Thursday, April 25, 2013

41st Street to Become Boulevard 41

Bryant Park Corporation aims to connect the pedestrianized Broadway with Manhattan's town square, Bryant Park. Cafe-style seating, trees, and large planters are elements of the Boulevard 41 project.

Imagine walking west from Bryant Park’s 6th Avenue and 41st Street entrance. You enter the stretch of 41st connecting Sixth Avenue and Broadway and encounter a pedestrian-friendly street with sidewalk cafes and large planters with trees to rest under. Though this vision seems far from the existing 41st Street scene, Bryant Park Corporation has devised a plan to transform the Midtown block into a fitting conduit between some of the city’s most iconic spaces.

Currently, 41st Street is underused and avoided by pedestrians, who choose to move between Bryant Park and Times Square via 42nd Street. The block, dark at night and unfriendly during the day, also lacks streetscape amenities and quality retail establishments.

Bryant Park Corporation aims to resolve these problems by using large planters to create the effect of a tree-lined street, and by providing ample seating for pedestrians who are looking to sit and relax or stop and eat. The major components will include ‘pop-up cafĂ©’-style seating consisting of a wooden deck, chairs, and small planters, along with large planters with trees, some of which will include tables, chairs, and built-in stairs, giving people the opportunity to climb up and take an elevated seat. With all of this, there will remain a 17-foot wide lane for west-bound traffic.

Taking a prosaic urban block and transforming it into a park-like space might seem audacious, but thinking outside the box is what allowed us to transform Bryant Park and 34th Street. The project was formally approved by the NYC Department of Transportation and received an encouraging response from Community Board 5. It also received a positive reaction from businesses and property owners on 41st Street. Boulevard 41 was recently covered by Patrick McGeehan of the New York Times and Alan Neuhauser of DNAinfo.

This is an excerpt from Bryant Park's weekly newsletter, MidCity Newswritten by Terry Benoit. MidCity News keeps park enthusiasts informed about our events, milestones, operations, and all of the detailed maintenance work that goes into caring for the park. Weekly updates are sent with our sister organizations 34th Street Partnership and Chelsea Improvement Company

You can read the newly redesigned MidCity News online, or sign up to receive it in your inbox. 

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