Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Report: Astor Place reconstruction now slated for a fall completion

The completion date for the reconstruction of Astor Place and Cooper Square has been pushed back from summer to fall, DNAinfo reports.

A spokesperson for the Department of Design and Construction didn't offer any reasons as to why the multi-year(s) project will be delayed by one season.

“We anticipate construction completion in the Fall and will continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation], Parks and the community for any updates about this project,” said public information officer Shavone Williams in an email.

The work, which started in September 2013 and was expected to take two years, has included reconfiguring/revamping the Astor Place/Cooper Square streetscape with three new permanent plazas, additional seating, trees and a new design for Peter Cooper Park.

No word if this delay will impact the return of the Alamo, originally set for June 22 then moved to some time in August. Which, based on the ongoing delays, might mean October.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Five years later, Astor Place apparently ready for its 2-year reconstruction project

The all-new Astor Place is coming along (for real)



Death Valley is more inviting than Astor Place is in its current state.

By cutting down the large tress and replacing them with parsley springs, there is no place to escape the harsh direct sunlight that falls on the area all. day. long.

And then there's the wind. The lack of trees, coupled with the sheer glass Death Star which is 6 times taller than the building it replaced, has created a cavern of wind on par with that near the John Hancock Tower in Boston. When I worked in the area in the 90s, they had to place staff by the doors of the Hancock Tower to catch people because the wind was so violently strong, it hit the building and knocked people over. This effect has been duplicated in Astor Place.

Finally, mix in the toxic varnish they are painting all of the pavement width and Astor Place has gone from being a place used to enjoy to one people run through. GOOD LUCK getting people to sit and eat food there. What they failed to realize as this pedestrian plaza fail was fabricated is that people spend time in Washington Square Park because it's a PARK, not an ugly gray parking lot.

cmarrtyy said...

The construction will not be as painful in hindsight as the fact that we have to live with this concrete mess.

eastvillagesiren said...

It is quite unattractive and seems to be of poor quality work; the pavement already looks weather-beaten and rusty. And I agree with Notorious, the lack of real trees is puzzling; they provide shade, wind and sun protection. Why ever would you leave out trees?

The Death Star and plaza could be in any Midwestern, mid-population city; there's nothing indicative of New York, nor any real design point of view. It's now simply a large pathway for meandering commuters going to/from the 6 and N trains. This pedestrian mall is truly pedestrian.

Anonymous said...

Only in NY. In Europe, they build tunnels. revamp parks, and transform neighborhoods in a matter of days. I saw a video on you tube in the Netherlands, which literally took a weekend. A tunnel under a freeway that took three days. This project is almost going on three years with no end in sight. Where is the organization and discipline? This is where our tax dollars are going to. Sad state of affairs. And yes, the area looks like a desert in a way; it is barren, ugly with no character. I walk through this each day and it feels like another city. What happened to New York? And when did it happen?

Anonymous said...

Astor Place should be a mini-Washington Square Park. Instead it's a parking lot without the cars.

cmarrtyy said...

This is our fault. All of us. We should have gone to the meetings but most of us didn't. Maybe this wouldn't have happened. Then again with our pathetic community board and equally pathetic politicians, we may not have stood a chance to alter the design. But we have to try. We have to do better next time... if there is another next time. We can also call, email or write to the Community Board and council person that we do not want this to be Union Square South, an open space for second rate events and food trucks. We want a park!

Brian said...

Astor Place is now fugly and average. Two large modern glass buildings have rendered it unmemorable and just a sidewalk. It does not deserve the designation of Place anymore. It should be forever changed to Astor Sidewalk. But now out will come the table and chairs and lounges for tourists and students. Ok. Not the worst idea,

eastvillagesiren said...

You make an excellent point, I've been to a few CB meetings and felt there was no opportunity for the public to make a difference, that everything was already decided before the meeting began.

I've already seen a few events being set-up there. I think you're onto something. If there was a real park, there would be no room for food trucks or sponsor tents.


Please watch this TED Talk with Ms. Burden-Christ herself. At the 3:07 mark she shows an example of a poorly planned urban space and says "...it's not surprising that people avoid spaces like this. They not only look desolate, they feel downright dangerous." It's nearly identical to Astor Place. You can't make this stuff up.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that we never hear about this horror story reconstruction / destruction from our Council Person Rosie Mendez. This doesn't surprise me, I have been asking her office to have the MTA put the times of the M-8 bus at the stop of 9th Street and Broadway. If she and her staff cannot do a simple request like that after months of asking why would be believe she would care about a major destruction of the East Village.

Gojira said...

That space looks as appealing as a boiling coffee enema. In my mind I contrast it with how it used to be, with the little one-story coffee place that had the large garden and big old trees right on the northwest corner where the Death Star now looms, in one corner of which one of the stone eagles from the old Penn Station had been placed, the wide-open expanse of parking lot at the south end by the Fischer Music building, and the Cube set amidst perfectly passable streets that people traversed for decades without a problem. It had air, light, space, greenery, human scale. And yet the desiccated cement, steel and glass Bladerunner set that replaced it is somehow supposed to be an improvement? In what alternate universe?

I shudder to think what this area will look like when the St. Mark's Hotel and the Korilla building are torn down/built up into the promised "gateway" to the East Village; it will probably make what's there now look positively bucolic.

Thanks for the link to the TED talk, NOTORIOUS, once I mainline some Pepto-Bismol and heroin to keep my stomach and blood pressure in check, I'll watch it.

Anonymous said...

I would judge this an improvement. I'm glad the parking lot is gone, not glad to non-Starbucks cafe (Film Academy cafe?) with outdoor seating is gone, though.
I'm definitely glad for more pedestrian space and less vehicle lanes.
But I had hoped for more green space.

Regardless, what's with the time line of this project?
The moon landing was accomplished in less time.

- East Villager

Anonymous said...

As dull and barren as to the ones this was made for.

Anonymous said...

Is there some reason streets have to remain unpaved for months on end? is it that hard to pave a road before you dig up the rest of the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

What did you all expect? The City allowed big new buildings to put up all over the neighborhood, swelling the population over the past 15 years to the point of overcrowding and pushing the infrastructure to the limit. The MTA ridership numbers at the Astor Place #6 station shows an increase of only 400 riders a day in the last five years. Hah. They should show us the past 15 and then you will see a huge change.
More bars, more restaurants, more outdoor cafes, more hotels....just add to the problem of overcrowding. But CB3 just keeps on handing out licenses for new establishments to bring even more people to the area. It's a lovely neighborhood during the day but at night the area turns into an orgy of drunks, morons, litterbugs, self-important, deluded fashion wannabes.
The streets are the filthiest in the city but NYC Sanitation can't seem to figure out how to put extra refuse cans on every corner. Walk down any street in the EV along 2nd Ave or 1st Ave...the cans are overflowing. Twice the cans couldn't hold it all. Of course people are pigs. Coming from other areas they could not care less what the leave behind. But civility and respect is another discussion for another time.
So I say it again...what did you expect? Nobody cares. $$$ is still the motivation.

Anonymous said...

This ^^^^^ what (s)he said!

I miss the parking lot-- its book vendors, the record vendors, the screenplay vendors, and the videocassette (of unauthorized production of concerts, underground films, smuts...)... vendors.

Progress! Change! Embrace the change!

Anonymous said...

This is an imorovement to the tourists, transients --like the likes of Roos-- weekend warriors and invaders--via Bs & Ts--and them college, mostly NYU, kids.

It was the New York Film Academy Café, btw. If you had to ask and don't remember it, then you ain't no East Villager.

Carol from E. 5th Street said...

I went to several meetings at the inception of this project. When I was able to speak I asked if the money scheduled to be spent on this project would be better spent on improved infrastructure, more money for social services, more money for the NYPD, etc. I was greeted with hostile stares and told that the money was already "ear-marked" for this project.

I now hate and avoid this "plaza" because of the smell of the pavement from the chemicals they have sprayed on the cement, the blistering sun from the lack of shade and the bleak expanse of dirt in the cordoned off but still unplanted areas not to mention the incessant noise for years from the lengthy construction work.

And on a very personal note I still morn the loss of the peach tree in the southern most part of the park triangle of the old Cooper Union building and the meaningless cutting of the 4 birch trees on the triangle near the uptown side of the #6 train station. What was the point of this arborcide?

Anonymous said...

Please don't forget the island they installed on 3rd Ave then dug up because the buses couldn't make the turn. This whole project is a boondoggle.

Carol from E. 5th Street said...

Just passed by again today. Several of the trees that were planted have already died. Who is supposed to be watering these trees?

Anonymous said...

The photo makes the expanse look much larger than it is. It also doesn't show the plots set aside for 'green space' with seating in front of them. And of course the Alamo cube isn't back yet, which will break up the space further.

It also doesn't show the *much improved* (though not finished) plaza around the #6 subway entrance. How anyone could prefer the dumpy, congested, sad little sliver that served before, is amazing to me.

The 'already degrading' plaza pavement is actually designed to look worn. Check out too the new granite curbstones. if you watched them install it, as I have, you'd have seen that they seed the concrete with stones, smooth it over, then after it's dry they power-blast the surface with water to expose the stones.

I'd like to think that when the project is all done, paved, and trees have a few years of growing season behind them, people here will grudgingly admit it turned out well. But I know better about you inveterate whiners and aging pseudo-anarchists. You'll always find something to complain about.

Carol from E. 5th Street said...

I would hardly call the former space near the #6 train "dumpy" and "congested" (? ) I passed through there every day and never would call it congested. And indeed I loved to see the flourishing birch trees each morning as I entered the train station.

And as to the new trees needing a "few years of growing season" HALF OF THEM ARE ALREADY DEAD but maybe you didn't notice because you probably don't live in the neighborhood.

As to the respondents being "aging pseudo-anarchists" I think we are lovers of our neighborhood and know enough that the changes are being made not for the good and cultural integrity of the area but for the influx of big business and millennial arrivisetes.

Anonymous said...

Weather permitting, paving is scheduled to start next week, according to NYCDDC bulletin today:

08-02-16 to 08-05-16

Lafayette from E. 8th – E. 9th
E. 8th from Lafayette to 3rd Avenue
3rd Avenue from E. 9th – E 4th

Roadway Paving Operations

7:00AM to 6:00PM (Day Work)

Anonymous said...

*None* of the new trees on the #6 subway plaza are dead. Zero. They all seem to be doing fine.

*Two* of the dozen or so new trees planted in and around Cooper park Have died. The others, again seem to be doing fine. They get watered every day.

I pass by the Cooper/Astor project twice every day. I stop and look and see what's happening. Get your facts straight and stop spreading cranky hysteria.

Carol from E. 5th Street said...

I indeed have my facts straight. Perhaps you should read a little more carefully. I did not claim that any trees near the #6 train station were dead merely that I morned the loss of the birch trees there. They were a lovely, quirky spot of nature in the East Village.

However regarding other trees planted along the expanse of the project, two are totally dead and the others are hanging on by a thread. I am a registered tree pruner (a 6 week course given by the dept of parks) and these trees are beyond help. You obviously know next to nothing about trees. Whoever is claiming to water these trees every day must be using an eye dropper as every time I walk by the ground is parched.

I care about my neighborhood and I care about the trees. I would love to have them flourish and to have this plaza be a lush refuge for the people who live here. If that is your idea of "cranky hysteria" then I think you need to re-evaluate your assessment.