Bloomberg throws in plaza to sweeten Midtown East plan

From left: Robert Steel And 87 East 42nd Street
From left: Robert Steel And 87 East 42nd Street

The Bloomberg administration took another stab at sweetening the deal for its Midtown East rezoning plan with details on a new plan for A Public Plaza.

The proposal calls for converting part of the viaduct that currently ferries cars around Grand Central Terminal to a park-like space with views of the terminal and adjacent Vanderbilt Avenue, “like a balcony at the theater,” Robert Steel, Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development, told Capital New York.

“The vision would create a new public plaza by reclaiming space that’s been ceded to the realm of the automobile for decades, and which very few New Yorkers have ever visited on foot,” he said to Capital New York.

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The Plaza would also extend public space into Pershing Square with the addition of stairs and an elevator.

Steel unveiled the plans in the administration’s “public realm study,” dubbing it “Mayor Bloomberg’s holistic plan to refresh and renew East Midtown.”

Other possibilities for improving public access to the Park Avenue medians, according to the study, include adding seating and public art at crosswalks, widening the medians by cutting one lane of traffic in each direction and possibly permitting pedestrians and bikes access to the center of the median.

The study will soon be released to the public in its entirety, Capital New York reported. [Capital New York]Julie Strickland

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