late November 2003, New York City and State officials
joined downtown business leaders to launch an ambitious
plan to revitalize the heart of Lower Manhattan's Financial
District. The program called for streetscape changes
in several blocks surrounding the New York Stock Exchange
-- alterations intended to make the area more attractive
and easier to navigate without compromising the increased
security measures in place since 9/11.
to view a slide show featuring the latest renderings
of this project and progress to date.
The plan, which is a joint effort of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), New York City's Department of City Planning and Department of Transportation, the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and several other city departments and business groups, focuses on the blocks bound by Broadway, Pine, William, and Beaver Streets and has been carried out in phases.
The first phase, completed in 2004, saw streets repaved
and unsightly temporary barriers replaced with more
decorative, permanent ones. As part of this process,
Broad and Wall Streets -- which fell into disrepair
over past years as increased security measures made
routine maintenance difficult -- were resurfaced. A
new wrought-iron fence was installed around the perimeter
of the Stock Exchange, replacing French
barricades (moveable barriers resembling bicycle
racks) and providing pedestrians with twice as much
space. Attractive planters
with live plants took the place of concrete Jersey barriers.
And a sophisticated set of "Delta
barriers" (designed by Delta Scientific Corp.)
that rise and sink into the ground as needed at key
intersections was installed.
Additional streetscape and security improvements were put in place through 2005, making the area a more attractive place to live and work while enhancing security. And though the closure of intersections around the Exchange to all but pedestrian traffic was a necessary security measure in the aftermath of 9/11, it presented a unique opportunity to create a new pedestrian oasis in the center of downtown, complete with paving stones and outdoor plaza seating on Exchange Place.
look to realize a bold vision that will not merely restore
the conditions that existed prior to September 11, but
will make the area even better than before," said
Mayor Michael Bloomberg when the plan was first revealed
in November 2003.
Planners continue to explore the possibility of incorporating a water feature, such as a fountain, to recall the New Amsterdam Canal that in the 17th century flowed where Broad Street runs today. They also will consider erecting a wall of historical information panels where the protective palisade that gave Wall Street its name once stood.
Future plans also likely will include expanded pedestrian plazas. Outdoor cafes -- extensions of existing neighborhood restaurants and coffee shops -- were made possible beginning in late summer 2003 thanks to funding from the Alliance for Downtown New York and adjustments to city permitting policies, which previously prohibited them.
Funding for the project came from multi-million-dollar contributions made by the LMDC as part of a series of allocations for short-term initiatives designed to improve the quality of life for downtown residents, workers, and visitors. The project's future phases will require additional public and private funding.
Images are courtesy of Rogers Marvel Architects for the City of New York.