Several months ago, we told you about a design competition from the Lower East Side BID for a Delancey Street History Fence. Through a 400 foot art installation, the organization, which operates two parking lots along the busy thoroughfare, was looking to pay tribute to the neighborhood’s diverse cultural legacy. The BID has now made its choice.
A selection committee recently notified the LES-based design firm, Boym Partners, that its proposal for a “Babel Blocks Fence,” celebrating the varied “races, religions and cultures” that make up the Lower East Side,” had won the competition. Babel Blocks, a series of wood figures, were created by Constantin Boym and Laurene Leon Boym in 2007, loosely based on their Lower East Side neighbors. They were included in “Design & the Elastic Mind,” an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and won the National Design Award in 2009.
Artists have a chance to put their mark on SPURA before the Lower East Side landscape changes forever. The Lower East Side BID has extended a competition to design a 400 foot expanse along Delancey Street until May 1. The BID operates two parking lots that will become part of the Seward Park Mixed-Use Development Project in the years ahead. In the meantime, however, the organization is creating a Lower East Side Tribute Wall, paying homage to the neighborhood’s creative and cultural institutions.
The competition is being run through ArtHere.org. The winning artist or artists will receive a stiped/budget of approximately $5000. The installation is meant to cover two separate fences, each 200 feet long. The high-traffic area was recently turned into a pedestrian plaza. The BID plans to program the space on the southern side of Delancey Street this summer with entertainment and food vendors.
Click here to read more about the art project and check out the submission guidelines.
Last week, Department of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, local elected officials and community leaders gathered on Delancey Street to celebrate the new safety improvements implemented during the past several months. During a midday news conference, with trucks and cars roaring past television cameras, Sadik-Khan declared, “crossing Delancey should not be just for the brave of heart,” and she promised an “unrelenting focus on safety” on the street as well as throughout the city.
Among those attending the press event was Teresa Pedroza, whose granddaughter, 12-year old Dashane Santana, was killed at the intersection of Delancey and Clinton streets earlier this year. City officials were already looking at changing traffic patterns along the deadly corridor before the tragedy but the accident served as an impetus for the improvements. State Senator Daniel Squadron said, “nothing will bring Dashane back… but hopefully because of this (accident) we can ensure that there are no more tragedies on Delancey Street.”
This morning, officials with the Department of Transportation and local elected officials came out to celebrate the new safety improvements on Delancey Street. Roadway changes, longer “walk” signals and pedestrian plazas are all part of the plan. We’ll have more details tomorrow about future improvements planned for the large plaza area on the south side of Delancey near Clinton Street.
More this morning on yesterday’s fire and resulting evacuation of three subway lines on Delancey Street, from Essex to the Bowery. WNBC reported on its late news broadcast last night that the fire could have been caused when someone tried to steal copper wires. More details from Brian Thompson’s story:
The incident shut down the J, M and Z lines from about 2:50 p.m. through the evening rush. Around 500 people were evacuated. No one was injured.
We’re back from the scene of today’s subway evacuations along Delancey Street. Multiple trains were shut down just as the Friday afternoon rush home was beginning. No injuries to report, but there is a huge Fire Department and police presence from Essex Street to the Bowery. J,M.Z, D and B service have all been suspended.
More details from the Post: About 500 people were evacuated beginning at around 2:52 p.m. One resident said smoke from a fire on the tracks began to enter a subway car in a tunnel between Essex and Bowery. People were stuck for about 20 minutes until the train was rolled back towards Essex Street and passengers could be let off. The Post reported a second group of passengers was evacuated from a train that had just arrived at Essex Street from Brooklyn. Officials said the fire appeared to have caused by MTA electrical equipment but they are still investigating exactly what went wrong.
Update 5:16 p.m. Notify NYC reports: Due to ongoing Fire Department activity, downtown M train service is terminating at 2 Avenue, Manhattan. The J and Z trains are also suspended in both directions between Marcy Ave, Brooklyn and Broad St, Manhattan. Expect extensive delays and visit www.mta.info for updates.
The new school year is upon us, a fact some youngsters acknowledge only with total dread. But the middle schoolers at Innovate Manhattan Charter School, the Lower East Side’s third and newest charter school, have a lot to look forward to when classes start tomorrow.
On August 23rd, Innovate opened the doors of its brand new facility at 38 Delancey Street, in an open house for students and their families. The pristine space, located on the third floor of a residential and commercial building, embodies the tenets of the Kunskapsskolan Educational model (KED), which was developed in Sweden and is currently used in 34 Swedish schools. Innovate Manhattan is the first American school to adopt the model, which emphasizes individual instruction and flexibility to help students take charge of their own learning.
While controversy about the arrival of chain stores on the Lower East Side continues, 7-Eleven is forging ahead with its new location at 142 Delancey Street, directly next to an existing Dunkin’ Donuts. The store’s renovation seems to be progressing, and some signage bearing the chain’s logo recently appeared in the windows.
It looks like drivers are having a little trouble adjusting to the new configuration on Delancey Street. Several days ago, the Department of Transportation established new pedestrian “plazas” on the dangerous roadway by setting up plastic pylons on either side of the street. As you can see, those pylons are really taking a beating.
As we’ve been reporting, the Department of Transportation is in the process of implementing its Delancey Street safety plan. At Clinton Street, two new pedestrian plazas (on either side of Delancey) are now marked off. The DOT decided to add eight seconds to the “walk” signal at Clinton. In the weeks ahead, the new plazas will be receiving some TLC. The LES Business Improvement District has agreed to spruce up the new pedestrian refuges with plantings and other cosmetic additions.
At its meeting last night, Community Board 3’s transportation committee recommended that a stretch of Delancey Street be co-named for Dashane Santana, a 12 year old girl who died in a fatal car accident near Delancey and Clinton streets last January. Santana’s grandmother, Teresa Pedroza, presented more than 300 signed petitions in support of the measure, which she hopes will honor her granddaughter’s memory and further raise awareness about traffic patterns that endanger pedestrians.
This was Pedroza’s second visit to the committee; at a meeting in May, she presented approximately 150 copies of her petition, signed by friends, supporters, and local residents. While committee members sympathized with their cause, they urged Pedroza to collect more signatures from residents in the area immediately surrounding the site of the accident.
According to committee chair David Crane, co-naming has happened so often on the LES in recent years that board members have established a loose standard to insure that residents on a street that may be co-named are happy with the proposed change. In this case, the committee suggested that Pedroza collect 300 signatures from people living in the immediate area to demonstrate support for the co-naming. “Rather than us saying no to a petition,” said Crane, “we said let’s have the community tell us what they want.”
The city was supposed to begin making safety improvements to Delancey Street about a week ago, but delayed the project due to wet weather. There hasn’t been much of a break from the rain, but this afternoon street crews appeared to be on the job — making minor modifications to the roadway.
The plan is to create pedestrian plazas, narrowing the distance people must cross, and to redirect traffic in some spots. The improvements entail repainting and the installation of pylons, so the work should not take too long. If you would like to see details – block by block – have a look at the DOT’s presentation to Community Board 3 earlier this year.
Yesterday we noted that the city would begin work next week to to make Delancey Street safer for pedestrians and cyclists. We received an email from the Department of Transportation last night indicating that the project will be somewhat delayed due to the recent wet weather.
A DOT spokesperson indicated the work will “begin shortly” and is still scheduled to be completed by the last week of July. Most of the changes do not require significant construction; they involve shortening crosswalks, changing traffic regulations and (in the case of Clinton Street) removing barriers.
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