Elevated Park Planned for Chinatown


Chinatown will soon have its version of the High Line.

The city has approved a plan to create a 10,000-square-foot community plaza in an unoccupied area bordered by the Manhattan Bridge, Forsyth Street, and Canal Street. 

The city plans to create a two-tier park called Forsyth Plaza, with an upper plaza on a vacant portion of land adjacent to the bridge’s off-ramp.

According to Scott Gastel, a Department of Transportation spokesman, the upper level will allow residents and cyclists traveling off the bridge to "enjoy public open space that looks down upon Forsyth Street and the surrounding neighborhood.”

The lower portion of the park will provide additional sidewalk space along the western portion of Forsyth Street to enhance the street environment currently alongside and underneath the Manhattan Bridge, said Gastel.

Gastel says the existing budget is $1.6 million for the upper plaza. The lower part of the park will be created using "existing resources,” said Gastel.

The Department of Transportation says it hasn't finalized the design of the plaza, but plans will incorporate the daily produce market currently alongside the Manhattan Bridge.

“The community board supports it, we think it will improve the area and create more public space,” said Susan Stetzer, district manager of Community Board 3. “We think the process of community input is important.”

The Renaissance Economic Development Corporation, a not-for-profit development group, proposed the plaza plan as part of the NYC Plaza program, which works with nonprofits to create neighborhood plazas throughout the city.

“We think it’s a very vital area in Chinatown. We want to make sure the future use of the site will incorporate the need for the community to capture local vitality and draw in tourists and events,” said Kevin Kong, of Renaissance EDC. The organization is holding a meeting on March 10 to invite community members to contribute to plans for Forsyth Plaza.

After the construction of the plaza, Renaissance EDC will act as a community partner for the site and aid in the management of the park.

According to Gastel, the new Forsyth Plaza is “a key part of the city's effort to ensure that all New Yorkers live within a 10-minute walk of quality open space.”

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