Uni at NYC Plazas
Pedestrian plazas have long been a common feature of European cities. Here in NYC, they are just getting started, organized by community-based groups with the help of NYC DOT and a new organization called the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership. And contrary to what many people may think, most are not in high-traffic, tourist areas of Manhattan, but in the transit and shopping hubs of neighborhoods in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx.
From what we’ve seen, plazas are of special significance to the city’s low income and immigrant communities. In many cases, they offer much-needed physical open space for simply sitting and watching people go by. But they also offer symbolic space that can contain a community’s aspirations, and instill pride. These are the new centers of New York City, and we should pay attention to what happens in them.
A third of our deployments so far have been in plazas. All have been started within the last three years, largely thanks to the city’s DOT Plaza Program. Thanks to funds granted by the Charles H. Revson Foundation through the Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, we’ll be able to go to many more plazas in 2014 and 2015, partnering in each location with local library branches. See our full schedule. Below are recent blog posts about our plaza deployments. If you are a community group working on a plaza, contact us!