Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Five years later, Astor Place apparently ready for its 2-year reconstruction project



You've likely sign on the signs of pending reconstruction around Cooper Square and Astor Place...



...where the long-discussed two-year (right!) project is set to start...





Among other things, workers have cleared the bike racks from the area around the Alamo ...



... and moved the Citi Bikes docking station from outside Cooper Union to...



...East Seventh Street and Taras Shevchenko Place ...



We heard about the plan back in 2008... By now, we completely forget what is actually happening here (well, the sign above lays it out...)...So we'll go to Curbed, who reported on this Monday, for details:

The four-part plan will enlarge and revamp the plazas around the Alamo and the uptown 6 subway stop, as well as widen the sidewalks near Cooper Square and freshen up Cooper Park. The biggest change will ease the jumbled intersection of Cooper Square, Fourth Avenue, the Bowery, and 5th Street with creation of the 8,000-square-foot Village Plaza. Every section will see new trees and more plantings, new seating, and new lighting, and construction will last for two years.



And here is the official PDF with the plans and stuff.



Any thoughts on what is about to happen here...?

[H/T EVG reader Wally J.]

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

With these designs, I'm not to sure why they didnt just make that section of 4th ave a park also??? As if you can't turn left at 6th anymore, and the buses can't park there, what's the point??

THE NOTORIOUS L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. said...

Another banal office park. Can't wait to walk by and glare at its mediocrity.

THE NOTORIOUS L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N. said...

And how is this a park? It's 95% concrete.

Anonymous said...

This looks like it's going to be a nightmare....

Anonymous said...

Pretty enough... in a bland and generic way. But definitely NOT a gateway to the East Village. Ever since moving to EV in the 70s I'd exhale a bit passing through the plaza, seeing the cube, knowing I was returning home. There is nothing about my home, my neighborhood in this plan for the Astor reno. This is someone else's world.

Zach said...

when is est completion?

EV Grieve said...

@ Zach

Two years, allegedly

Anonymous said...

Okay complainers next time you are in this spot take a good look at it and tell me why it is so special and "east village-y" now. The existing layout is chaotic, a pedestrian and traffic free for all, and lacking in anything green except for hair dye on some pseudo-punk kids head. There has been a Starbucks in the square for several years already so at least we won't get another one of those here. Cooper Union is a beautiful and historic building and I enjoyed taking a few minutes to really check it out after 30 years of just passing through this open space. The only negative I can see is the mid-town south rebranding effort developers are pushing for however a location is not only defined by its buildings but the people that live and hangout there. If you want this place to keep its coolness then how about planting your cool ass on one of the benches there.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why they talk about more efficient traffic flow, when it's easily the emptiest (of cars) intersection in the entire city. I guess this means, in city hypocrisy-talk, that we can look forward to gridlock rivalling that of 2nd Ave. and Houston St. And what are those poor trees planted in? They look like giant melted bathtubs.

bowery boy said...

"There has been a Starbucks in the square for several years already so at least we won't get another one..."

It was not very long ago that there were 2 Starbucks at that intersection, so don't be so sure we wont get another there in the near future.

Somce change there can't be entirely bad, but I agree with the early-rising Anon 7:10am that Astor Pl and Cooper Union Park should be connected by making that stretch of 4th Ave into park space.

Anonymous said...

@kfbeau...
Are you arguing with yourself?

Giovanni said...

Is it true they are planning to melt down the cube and turn it into a giant flashing neon sign that reads "Welcome to BroHo?"

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the complaints. As a former NYU student I believe these changes are GREAT! I think the added trees will add to the space.

In terms of traffic flow, YES, these changes will make traffic flow more efficient. An empty street means an unused or rarely-used street which means that your tax money is still paying to repair potholes in that street. By getting rid of it and adding more walking space you streamline traffic, you give people more SAFE places to walk and hang out, and that's less wasted tax money.

How about a little more faith in these changes? NYC is CONSTANTLY under construction with repairs being made, buildings being torn down, and others being built. The city is ALWAYS in transition. It can't be the same forever.

Anonymous said...

This is another Bloomberg 'streamlining' project. However, instead of 'streamlining' traffic, this will, as with every one of his improvements, be a slowdown. I'm not sure why the doublespeak is so loud on his plans.

nygrump said...

Wonder if they will take down the fence around Cooper Square, old photos show this was never there. They'll probably fence in the whole block - no way they will allow this to be 24 hours usage.

FivePoint said...

The views expressed in this comment thread are parochial to the point of ridiculousness. There's a thin line between being supporting the preservation and heritage of a neighborhood and just being against any and all change because new things are bad and derp derp I don't like it.

What is Astor place like now? It's an important transit hub--the 6 station is one of the primary subway access points for NYU, NoHo and the East Village. It's a space that people naturally pass through when traveling East-West from Greenwich Village to the East Village and Alphabet City beyond, and as such, it's an important community space that naturally attracts residents, students, workers, performers and everyone else who happens to be passing through the neighborhood. In its current iteration, it's also an amazingly flawed space. The traffic flow is confusing, with automobile and pedestrian traffic often clashing with each other. It doesn't have enough greenery and public space for the number of people who use it. Cooper Park is there, but it's essentially cut off from the rest of the area and--honestly, it's hard to access and isn't particularly inviting.

This is a plan to make slight changes to the area by adding more trees, more greenery, more public space and making improvements to the flow of pedestrian and automobile traffic.

Things change. Cities evolve, sometimes in good ways, sometimes not. But for once, the city seems interested in making changes to the street scape to favor pedestrians, cyclists and public space. How is this bad?

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous

"kfbeau...
Are you arguing with yourself?"

No, its called weighing pros vs cons, it's what non radicals do.

Anonymous said...

this project was designed by the community over several years of public meetings held jointly by community boards 2 and 3.

Anonymous said...

You know, i don't object to the change. It's actually a very poorly designed space.

What bothers me is that we are headed towards another long round of construction, after dealing with the Death Star going up for the past two years.

But it's true that Astor Place could be made much safer and I wouldn't mind a bunch of trees in the middle of it...

Richard Bensam said...

I've been in favor of this plan from the start. That area is way less pedestrian friendly than it ought to be...and unlike pretty much every other change we've seen at that intersection over the past several years, these changes will be an improvement. It's unfortunate this spot will remain home to the three ugliest buildings in New York City, but improving access for people walking can't change that one way or another.

Scooby said...

Thoughts?... BOLLOCKS!!

Sterile characterless plaza of concrete - NOT a park. Agreed, LIBERATION - parks have trees and grass.

What crap - who thinks this shit up?

Anonymous said...

All we need now is a Banana Republic on the ground floor of Deathstar, and voila, the real Midtown South!

Anonymous said...

To all the complainers: It's hell getting old.

Anonymous said...

The people shaping this city have a limited vision,and an even limited budget which is why everything looks so damn cheap. Meanwhile the Death Star sits empty.

Anonymous said...

It's an improvement, and I welcome it. Could be even better with more green, though, and converting that entire stretch of 4th Ave into park area as well.

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

Why on earth should such a minor reconfiguration take 2 years? Should be doable in 2 weeks.

- East Villager

Scooby said...

Anonymous 7:48 - not really. And it's a helluva lot better than accepting CRAP in life!

Giovanni said...

Not all progress is good. This looks like what they did to Washington Square Park when they put in the polished stone benches around the fountain that are way too hot to sit on on the middle of the summer. The design might look great on paper, but too many architects and designers have no idea how to make these spaces usable for real people. We will have to wait and see but I can already smell something that's just one turd short of a shit-show.

Besides the Death Star and the upcoming BroHo Central Pedestrian Mall, here are a few other examples of "progress" that actually made the world a much worse planet to live on:

Vanilla Milkshake Pop Tarts
The Atom Bomb
New Coke
Agent Orange
CueCat
Subprime Mortgages
Nintendo Virtual Boy
Farmville
Hair in a Can
No Child Left Behind
DDT
Auto-Tune
Red Dye No. 2
Crocs
Pop-Up Ads
Phone Fingers
CFCs
Plastic Grocery Bags
Bumpit
Venetian-Blind Sunglasses
Pontiac Aztek
Snuggie for Dogs
Asbestos
Olestra
Fake Ponytails
HeadOn
Tamagotchis
Leaded Gasoline
Smell-o-Vision
Microsoft Bob

And finally on the list of dumb ideas is renaming the Queensboro Bridge as The Ed Koch Queesnboro Bridge. It will always be the 59th Street Bridge. Same goes for CitiField, it will always be Shea Stadium. and if we ever have to name anything after Bloomberg, please let it be Rikers Island since his favorite policy is Stop & Frisk.

Anonymous said...

anything to take space from cars and give it to pedestrians is a good thing.

Anonymous said...

"anything to take space from cars and give it to pedestrians is a good thing."

YES.

- East Villager

Bobby Gorman said...

I too see this as an "uptowning" of the East Village. "Diverse seating options" and "café seating". That sounds like crass commercialism on its way to Astor Place - one of the few spots not already overwhelmed by it. And, how does this help traffic flow? Cutting off, and or re-routing the eastbound M8 Crosstown. The wide no-parking-on-either-side stretch of St Mark's Place from 3rd to 2nd Avenues is what eases the traffic coming east on 8th St. Looks to me like this will create a snarl with re-routed traffic having to make several turns in the area. Then what? Route it (with no turns allowed)all the way down to Houston St, or over to the narrow 10th St? More pollution, more blocked intersections, and inconvenienced MTA riders. There must be a better way.

Anonymous said...

Pretty stupid; really alienating; lots more vacant high-end retail space.

Anonymous said...

"To all the complainers: It's hell getting old."

That would be a complaint.

TheBlueMan said...

It's not that i don't like parks. It's that the input of neighborhoods and people who live there are being left out of the development process. Neighborhoods have their own unique histories and legacies. Astor Place has been a public area and historically known as a protest site for 100 years. Turning it into a private pedestrian area prevents people from protesting and allows cops to make as many arrests as they want when people start actively protesting changes brought on by corporate America. Wanna keep a neighborhood tradition but still have a park? Make it a 24/7 public park, allow loitering, and hell put in a skatepark for the skaterkids since skating around Astor place is a tradition and lord knows they have more than enough concrete with what this current concrete park looks like ;). -just a New York Wanderer