“One Day Plazas” on Manhattan’s Upper West Side

June 09, 2016

If you’ve read Robert Caro’s seminal book on Robert Moses, The Power Broker, you may recall the story of the controversy regarding the Manhattantown urban renewal project on the Upper West Side. While the project ultimately was built in the late 1950s, public scrutiny forced a new conversation about urban renewal efforts.

Now, a half century later, the project – later renamed Park West Village –is an important part of the neighborhood. Pressures of the burgeoning housing market and a recent zoning change have resulted in significant new development in the neighborhood, even within the Park West Village site.

A local neighborhood group called Friends of Stryker Park was formed by local residents in reaction to some of these recent trends. In particular, this grassroots group of volunteers is looking at ways the community can come together to consider how the open public spaces might be better utilized. An interesting dialogue has ensued regarding how these spaces, emblematic of the Robert Moses era, could benefit from a fresh look today with more of an eye towards Jane Jacobs.

I joined the group almost a year ago. They have gained the attention of local elected officials, the support of over 700 residents, and are working closely with the New York City Department of Transportation’s plaza program to rejuvenate a particularly wide stretch of sidewalk at West 97th Street.

Friends of Stryker Park

Friends of Stryker Park is committed to transforming the north side of 97th St between Columbus and Amsterdam Aves into a vibrant, multi-use green space and public amenity.

With DOT’s support, the group is gathering input of from the community for the prospect of turning this underutilized public space into a pedestrian plaza. One of the bolder first steps is to test the idea with a series of temporary “One Day Plazas” that the group will install over the course of three consecutive Saturdays in June.

Please stop by and see community-building on Manhattan’s Upper West Side in full force this year, the 100th anniversary of Jane Jacob’s birth!

Click on the links below for more information on the One Day Plazas.

Friends of Stryker Park

One Day Plaza Event – Family Day June 11 @ 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

One Day Plaza Event – Health & Wellness Day June 18 @ 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

One Day Plaza Event – Celebrate Summer Day June 25 @ 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

If you’re curious about the history behind this block, read my post, “How Did West 97th Street Get to Be This Way?”