underway. Don't think they can lower the level of the park to meet the street. Some subway lines run underneath:

Existing Grand Street Station [pdf] (http://www.mta.info/capconstr/sas/documents/feis/figure08.pdf)

Plus it's along the path of the new Second Avenue Subway line (http://www.mta.info/capconstr/sas/feis.htm) (and there are plans (http://www.nycsubway.org/articles/2ndave-mta132c.html) to use some of the park (http://www.nycsubway.org/articles/2ndave-route132c.html#physical) for staging during the subway construction -- but who knows when that will happen).

SAS Houston Street Station [pdf] (http://www.mta.info/capconstr/sas/documents/feis/figuref-14.pdf)

SAS Grand Street Station [pdf] (http://www.mta.info/capconstr/sas/documents/feis/figuref-15.pdf)

The MTA (http://www.nycsubway.org/articles/2ndave-route132c.html#physical) doesn't seem to see the potential charm of the area:

Continuing north, the Project passes under Manhattan Bridge Plaza, through which traffic is channelled to and from the Manhattan Bridge. North of Canal Street, along Chrystie Street, the west side of the street contains tenements with retail establishments on the ground level. These tenements are badly dilapidated. On the east side of the street is Sara D. Roosevelt Park which is in very poor condition. Sara D. Roosevelt Park extends from Canal Street north to East Houston Street.

June 22nd, 2010, 01:14 PM
The crappy surrender-monkey French Football players could seek asylum on the Water St Champs Elysee

June 22nd, 2010, 01:25 PM
In fact the southern end has many nice old buildings most of which still have their cornices and lots of nice detailing. Are there some uglier things mixed in? Sure, but that goes for most neighborhoods. That stuff can be replaced. The majority of the buildings down there are charming.


A big problem is too much roadway and skinny, ragged sidewalks but the bones of a gorgeous neighborhood are there.

I agree with you.

This is a beautiful stretch. I hope that extensive landscaping also will transform Water Street. The south end of West Street looks great with the new landscaping.

June 28th, 2010, 05:32 PM

Plan urges revitalization of Water Street in Lower Manhattan

January 21, 2010 By Carter B. Horsley


The Alliance for Downtown New York unveiled a plan today to make Water Street more "pedestrian friendly."

The street runs more than half a mile from Whitehall to Fulton Streets and has more than 20 percent of Lower Manhattan's commercial real estate housing some 70,000 workers.

"As we continue our revitalization of Lower Manhattan into a 24/7 community, William C. Rudin, chairman of the Association for a Better New York, declared, "it's vital to have the proper balance between commercial and residential usage and by creating dynamic open spaces will only enhance the environment for residents, workers and visitors in Lower Manhattan."

By generating new activity and building on the improvements being made in the surrounding areas, a coordinated framework for art and events will extend the presence of people, enhance the value of open space and reposition the role of Water Street in Lower Manhattan, he said.

The proposal would create a median in Water Street to enable better use of space, including a sidewalk extension that will create an amenity strip for cafe seating, benches, bike racks and additional soil zones for planting of trees and flowers.

To create an "iconic boulevard," the plan would "maintain appropriate traffic flow and prioritize commercial curb access, mark gateways at the street's southern and northern ends, reinforce connections from adjacent transportation nodes and extend the hours of activity."

"Water Street is a boulevard of economic opportunity," said Elizabeth H. Berger, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. "This plan isn't simply about redesigning the landscape; it's about ensuring that Water Street is an economic engine for Lower Manhattan." "Making this happen will require a firm public-private partnership," Berger said. "The public sector will need to carry out major infrastructure improvements and allow and incentivize private sector changes," the study said.

Most of the plan's goals, of course, could have been met had the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum gone ahead with its thrilling proposal to create a Frank O. Gehry-design museum south of the South Street Seaport that would have been similar and perhaps even more dramatic than his famous facility for the same museum in Bilbao, Spain.

The new plan seeks to improve sight-lines between historic slips and the East River and integrate sustainable design into site improvements and encourage night-time extravaganzas.

Redesigning Mannahatta Park (Wall Street Park) will create a grand entrance to the waterfront while maintaining vehicular access. This space can be used to host events during weekends and off-hours and to support daytime amenities such as a temporary market, the study maintained, adding that "Making improvements to plazas and arcades will create opportunities for retail spaces, new seating, and space for gatherings such as markets and outdoor concerts."

The William Kaufman Organization, of course, had created the city's two most interesting and tantalizing plazas in the office buildings at 77 Water Street and 127 John Street over a generation ago.

The report noted that today, however, the street "exemplifies the oft-cited complaints about many downtowns across the country - predominantly commercial in use, deserted in the evenings and on weekends, lacking retail options and restaurants. The incongruous presence of loading docks and blank walls contributes to an underwhelming pedestrian experience.

"Almost no one walks along Water Street for more than two consecutive blocks," it continued.

"The revival of Stone Street as a lively restaurant row; the creation of a cobblestone pedestrian zone with high-end retail along Wall and Broad Streets; the engaging new esplanade along the East River Waterfront; the reconstruction of Fulton Street and the rebuilding of the World Trade Center - all of these changes only highlight what Water Street is missing," the report argued.

June 28th, 2010, 07:47 PM
excellent! thanks for posting this LL. The area has a ton of potential.

June 28th, 2010, 08:44 PM
I agree with you, MTG. Landscaping will improve the area. Also, there are some pretty nice old buildings on the west side of Water Street.

July 1st, 2010, 09:59 PM
Volume 23, Number 8 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | July 2 - 8, 2010


Images courtesy of the Alliance for Downtown New York

Under the Alliance for Downtown’s proposed plan for Water Street, the streetscape design would include a planted median and trees.

A pragmatic approach to revamp an outdated street
BY John Bayles
http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_375/olderpic.jpg Existing conditions at Water Street and Old Slip. There’s a street in Lower Manhattan that seems out of place, like it doesn’t belong in the burgeoning corporate capital of the world. It’s wide, very wide, and the buildings that line it look they are straight out of the 1950s with huge arcades and plazas. There are few trees and the public spaces are barren and boring. That street is Water Street.
For the last 18 months, the Alliance for Downtown New York has been working on a study that provides a pragmatic approach to transforming the street into a lively, pedestrian-friendly environment that will utilize privately owned public spaces and help Water Street secure its role as a corporate hub in the future. It’s a “pragmatic plan that provides a model for a vibrant and re-vamped Water Street.”
“It’s not that stuff isn’t happening [on Water Street],” said President of the Alliance Liz Berger. “There is a disconnect between what’s happening in the buildings and on the street that ultimately could put Water Street in jeopardy.”
The study mentions that in the next five years many of the leases in the buildings, where over 70,000 employees work each day, could be up and those businesses could choose another neighborhood to relocate. There is 19 million square feet of commercial office space, which is 90 percent occupied.
Berger believes that if the public and private sectors come together and transform the street, then the businesses will be more likely to renew their leases. Currently, powerhouse corporations like Standard and Poor’s, A.I.G. and the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell occupy commercial space on the street.
“The understanding of what constitutes a premium business address is changing and Water Street has to change with that,” said Berger.
Berger believes commercial tenants today are looking for the same things residential tenants desire – diversity in options when it comes to retail, dining and public spaces. Water Street currently offers no such diversity.
“Tenant priorities have accelerated the need for change,” Berger noted.
The study takes a four-prong approach. The first is deemed Anchor to Anchor and focuses on re-scaling the street to make it an iconic boulevard. The second, Water to Water, is meant to strengthen connections to the historic core and waterfront. The third, Space to Place, would realign public and ground floor spaces to enhance street life. And the fourth, Day to Night, hopes to extend the hours of activity along Water Street.
Berger said the public sector should take the lead and improve the street, perhaps with a planted median and more trees. She said there must also be acknowledgment that the 20 privately owned public spaces that currently exist on the street are not utilized and the zoning in the area has not been looked at since the initial 1961 resolution, which created the privately owned spaces.
“They are not compliant with current zoning,” said Berger. “Urban planning, the city and general wisdom has allowed for zoning changes elsewhere that have allowed these spaces to be used in better ways.”
Berger pointed to the Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street as a great utilization of public space, but noted that it is basically hidden from view.
“It’s a great little secret of New York, but it should really be part of a chain of public spaces that define the corridor – like jewels in a necklace. The city has to start, then the private sector has to step up to the plate and then non profits have to come in and make the new spaces attractive.”
Berger said there are so many changes happening everywhere else in Lower Manhattan and those changes are leading to “a new kind of central business district.”
“The city understands the issue,” said Berger. “No administration has done more than Bloomberg’s to celebrate the vitality of urban life through public spaces and programming – it’s time for the revolution to come to Water Street.”

July 1st, 2010, 10:00 PM
^ from the downtown express http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_375/apragmaticapproach.html

July 2nd, 2010, 01:47 AM
Water St. at night

A very poorly designed space...

July 2nd, 2010, 10:56 AM
55 Water St Plaza

http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/5820/55waterplaza30.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza30.jpg/) http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/1918/55waterplaza31.th.jpg (http://img30.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza31.jpg/) http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/8247/55waterplaza32.th.jpg (http://img338.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza32.jpg/) http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/8901/55waterplaza33.th.jpg (http://img30.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza33.jpg/)

http://img338.imageshack.us/img338/4961/55waterplaza34.th.jpg (http://img338.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza34.jpg/) http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/7400/55waterplaza35.th.jpg (http://img30.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza35.jpg/) http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/6016/55waterplaza36.th.jpg (http://img30.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza36.jpg/) http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/7276/55waterplaza37.th.jpg (http://img30.imageshack.us/i/55waterplaza37.jpg/)

Much more lush than the craggy seacoast appearance (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3465&p=71555&viewfull=1#post71555) five years ago.

There's a midblock crosswalk here to the passageway through 7 Hanover.
http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/9311/waterst02.th.jpg (http://img341.imageshack.us/i/waterst02.jpg/)

Totally useless space, unless you need a place where your LCD won't wash out.
http://img132.imageshack.us/img132/6717/7hanover01.th.jpg (http://img132.imageshack.us/i/7hanover01.jpg/)

At least it provides access to the more interesting Pearl St.
http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/5770/pearlst01.th.jpg (http://img97.imageshack.us/i/pearlst01.jpg/)

July 2nd, 2010, 11:30 AM
The landscaping on Water Street will be great.

I'd also like to see Fifth Ave. transformed. It would be nice if two lanes of traffic were elimated and the sidewalks were widened dramatically (and lanscaped) over the formerly used lanes. This could be accomplished by closing 5th Avenue to all but bus traffic for certain stretches.

Thereafter, the same should occur with other avenues like Madison, Lex and 6th.

July 2nd, 2010, 11:44 AM
It's great to see how the plantings at 55 Water Street have taken root and filled in since the renovation up there back in 2005 (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3465&p=69588&viewfull=1#post69588).

More pics from Zip @ November 2005 (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3465&p=71555&viewfull=1#post71555).

July 2nd, 2010, 12:07 PM
I'd also like to see Fifth Ave. transformed. It would be nice if two lanes of traffic were elimated and the sidewalks were widened dramatically (and lanscaped) over the formerly used lanes. This could be accomplished by closing 5th Avenue to all but bus traffic for certain stretches.

Thereafter, the same should occur with other avenues like Madison, Lex and 6th.

I would love that!

July 2nd, 2010, 07:14 PM
In time, the city could turn into a scene of unemployed folks dressed in barrels and promenading proudly on the newly-widened sidewalks.

July 3rd, 2010, 06:13 AM
I would love that!

I agree. Also, the jackasses who complain about traffic should learn to take the train, subway, bus or walk. NYC should be for pedestrians -- not cars.

July 28th, 2010, 07:46 AM
Water Street Pedestrian Plaza Replacing Dangerous Intersection

By Julie Shapiro

Nine pedestrians were hurt at Water Street between Whitehall and Moore Streets between 2004 and 2008.

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_07_R5_WATER_STREET_PLAZA0726201 0.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_07_R7373_WATER_STREET_PLAZA0726 2010.jpg

http://s3.amazonaws.com/sfb111/story_xlimage_2010_07_R300_WATER_STREET_PLAZA07262 010.jpg

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slide show (http://dnainfo.com/20100726/financial-district-battery-park-city/water-street-pedestrian-plaza-replacing-dangerous-intersection/slideshow/popup/28471)

FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Tables, chairs and shrubs will soon replace cars on a block of Water Street in lower Manhattan.

The city’s latest pedestrian plaza will close the right fork of Water Street between Whitehall and Moore Streets within the next couple weeks. By the early fall, the city plans to reopen the block with orange-painted pavement and new seating and plantings.

In addition to giving residents, workers and tourists a place to pause and eat their lunch, the plaza will also make the complicated intersection of Water and Whitehall Streets safer, the Department of Transportation said.

Nine pedestrians and eight people in cars were injured there between 2004 and 2008, the DOT said. The new plaza will shorten the distance pedestrians travel to cross both Water and Whitehall Streets and it will narrow the streets so drivers have clearer sightlines.

The plaza will eliminate 10 parking and loading spaces. The DOT plans to create one additional space on Whitehall Street.

The new plaza sits across from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, where the city and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are building the much larger Peter Minuit Plaza, slated to open this fall.

The idea for the Water Street plaza came from the Downtown Alliance business improvement district, which proposed a sweeping overhaul of Water Street (http://www.downtownny.com/waterstreet/) earlier this summer.

The Alliance hopes to rebuild Water Street, a key commercial corridor, as a pedestrian-friendly boulevard studded with public art. This plaza at the street’s southern tip is the first step in the Alliance’s long-term vision.

Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee supported the Water Street plaza after hearing a presentation from the DOT earlier this month.

“We look forward to it being open sooner rather than later,” said Catherine McVay Hughes, a committee member, “so people can enjoy it in the warm weather.”


July 28th, 2010, 12:15 PM
Unfortunately, I don't think any effort to turn Water Street into anything other than a black hole will be successful as long as the diminishing number of non-mutant architecture is getting supplanted by McSam / Kaufman specials...

This exposed-floorplate beauty will be replacing the stone 5-story building with the red awnings (it's a McDonald's) in the photo in Merry's post immediately above labeled "Whitehall & Water Streets."

http://therealdeal.com/newyork/articles/30607?utm_campaign=Feed%3A+trdnews+%28The+Real+Dea l+-+New+York+Real+Estate+News%29&utm_medium=feed&utm_source=feedburner

Sam Chang to open Holiday Inn in FiDi

July 09, 2010 03:30PM
Prolific hotel developer Sam Chang of the McSam Hotel Group will be opening a Holiday Inn Express in the Financial District. The 26-story, 112-unit hotel will be located at 124-126 Water Street, at the corner of Water Street and Wall Street, in close proximity to the New York Stock Exchange. The hotel is among the first Holiday Inns to open in Lower Manhattan with the brand's new signage, created to give the chain a more contemporary image. More than 3,300 Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express properties are expected to be relaunched by the end of 2010, and more than 2,500 of the hotels have already been relaunched to date. TRD


Note: Photo from Kaufman's site (http://www.gkapc.com)

July 28th, 2010, 02:00 PM
Isn't he taking down the little red building next to it as well?
Aside from that 5 story buildings beauty, the McD's that's inside and the convenience store/deli
right next door, are the only places in the area that are open at night where one can get a quick bite to eat or drink.
So Sam's a triple Schlong (to quote LL) for desteroying nice buildings, removing the only night time amenities in the area,
and replacing them with a setback POS- that will give absolutely nothing back to the neighborhood (except for winces)!

August 1st, 2010, 10:30 PM
If that is the building I am thinking of, there were apartments above the deli on the upper floors, and two of the tenants used to sunbathe topless on the roof, which I would enjoy from my perch at One New York Plaza across the street. Good times.

August 3rd, 2010, 11:46 PM
I hope that you did not lose the view of the topless babes.

My last apartment was in an L-shape, and the woman directly across from me (but one floor down) walked around completely naked several times per week. Also, she had a balcony, so she had huge sliding glass doors that gave me the perfect view. It was a treat.

August 5th, 2010, 06:41 PM
I left the dreadful One New York Plaza ten years ago, but I'm sure the babes are long gone. As for Water Street, I'm not sure anything can be done to save it, not with all those barren plazas along its East side. But I suppose it's worth the effort.

August 21st, 2010, 06:37 AM
Some parts of Water Street are still really beautiful. These Federal-era structures are stunning.


August 21st, 2010, 09:45 AM
This will be great. Before Bloomberg leaves office, I'd like to see the City beautify more avenues and major streets in this manner. (I fear that after he's gone, the impetus to do these projects will be lost and there will be the usual NY opposition to improving the City (i.e., trees and flowers are a waste of money, yadah, yadah, yadah).

Good news, everyone! Bloomberg has no plans to leave office, ever. ;)

I do agree with you though, I'm not sure his successor(s) are going to be willing to spend money on beautification of the city, at least not as long as the economy is still suffering.

Making Water Street more, well, presentable is all good in my book, I walk this street frequently, and it's pretty sad right now.

August 21st, 2010, 10:38 AM
I wish that Bloomberg could stay. He is a great mayor.

August 21st, 2010, 03:15 PM
What makes you think he won't run again?

August 21st, 2010, 06:11 PM
He knows how close he came to losing the last time. I do not think he will take that risk.

August 21st, 2010, 08:48 PM
What makes you think he won't run again?

For one thing, he alienated 99% of the Jewish community by favoring the mosque.

August 21st, 2010, 08:51 PM
Do most NYC Jews care about the mosque?

August 21st, 2010, 08:52 PM
Probably, I bet.

August 21st, 2010, 08:58 PM
Do most NYC Jews care about the mosque?

Most Jews that I know, including people in my extended family (though I am not Jewish), wrongly regard Muslims as violent people. For that matter, many Christians do too. The irony is that Jews and Christians have exploited, victimized and brutalized Muslims for a long time. I am sickened when Americans villify Iran considering our atrocious conduct vis-a-vis that country over the past sixty years.

Personally, I'm happy not to be affiliated with any religion. I heard a great quote to the effect that "there's enough religion in the world to cause problems but not enough to solve them."

August 22nd, 2010, 07:30 PM
I almost want to say this will be a waste of money. But hopefully this will give the tenants who have the misfortune of experiencing Water St. daily an incentive to stay and renew their leases. But I doubt this will attract anyone who doesn't work there; thus not attract better retail that would enliven the street after office hours.

What would really attract people from all over to the East Side is a great waterfront. If only the city could find a way to expand the island a little more into the river.

My "if I had 50 billion bucks wishlist":

Tear down the FDR.

Do the Pier 17 redevelopment. Though I don't mind the tourist trap that exists there already.

Build 80 South Street

Get a large cultural institution(s) to build an iconic structure on the waterfront.

A Ferris wheel. Perhaps on a pier. The orientation pictured doesn't make sense.

Tear down 111 Wall and build a large residential/hotel tower to redefine the skyline.
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4078/4917463029_eccaf9b467_z.jpg http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4099/4918062752_07460a36f9_z.jpg

Build 2 or 3 residential towers in front of it, and most importantly, a large park.

Build a more elegant version of Calatrava's Gondola


And finally at the southern end, a tower celebrating the beginning of the island. Maybe on the site where the coast guard has its ugly building.


August 23rd, 2010, 10:51 AM
Most Jews that I know, including people in my extended family (though I am not Jewish), wrongly regard Muslims as violent people. For that matter, many Christians do too. The irony is that Jews and Christians have exploited, victimized and brutalized Muslims for a long time. I am sickened when Americans villify Iran considering our atrocious conduct vis-a-vis that country over the past sixty years.

Personally, I'm happy not to be affiliated with any religion. I heard a great quote to the effect that "there's enough religion in the world to cause problems but not enough to solve them."

Here is an alternative view from a coalition of Jewish community leaders.


Jewish community leaders gathered at the site of the proposed mosque and community center -- called the Cordoba Initiative (http://www.cordobainitiative.org/)-- Thursday afternoon to express their support for the controversial project.

"As Jews committed to religious freedom, to honest dialogue, to peacemaking, and to the celebration of the One God, we strongly support the plans of the Cordoba Initiative (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/topics?topic=Cordoba+Initiative) to build a mosque and Islamic cultural center at the tip of Manhattan, near the site of the World Trade Centers destroyed on 9/11," said Rabbi Ellen Lippman (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/topics?topic=Ellen+Lippman) at the rally.

Daisy Khan (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/topics?topic=Daisy+Khan), co-founder of the Cordoba Initiative and wife of Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/topics?topic=Feisal+Abdul+Rauf), also spoke briefly at the rally, thanking the New York City Jewish community for their support. Rabbi Lippman presented Khan with traditional Jewish housewarming gifts: bread, honey, salt, and a candle, representing sustenance, sweetness, spice, and light.

The proposal to build the mosque has sparked widespread controversy throughout the city and garnered nationwide reaction as politicians, religious leaders and civilians alike weigh in on the plan. Some say that building a mosque two blocks from the World Trade Center is "an intolerable and tragic mistake," in the words of Sarah Palin, who came out against the mosque on her Facebook (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/Facebook-Users-Remove-Palins-Note-about-Ground-Zero-Mosque-99031069.html).

The project's source of funding is also a source of controversy. Imam Rauf has said that the estimated $100 million would be raised in the U.S., but told a London-based Arabic newspaper that the money would come from Muslims throughout the world. Skeptics, concerned that the center will have foreign funding, which could conceivably come from fundamentalist Islamic groups, have expressed frustration that Rauf Rauf has not named any specific sources of funding as of yet.

The Siena Research Institute (SRI) released a poll Thursday (http://www.siena.edu/uploadedfiles/home/parents_and_community/community_page/sri/independent_research/Imm0710%20Release.pdf)that showed that 61 percent of New Yorkers oppose the mosque's construction. The poll also found that "over half of all New Yorkers and NYC residents either agree that the project would prmote tolerance or are, at least, willing to listen," SRI Director Don Levy said in the release.

Khan declined to answer questions, but Rabbi Arthur Waskow (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/topics?topic=Arthur+Waskow) of the Shalom Center said of the funding: "We don't want to deal with that right now. This is a time for celebration, for welcoming. When you give people salt, bread, honey and candles, you don't ask them 'Now who paid to put up the house?' You welcome them into the house. that's what we are here to do."
After the rally, Lippman told reporters that the Jewish communities represented at the rally have no information about the Cordoba Institute's funding, nor do they have any plans to fundraise for the center in the immediate future.

Rally speakers also criticized the ADL's recent statement in opposition to the Cordoba Center's construction. "Though the ADL has often done good work, in this specific case -- whatever its intention--it has undermined those very adherents of Islam who uphold the Quran's teachings of peace, who condemn terrorsm, and who share with some Jews, some Christians, and some others a commitment to the Unity of God," said Lippman.

Rabbi Waskow concluded his statement at the rally with an anecdote: "I've heard some people say 'well, if it was just the community center, okay, but a mosque?' reminds me of an old Jewish story about somebody who came to a synagogue on Yom Kippur but he didn't have a ticket, and [had to] the person at the door, and finally the guy at the door said 'all right, i'll let you in--but i don't want to catch you praying!' I want to catch us, us Jews, us Muslims, us Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, meditating, praying, not in the same identical ways with each other, but with each other toward the One who is beyond us all."
The rally comes after the Landmark Preservation Committee decided on Tuesday not to grand landmark status to the building scheduled to be demolished as part of the construction, clearing the way for the project to continue. Opponents of the construction, however, have launched a lawsuit challenging the committee's decision.

November 11th, 2010, 02:02 PM
One block from Water St

The city's first pop-up cafe opened this past summer at the curb in front of two restaurants on Pearl St between Coenties Slip and Broad St.


The program was a financial success, so the site will be re-assembled next spring. The DOT will expand the program next year, and is taking requests for 12 more sites.


Pop-Up Café Will Pop Again Next Spring

A thumbs-up from the Financial District Committee

Residents and workers on Pearl Street can expect to see the wooden deck and red seating of Pearl Street's pop-up café again next May. The pilot got a thumbs-up from the Financial District Committee of Community Board 1 (CB1) last week and will come before the full board for approval at the end of this month.

The pilot began when Bombay Indian restaurant and Fika Espresso Bars on Pearl Street (between Broad Street and Coenties Slip) wrote to the Department of Transportation (DOT) asking for café space on the street. The DOT responded by eliminating two parking spots to create a 50-seat public space in the street across from the eateries and got volunteers to build the café area. In exchange, the restaurants paid $20,000 for construction materials and additional expenses for maintenance.

DOT representative Ed Janoff said an analysis of business profits during the pop-up café's operation showed an increase in Bombay's profits by 14% from 2009 and Fika's profits by 9-15% from the time of its opening this year. Business increased despite the DOT caveat that all transactions and service occur inside, and the seating remain public, said Mr. Janoff.

Lars Akerlund, one of Fika's owners, said "it was a real downfall in nice weather to have the only outdoor seating on Stone Street. Who wants to sit inside on a nice day? Before this we only had trucks going by and nobody ever saw our nice store front." The fact that the materials for constructing the café can be taken down in November, stored during the winter, and taken out again next season makes the café a worthwhile investment, said Mr. Akerlund.

Last Thursday, the DOT opened up the pop-up idea to restaurants around the city. The DOT will select 12 pop-up café spots from the applicants.

Dianne Renzulli

November 11th, 2010, 07:03 PM
That's awesome. This stunning spot was made even better.

November 12th, 2010, 02:02 PM
This city really does need to get creative and find room for more outdoor dining. It's what people want.

November 12th, 2010, 05:03 PM
FIKA is ok, Burger Burger across the street is WAY better. The space is good, but there are actually a wide variety of nice outdoor seating spaces in the area. They're tough to point out on a satellite photo because of the shadows from buildings. That said, there's about 6 off the top of my head within a few blocks. I do love the extra outdoor seating space attached to the restaurant. Maybe the Urban Lobster Shack (GO THERE!) could get a spot in front of it.

November 12th, 2010, 08:20 PM
This city really does need to get creative and find room for more outdoor dining. It's what people want.

Yes...and drinking :).

Standard Beer Garden Now Year-Round


Fans of The Standard's beer garden won't have to leave the premises when the weather cools. The hotel has put up a new enclosure around the space, with heat lamps, for year-round fun.

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/11/12/standard_beer_garden_now_yearround_rules_for_dark_ dining.php

November 13th, 2010, 03:23 PM
^ that's great!

November 15th, 2010, 02:34 PM
Agreed, I've had fun there, though it gets packed, so it might be the best time to go will be when it gets colder.

January 25th, 2011, 06:08 AM
January 24, 2011 12:32 PM

City to spur Water Street arcades, street life

Proposes zoning change aims to add more activity to arcades on one of lower Manhattan's leading thoroughfares; turning “underutilized street” into a neighborhood “asset.”

By Amanda Fung (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/personalia/19/Amanda+Fung)

http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CN/20110124/REAL_ESTATE/110129949/AR/77-Water.jpg&q=100&MaxW=320&border=0 (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CN/20110124/REAL_ESTATE/110129949/AR/77-Water.jpg&q=100&MaxW=800)Department of City Planning [+] Enlarge (http://www.crainsnewyork.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/storyimage/CN/20110124/REAL_ESTATE/110129949/AR/77-Water.jpg&q=100&MaxW=800)
77 Water St. is one of the arcades the city aims to improve.

The Department of City Planning is expected to propose Monday afternoon a zoning change that would encourage public use of sidewalk arcades along Water Street in lower Manhattan.

The zoning change would allow local business and property owners to place tables and chairs year-round in arcades along Water Street as an amenity to the public. The move is part of the city's effort to transform lower Manhattan into a bustling, pedestrian friendly area and encourage use of these arcades by workers, visitors and residents in the neighborhood.

“Allowing tables and chairs to locate in arcades may seem like a small change, but it will greatly enhance the public use of this underutilized street and become an asset to the lower Manhattan community, connecting visitors from the South Street Seaport area down to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden, in a statement. “A lively and attractive pedestrian realm is key to promoting vibrant retail corridors throughout the five boroughs.”

The proposal will be referred to Community Board 1 and the Manhattan borough president's office. Both will review the zoning text amendment for a 60-day period. After that review, the City Planning Commission and City Council will vote on the change. A City Planning spokeswoman said the plan so far appears to have local support.

The change follows similar efforts by local groups to liven up the area. Last year, The Alliance for Downtown New York unveiled its plan for four major changes to Water Street that would transform it into a thriving commercial corridor. The plan includes calling for improving sightlines from Water Street over to the East River waterfront and reconfiguring ground floor spaces on the street to allow more uses, including retail.


January 25th, 2011, 06:17 AM
City's Plan for Fixing Water Street: New Tables and Chairs!

January 24, 2011, by Joey Arak

Down in the Financial District, great minds have been working on ways to liven up Water Street, a grim corridor of bland modern office buildings and antiseptic public arcades. Last year the Downtown Alliance came up with some funky ideas (http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/06/21/fidis_water_street_hopes_to_look_more_like_park_av enue.php) to activate the public spaces, and now the Department of City Planning is getting in on the fun. The agency's big idea? Seating! City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden just announced a proposed zoning amendment that would allow tables and chairs to be placed year-round in the street-level public arcades that developers tacked onto their skyscrapers in order to milk zoning bonuses.

It doesn't sound like much, but City Planning sure is pumped: "The zoning text amendment, called the Lower Manhattan Arcades Modification, would allow movable tables and chairs to be located year-round in these arcades, supporting active ground-floor uses such as cafés to help enliven Water Street. The tables and chairs would also serve as a continuous visual cue of seating, possibly with umbrellas, drawing people along Water Street. This will transform the underutilized arcades into attractive and active environments for pedestrians." Possibly with umbrellas? Let's not get crazy!

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2011/01/24/citys_plan_for_fixing_water_street_new_tables_and_ chairs.php

January 25th, 2011, 11:00 PM
The rendering looks very nice ;).

Water Street Floats: Can Folding Chairs Save a FiDi Freeway?

By Matt Chaban


Most streets in the Financial District are a warren of glorified cow paths and back alleys that date back to the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdaam. One of the rare exceptions is Water Street, which once was at the historic water line but was built out with landfill centuries ago. Now the street spans eight lanes and might as well be an expressway cutting off access between the increasingly active neighborhood and its burgeoning waterfront.

The Department of City Planning hopes to address some of these problems with a novel solution: tables and chairs.

Many of the office buildings lining Water Street were built with tower-boosting plazas. In exchange for public open space, developers could build taller buildings. But this has not only widened the canyon on Water Street to a Grand scale but also left much of this space windswept and empty, driving away the human activity these plazas and arcades were meant to promote. (See, crowded sidewalks aren't always bad.)

Under the new zoning amendment, landlords will be able to set up temporary tables and chairs for public use, an act that was once forbidden, and cafe and other restaurant uses within the ground floors of buildings are even encouraged.

If this seems like a modest proposal, consider a few prominent examples. When the city shut down Times Square, similar seating was installed and became a huge success. Meanwhile, the closure of nearby Stone Street and the setting up of tables and chairs have turned it into the Financial District's own restaurant row. And last summer a pilot sidewalk cafe program was launched, turning parking spaces on Pearl Street into outdoor eateries—it was such a hit, the program is being expanded to 10 sites in the coming months.

"How New York City looks and feels at the street level affects how we all experience the city," City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden said in a release. "By allowing tables and chairs to locate in Water Street arcades, this proposal will help the street reach its potential as a vibrant and dynamic place where office workers, residents and tourists will be able to have their lunches, or simply rest and linger, under the shelter of public arcades."

And this is only the beginning of the transformation of Water Street. Last year, the Downtown Alliance released a dramatic vision for the thoroughfare that included new street trees, a Park Avenue-style median, even a Times Square-like light show. A department official told The Observer that this is the first, quick step in transforming Water, and, pending approvals, tables could begin popping up by the summer.

Elizabeth Berger, executive director of the Downtown Alliance and Lower Manhattan's biggest fan, sees the proposal as a boon for the area. "We applaud Commissioner Burden's proposal to enliven Water Street with outdoor seating," Berger said in an email. "Water Street is Lower Manhattan's prime commercial corridor, and this is great news for the 70,000 people who work there, the 5,000 people who live there, and the millions of annual visitors to the cultural and historic attractions on the east side of Lower Manhattan."


February 4th, 2011, 06:20 AM
City plans to make Water Street pedestrian friendly

BY Aline Reynolds


Above is an example of the few options that presently exist for pedestrains to relax along Water Street.

Workers and residents near Water Street will have an added incentive to eat and schmooze outdoors in the summer months, thanks to a new city plan to spruce up the area’s open spaces.

The city’s Department of City Planning proposed a modification in the zoning of arcades in and around Water Street to enrich its streetscape and promote economic welfare of its businesses. The Water Street corridor connects visitors from the South Street Seaport to the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

“Although Water Street is a main corridor for Lower Manhattan’s financial core, it is a lackluster environment for pedestrians, with underutilized arcades and few active ground-floor uses,” said City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden.

The zoning change would allow for the installation of year-round tables, chairs umbrellas and litter receptacles in the seventeen arcades situated along Pearl, South and Fulton and Whitehall Streets. Many of them now lack amenities for pedestrians.

Creating lively and attractive meeting spots for pedestrians, Burden said, is key to promoting retail corridors Downtown and around the city.

“By allowing tables and chairs to locate in Water Street arcades,” said Burden, “this proposal will help the street reach its potential as a vibrant and dynamic place where office workers, residents and tourists will be able to have their lunches, or simply rest and linger, under the shelter of public arcades.”

Several people that work in businesses on Water Street are optimistic about the project.

“I think it’s going to help all the businesses on the street,” said Au Bon Pain General Manager Tara Marcelle, in terms of attracting tourists and new regulars to the eateries.

Joey Ramach, manager of Flavors Café at 175 Water Street, said additional outdoor seating would “send the right signals” to pedestrians. Though the café already sets up tables and chairs of their own during the summer months, Ramach said there is always a need for more outdoor public seating.

“It’s good when you see people sitting outside in front of the stores,” said Ramach. “It would be more encouraging for other customers to come in the cafes.”

“The location will look much better than before,” echoed Danny David, manager of Water Street Deli and Pizza. It might not help out the businesses, he said, but it would attract more nearby residents outdoors.

Gloria Veelez, who works in the building at 60 Water Street, agreed that additional outdoor seating would enhance the street’s ambience. “It’s a good idea for the summertime,” especially, she said, when she and her colleagues enjoy their lunch breaks outdoors.

Not everyone, however, is in favor of the idea. Jenny Lee, who works at Café Water at 130 Water Street, said that extra seating could pose problems on rainy days, when water tends to accumulate on the sidewalks.

Judith Goldiner, an attorney at the Legal Aid Society, at 199 Water Street, said she would prefer to see additional seating along the waterfront.

“I think people would buy sandwiches or salads and walk over to the water,” said Goldiner. “As you walk North or South, there’s not a lot.”

Landi Edwards, a criminologist who works at 199 Water Street, fears the outdoor furniture could block wheelchair access to the street. Edwards commutes everyday from Queens via Access-A-Ride.

“If it’s going to cause traffic or [lane] closures, it could cause a problem,” said Edwards. “I’m not against it, but I hope they take that into consideration.”

A Department of City Planning spokesperson, however, assured that street lane closures are not expected, and that the proposal applies only to the arcades and not to other parts of the sidewalk. The proposal also requires a clear path of three-to-six feet in the arcades.

The zoning change proposal carries out the missions of PlaNYC, Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 25-year initiative that involves fixing up underutilized streets, sidewalks and other public spaces in communities around the city.

The plans for Water Street, according to Burden, “further Lower Manhattan’s transformation into a mixed-use, 24/7 neighborhood, where people can live, work, shop and recreate in a walkable, bikeable community.”

Community Board 1 and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer have 60 days to make recommendations about proposed zoning change. It will then be handed back to the City Planning Commission for a public hearing and vote before it is submitted to City Council for final approval.

If all goes as planned, tables and chairs could be installed as soon as the summer, according to City Planning.

The project, if approved, will coincide with several other urban planning projects the city is undertaking Downtown, such as the overhaul of the East River Esplanade; security and street improvements to the New York Stock Exchange; and pedestrian and retail enhancements to Fulton Street.


March 30th, 2011, 07:46 AM
I hope that this comes to fruition.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704559904576231090319016456.html?m od=WSJ_hpp_sections_newyork

New Flow Seen for Water Street



A rendering of a proposed redesign for the Water Street streetscape that includes a median and more trees.
.Lower Manhattan's Water Street could be next on the list of city thoroughfares slated for a major overhaul.

New York City has remade miles of streets by taking space from cars and giving it to pedestrians, cyclists and buses, but the Financial District has been mostly untouched. Now the city's Economic Development Corporation is looking for consultants to do a more in-depth analysis of the street and propose changes that would create a "pedestrian-oriented environment."

The move comes in response to the urging of the Downtown Alliance, a group that seeks to promote development in Lower Manhattan. The organization last summer released a study that proposed turning Water Street between the South Street Seaport and the Staten Island Ferry terminal at Whitehall into an "iconic boulevard," with fewer traffic lanes, more trees and more space for pedestrians.

"The potential improvements will transform Water Street into an active pedestrian destination for the entire area to enjoy," said Kyle Sklerov, a spokesman for the agency.

According to its request for proposals, the city wants a consultant to consider including a median in the middle of the street, more trees, public art and lighting changes.

Water Street is one of the few places amid the canyons and narrow streets of Lower Manhattan with enough space to accommodate such elements. As of now, it carries two lanes of traffic in each direction. Office buildings housing companies such as Standard & Poor's and the city's Department of Transportation—which has carried out many of the street redesigns—sit back from wide sidewalks.

The Downtown Alliance says the area is "predominantly commercial in use, deserted in the evenings and on weekends, lacking retail options and restaurants."

Nicole LaRusso, a senior vice president for planning and economic development, said the group is hoping that the street ends up with "that Park Avenue feel."

"I think Water Street could have that same sort of cachet with the kind of aesthetic improvements that we suggested in that study," she said.

Bike lanes—perhaps the most controversial change city has made to its streets—won't be included. The request for proposals says they can't be accommodated on Water Street.

"The curb should really be for commercial uses, loading and unloading deliveries, taxi pickup, black cars," Ms. LaRusso said. She said cyclists would have a dedicated bike lane a block away, along the East River Esplanade being constructed by the city. The first phase of that project, between Maiden Lane and Wall Street, is slated to open in May.

Write to Andrew Grossman at andrew.grossman@wsj.com

April 15th, 2011, 08:55 AM
Barcadia: A Water Street Revival

NYC Planning presses for 23-block makeover of a desolate stretch of lower Manhattan

Tom Stoelker

New zoning for the mostly corporate corridor of Water Street hopes to bring a shot of vitality to a sterile stretch of lower Manhattan. The measure, unanimously passed by the Department of City Planning on Tuesday, will allow cafe seating to spill out from arcades, the recessed area within a tower that incorporates the sidewalk a few feet into the ground floor level. The arcades were initially intended to shield pedestrians from inclement weather, but they never really fulfilled their intended function. “They’re such a bad idea because the retail is behind it,” Commissioner Amanda Burden said during a review session. The commissioner went so far as to describe the street scene in the 23-block area as “dead” and “dying.”

With Condé Nast, The Daily News, and Newsweek/The Daily Beast all expected to relocate downtown, the East River Waterfront park set to open next month, new residential towers bringing 30,000 well-heeled residents, and millions of World Trade tourists expected, an unwelcoming Water Street seems off-message.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/water_street_arcades_01.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/water_street_arcades_01.jpg)
Land use map surrounding Water Street in lower Manhattan.
Courtesy NYC Planning

The bill is now on its way to City Council for approval. If all goes as planned the area could see tables and chairs by summertime. Looking forward, the New York Economic Development Corporation put out an RFP for enhancing the street life. The RFP calls for streetscape design, identity enhancement, and adding a landscaped median to soften the concrete corridor, thus linking east side parks to west side parks at the recently landscaped Peter Minuit Plaza.

The new café zoning stipulates that 40 percent of the seating be set aside for the public and the remaining 60 percent be designated to the cafe. As the proposal prohibits dividers such as planters or low walls to differentiate the seating, Commissioner Anna Hayes Levin voiced concern during the public hearing about how the public would know that part of the seating was there for them and not just cafe customers.

Downtown Alliance spokesperson James Yolles predicted that restaurants would come up with creative ways to differentiate between public and private, perhaps using different tables or chairs. Regardless, Alliance testimony posited that activating the arcades is critical for the 70,000 people who work in the area. It didn’t seem to quell Levin’s concerns of an unabated “cafe creep” which would lay claim to the area. CB1 Director of Land Use and Planning Michael Levine assured the commissioners that if cafe proliferation becomes a problem, the board would come back to the commission and address it. After the hearing he added, “We should live so long to see that it’s a problem.”


April 15th, 2011, 09:30 AM
I really hope that this happens.

April 15th, 2011, 10:40 AM
me too! it really is dead now with all that wasted space. I think the potential is there. Bring on the trees, get generous with liquor licenses and allow music.

April 15th, 2011, 11:24 AM
I agree with you, amigo. This can become downtown's Champs Elysee!

April 15th, 2011, 11:48 AM
If would be, if the buildings were less brutalistic concrete.

April 15th, 2011, 01:29 PM
An insertion of trees and green at the base can go a long way towards softening the hard edge of buildings above. The new pedestrian plazas at Madison Square / Fifth / West 23rd, where yesterday dogwoods & tulips & daffodils were in full bloom and where dozens of folks were enjoying the sun at little chairs & tables along stretches of former street scape, shows how quickly an area can be transformed.

April 15th, 2011, 03:19 PM
If would be, if the buildings were less brutalistic concrete.

The bulk of the buildings along Water are not brutalistic concrete.

May I respectfully ask where are you from? I'm not being confrontational, as you seem quite nice, but you don't seem to know NY well.

April 15th, 2011, 04:21 PM
I passed through Madison Sq. the other day too, and the flowering trees did look lovely....so many people sitting out enjoying the plaza.

For street life, what's happening down at street level (cafes, trees, music) will far outweigh what's going on up above. I believe this can be successful if done right and the area really needs a shot in the a..

April 15th, 2011, 04:45 PM
I spent a few minutes on google street view just now and realized a bigger problem than the architecture upstairs...the arcades I saw were backed by a Duane Reade, banks, a Verizon, a Boltons...there doesn't seem to be many businesses there for cafe tables to actually spill out of:confused:

oh dear :(

March 12th, 2013, 08:06 AM
New Pedestrian Plazas Coming to Water Street

By Irene Plagianos







FINANCIAL DISTRICT — Water Street is getting a pedestrian-friendly facelift.

The Department of Transportation is creating new plazas along the Financial District thoroughfare, from Whitehall Street up to Fulton Street, as well as shortening several crosswalks.

The DOT plans to shut down traffic on Coentis Slip, between Water and Pearl streets, and Gouverneur Lane, between Water and Front streets, to turn the blocks into public seating areas, with granite slabs and potted plants, much like the pedestrian plaza that opened at the southern end of Water Street in 2011 (http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/home/home.shtml).

And that original Water Street plaza, which sits across from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal at Whitehall Street, will be extended up to Broad Street, the DOT said.

The upgrades will begin this spring and are slated to be done by Labor Day, officials said.

The idea is to better utilize, and beautify, the narrow pathways that lead to the waterfront, said Sean Quinn, planning coordinator for the DOT, in a presentation to Community Board 1's Financial District Committee this week.

"These are transformative, positive improvements to Water Street," said Catherine McVay Hughes, chairwoman of CB1. "It will certainly be nice to see new, beautiful potted plants lining the street and to see areas activated and enlivened."

The DOT will also bump out the curbs on parts of Water Street between Whitehall and Fulton streets to shorten the crosswalks, adding new painted pedestrian areas, Quinn said.

In the future, the DOT will consider changing the bus stops on Water Street, which residents have complained are too frequent for the congested area.

In a separate plan to revitalize Water Street, the Department of City Planning is launching a pilot program that would enable office tower owners to hold public events on the plazas outside their buildings.

Landlords along Water Street own more than 40 public plazas and open spaces that could host tasting events, fitness programs and other activities, city officials said.

The Department of City Planning's program would allow the buildings to run events without having to apply for a special permit each time, as is currently the case.

The pilot, which would run from July 4 through the end of the year, still needs approval from the City Council, but CB1 gave its advisory support this week.


March 12th, 2013, 08:44 PM
Without some on street parking/cutting Water St. down to one lane in each direction, I fear traffic is still going to be traveling WAY faster than it should be for an acceptable pedestrian experience. There's a ton of potential here, though.

March 12th, 2013, 10:07 PM
They need to widen the sidewalks, add trees, and add a tree filled median.

September 10th, 2013, 08:51 AM
The best spot on Water Street

Coenties Slip was already a good pedestrian space, but the street closing and removal of the curb lane on both sides of Water St have made it outstanding. Crossing the street is a lot less intimidating, and I've noticed that a lot of people buy lunch at Coenties Slip and take it across the street to the Vietnam Memorial, itself a good space.





An open view corridor from Stone St to the East River.


September 10th, 2013, 09:57 AM
I just never get down there. It's like a field trip.

September 11th, 2013, 09:33 PM
We need more of that. I hope that the Water Street plan is ultimately embraced.