Eyes on the Street: 33rd Street Plaza Comes to Life | Streetsblog New York City

The view at Penn Plaza. Photo: Stephen Miller

Tuesday, August 11, 2015 Comment hereEyes on the Street: 33rd Street Plaza Comes to Lifeby Stephen MillerThe view at Penn Plaza. Photo: Stephen MillerThere is now a plaza at Penn Plaza.The finishing touches were added to a temporary pedestrian space occupying the full breadth of 33rd Street just west of Seventh Avenue earlier this week. The plaza stretches a little less than halfway to Eighth Avenue, replacing what used to be westbound traffic lanes with planters, sculptures, a terraced seating area, and a painted surface to grab the attention of passing commuters.The plaza was funded by Vornado Realty Trust, which owns a number of large properties nearby, including Penn Plaza, the Hotel Pennsylvania, and the Manhattan Mall. Vornado received the backing of DOT and Community Board 5 for its plan earlier this year,The space was busy during yesterday’s evening rush hour. “I’m a New Yorker. I like to have a place to sit,” said Eva, who commutes by Long Island Rail Road from Flushing Estates and refused to give her last time. “In this area here, you don’t have a park, you don’t have a place to come sit down at lunchtime,” she said. “It’s nice.”Rush hour outside Penn Station. Photo: Stephen MillerVornado is planning to host performances, workshops and other events in the plaza space this summer and fall. For a temporary plaza, the design is high-quality, noted Curbed, including sculptures by Keith Haring and Roy Lichtenstein. Some of the wooden seats are cleverly designed to fit over concrete steps, while the planters are ringed by seating, as well.The western half of the block was converted to two-way operation and is used by Madison Square Garden for access to its loading docks. While the plaza provides a low-stress connection to a Citi Bike station across Seventh Avenue, a Vornado security guard at the plaza yesterday said bicycling, along with skateboarding, is prohibited.The new terraced seating area. Photo: Stephen MillerThe plaza is the centerpiece of changes Vornado recently installed nearby. A painted sidewalk extension, including benches and planters, was added to the north side of 32nd Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. Vornado also worked with UrbanSpace to launch Penn Plates, a pop-up food market in Pearson Park, an outdoor mid-block passage connecting the plaza to 34th Street. The market is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. through November 15.The plaza on 33rd Street and sidewalk extension on 32nd Street will be removed October 11, at which point Vornado and DOT will evaluate whether to make the plaza permanent or bring it back seasonally. Vornado has hired Sam Schwartz Engineering to monitor 10 nearby intersections during the trial period.The real estate giant has also hired Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta, designer of the permanent Times Square plazas, to develop a public space plan for its properties near Penn Station.Pedestrian volumes on streets near Penn Station are among the highest in the city. In 2008, Tri-State Transportation Campaign launched a campaign, Penn for Peds, to give more space to pedestrians near the station. In 2010, DOT unveiled a plan to construct a transitway on 34th Street that included a one-block plaza between Fifth Avenue and Sixth Avenue. The plan was withdrawn in 2011 due to opposition from nearby property owners.Stephen Miller is a reporter for Streetsblog NYC. He has been covering the movement for safer streets, effective transit, and livable cities since 2012.Share on emailEmailMore Sharing ServicesShareby TaboolaSponsored LinksMore For YouUnbelievable Deals Offered by Credit Cards for Those with Good CreditNextAdvisor4 Billionaires Say: Something Big Coming Soon In U.S.AStansberry ResearchHow Much Money Do You Really Get from a Reverse Mortgage?NewRetirementWarren Buffett Just Gave Americans a Big WarningThe Motley FoolDrivers Surprised They Never Knew This RuleProvide-Savings Insurance QuotesHow This Razor is Disrupting a $13 Billion IndustryDollar Shave ClubThe #1 Worst Exercise for AgingOld School New Body eBook1 Dirty Little Secret To Pay Off Your Home In Half The TimeLowerMyBillsAbout Contact Us Calendar Advertise RELATED ARTICLES33rd Street at Penn Station Will Go Car-Free This SummerJune 2, 201540Eyes on the Street: More Room to Walk Near Penn StationJuly 22, 201551Eyes on the Street: Ped Plaza/Bike-Share Hub Takes Shape at Grand CentralMay 10, 201318Eyes on the Street: Fowler Square Plaza Opens in Fort GreeneMay 11, 20127Eyes on the Street: Witness the Birth of Putnam PlazaSeptember 19, 20114Filed under:Eyes On The Street, Midtown, Pedestrian Infrastructure, Plazas, Public Space, Walking PrintTHANKS TO OUR SPONSORS FOLLOW STREETSBLOGTwitterRSSSubscribe to the daily email digest: RECENTLY POS

Source: Eyes on the Street: 33rd Street Plaza Comes to Life | Streetsblog New York City