BY GABE HERMAN | A ribbon cutting was held by the Meatpacking Business Improvement District on Aug. 6 to celebrate the opening of new public plazas after a seven-year construction project. The initiative included 20,000 square feet of plaza space, a new bike lane and large flower beds and planters.
The project stretched from Gansevoort St. and Ninth Ave. up to W. 16th St. It included the Chelsea Triangle, at Ninth Ave. between W. 14th and 15th Sts.; the 14th St. Square, at Ninth Ave. and the south side of W. 14th St.; and the new Gansevoort Plaza, at Gansevoort St. between Ninth Ave. and Hudson St.
The new bike lane is on Ninth Ave. between Gansevoort and 14th Sts. Thirty trees were also added to the area, along with 2,600 shrubs and perennials in large planters. The work also included infrastructure improvements, such as repairing and replacing water mains, catch basins, sidewalks and streets.
The $20 million overall initiative was managed by the Department of Transportation and implemented by the Department of Design and Construction. Funding came from the city, state and federal government.
The new plazas were constructed through D.O.T.’s Plaza Program.
“As someone who owns a small business along the plazas in the Meatpacking District, the positive impact that well-maintained public space brings to the business community is invaluable,” said Scott Kobrick, owner of Kobrick Coffee, at 24 Ninth Ave., between W. 13th and 14th Sts. “We look forward to working with the BID and our neighbors to further enliven the gorgeous new plazas that complement the aesthetic of the neighborhood’s history while adding a sense of tranquility to the bustling magic of the Meatpacking District.”
Local politicians at the ribbon cutting included Congressmember Jerrold Nadler, Assemblymember Richard Gottfried and Council Speaker Corey Johnson.
“We know open space and well-designed streetscapes improve pedestrian safety, beautify neighborhoods and boost our economy,” Johnson said, “and I am so excited to watch this area become an even better place to live, work and play as a result of these improvements.”
D.D.C. Commissioner Lorraine Grillo also lauded the project’s emphasis on pedestrians.
“Prioritizing people over vehicles is in keeping with Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a safer and more equitable New York City,” Grillo said. “The city’s design and construction teams also went to great lengths to help preserve the historic nature of the neighborhood, reusing old cobblestones and granite slabs where possible, and bringing in new granite that matches the old stone in color and character.”
The project included the laying of more than 255,000 cobblestones, 980 square feet of granite slabs for accessible crosswalks and 555 cubic yards of concrete sidewalk.
Other recent construction in the district included street restorations at Little W. 12th, 13th and 14th Sts. from Ninth Ave. to Washington St. This summer, the Meatpacking BID plans to add 11 trees and 21 planters to 14th St. between Ninth and Tenth Aves. Even more public space is being created near the Meatpacking District, with projects currently under construction at Piers 55 and 57, while a new park is being planned at Gansevoort Peninsula.