Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Van Alen Parklet 30 West 23rd Street

On Sept 21,  2012 Van Alen Institute put up a parking day parklet for a day in front of their bookstore

Now in 2013 , the Van Alen Institute has proposed a  seasonal  parklet in front of their bookstore.
It is  the NYC's s first site-specific  parklet that is not in front of a restaurant.

According to their blog, the space is intended to:

We envision this installation as a neighborhood-scale public space that will:
• decrease traffic noise and speed
• offer opportunities for social interaction and individual use
• create a place for office workers to sit and eat lunch, students from the local school to gather, and offer a seat for children, the elderly, or other pedestrians
• encourage and support business activity on our block
• enhance greening on the block
• increase activity and visual interest for pedestrians

Why is Van Alen a great steward for a Street Seat? Van Alen’s mission and connection to design communities, as well as the general public on a local, national, and international scale, makes us an ideal partner for a DOT Street Seat. Our mission is to catalyze design innovation in the public realm, and a Street Seat offers a platform to extend the work we do to enhance our local community.

In addition, we hope to advance the Street Seat program by partnering with DOT to use our installation as a prototype to help pioneer innovative strategies for engaging the public, while reducing operating expenses and simplifying installation for future Street Seat sponsors—and elevate the profile of this exciting city initiative. link

An article in Landscape Architects Magazine said this about parklets...
Some city planners would like to use parklets more assertively. “So far each one has been something in and of itself, but we’re beginning to think about their potential as tools for larger change,” says David Alumbaugh, who directs the department’s City Design Group, which includes the parklets team. He contemplates using a series of parklets as a way to pull people into neighborhoods that otherwise might be avoided by outsiders, or concentrating them in such a way as to form a sort of traffic-calming system: “There might be ways to tie several of these spaces together…. A few years ago, any proposal to do something in the street was met with such resistance. Now that they’re popular, it’s ‘Why not do more?’”   link

 We're all for tying these spaces together. Along with the recent  installation of 10  Citibenches in Midtown South (white dots below) installing more parklets like the Van Alen Parklet  (red pin  below) are a key element in our plan for the creation of an  Age-Friendly Midtown South.  that offers area seniors a place to sit outdoors within a 3 minute walk of anywhere they are in the area. 

On July 11, 2013 the parklet was approved by Community Board 5