A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Astor Place

New York City

NY

USA

Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
November 21, 2006
December 14, 2017

Nowhere else in New York offers more opportunity to create something out of nothing than Astor Place.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Nowhere else in New York offers more opportunity to create something out of nothing than Astor Place. It is one of the few places in the city that has the form of a public square, yet there is so little vehicle traffic and so much asphalt that people are compelled to walk straight through the space rather than use it as a destination. The "Alamo" sculpture (also known as "The Cube") and an historic subway entrance provide distinctive landmarks, but people only use them as meeting points before venturing elsewhere. Meanwhile, the recent completion of an ultra-luxury condo tower designed by Gwathmey Siegel has added nothing to the streetlife of the square; another ubiquitous bank branch occupies its ground floor.

Astor Place begs to be transformed into a pedestrian-oriented district. Stretching east-west from Third Avenue to Broadway, and north-south from 10th Street to 4th Street, the new Astor Place would reclaim large swaths of the roadbed for pedestrian use. This common-sense step would open the door for a host of improvements: Cooper Square, currently an isolated triangle sandwiched between two inhospitable streets, could expand and become much more open to the public; Fourth Avenue could become a pedestrian- and bike-friendly boulevard from Grace Church to 14th Street, linking Astor Place to Union Square; Third Avenue could be narrowed to strengthen the connection between Greenwich Village and the East Village. As the core of a vibrant pedestrian district, Astor Place would bind those two neighborhoods together rather than divide them as it does today.

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities

Sociability

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History & Background

Related Links & Sources

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*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

NOMINATE A PLACE

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A NEW GUIDE TO BALANCING MOBILITY AND HUMANITY ON MAIN STREET