Residents Begin Planning Forsyth Plaza

Last week, we checked in on a community visioning session for the Forsyth Plaza project. Thanks to a grant from the city’s Public Plaza Program, the desolate triangle adjacent to the Manhattan Bridge is going to get a major face lift in the coming months. Community activists met at the offices of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) to offer their feedback about the new space. The grant was awarded to the Renaissance Economic Development Corp., an affiliate of AAFE.

Residents gathered around several long tables, examining photos and diagrams showing the current conditions in and around the plaza. There was general agreement that the area should include landscaping, benches, good lighting and perhaps a kiosk. There was also discussion about a public art installation, perhaps a work celebrating Chinese history and culture.

Also in attendance: several vendors who operate the Forsyth Street produce stands. Last year, some people were worried that the stalls might be threatened by the plaza project. But city officials have given assurances that licensed vendors (many are not licensed) will be secure.  Most of the $1.6 million awarded will be used for the upper plaza. The sidewalk where the vendors are located will be widened, but other than that, it will not be undergoing major changes.

The city and its architectural firm will now take the feedback from community members and come up with a preliminary plan. There will be a second public session to go over their ideas. If you have thoughts about Forsyth Plaza, you can fill out a survey. I’s available on the Renaissance Economic Development Corp.’s web site.