The Department of Transportation recently announced it was giving away public plazas to qualifying areas. http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/
From the DOT site:
Sites will be selected based on community initiative and need. Eligible community groups can propose new plaza sites for their neighborhoods through a competitive application process. The City will prioritize sites that are in neighborhoods that lack open space, and will look to partner with community groups that commit to manage these spaces.
The city will pay for design and construction, the non profit will pay for maintenance. But since we already have the Doe fund in the area, that shouldn't too big an expense.
In collaboration with the Department of Small Business Services (SBS), NYC DOT will work with appropriate community-based organizations to establish long-term, formal partnerships for each plaza.
In other words, all you community based organizations - this means you Chamber of Commerce, or Forest Hills Community & Civic, - here's a chance to create a public seating area in a place that desperately needs a place to sit - Austin Street. The City will pay for it, how often do you get that offer?
71st Rd (pictured above) would be perfect. The city makes a point that applications that do not involve traffic pattern changes will be welcomed. So, 70th rd is pretty much out. 71st Rd (across from the Windsor front entrance) is wide open, plenty shady, and at most, you lose a few parking spaces. There aren't that many business on that street anyway, except that huge Liberty Travel. The street traffic would remain unchanged.
You could have small concerts there, tables, chairs, paint that big ugly brick wall, whatever. Just keep it close to Austin Street and away from Queens Blvd to make sure Austin Street shoppers can use it and not just people waiting for the bus.
Time is of the essence. I've sent the information to Leslie Brown, but don't know if it's a priority to Chamber. Applications are due via email on August 19th at 6pm
Here is a map of areas the city deems needy of open space in red (it's hard to tell what the areas are) and areas that are in the "pipeline" in blue (areas that are already getting plazas). Guess what borough has the most plazas in the pipeline.
Here is the application: Application
ARE YOU ELIGIBLE?The NYC Plaza Program is open to all nonprofit organizations in any area of the City.
Applicants must be:
- Nonprofit organizations operating in any of the five boroughs of New York City;
- Incorporated in New York State and compliant with annual State and Federal filing requirements for nonprofit organizations;
- Certified tax exempt under Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501(c)(3);
- Located near the geographical target area of the proposed plaza
How's Whitepot Plaza sound? Don't like it? Okay, just send in the application all your community organizations and you can name it. Just get it done. Austin Street needs a place to congregate.