As part of a plan to transform a downtown parking lot into a vital community square, PPS developed a program of uses and temporary structures that began to make a difference within six months of starting the project. The formerly vacant space next to City Hall is now the site of constant activity, including farmers’ markets, plays and even weddings. The new square is a popular meeting place for city workers, visitors and shoppers. The square is one of several short-term improvement programs, in addition to a long-term plan, to address the deficiencies of the downtown that PPS developed with the community. In the long-term, PPS defined five key development projects to create a unique, mixed-use arts and entertainment district downtown.
Many great public spaces have grown out of communities resisting development. It is the evolution from opposition to proactive visioning - helping to create, finance, and manage public spaces - that often makes the opposition successful. Congress Square, and the community around it, are forging this story of transformation.
Mayor Bill de Blasio caused quite a stir around New York City yesterday as he floated the idea of tearing up the pedestrian plaza in Times Square. This statement was the culmination of several days of debate centered around predatory panhandling and the square’s growing number of “street performers.”