Photo © NYC Parks
The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) today announced the completion of a $18.4 million capital project to revamp Montefiore Square in Harlem and expand the area onto Hamilton Place between Broadway and West 138th Street and upgrade water infrastructure. The project was funded by DOT and DEP and was managed by DDC.
The newly redesigned Montefiore Square has tripled in size, sitting at 44,650 square feet. The plaza features a central terraced 13,140-square-foot lawn with 1,030 feet of curved granite walls and 19 benches for seating. The expanded plaza space enables NYC Parks to stage enhanced community festivals, performances and green markets, while residents of the community stroll through the Square on new granite pavers set in a concentric running bond arc pattern. Evening visibility was increased with the installation of 12 street lights.
Throughout Montefiore Square, 36 new trees were added to the space and new planted areas along the perimeter of the expanded Square act as buffers for users from the busy surrounding streets. The plaza features new gardens, along with new plumbing and a drinking fountain. A new wayfinding sign was installed to help commuters and tourists navigate the area. A new utility storage column houses the electrical panels, irrigation controls, electrical panel and electric meter.
“Plazas and public open spaces bring vibrancy to the communities they’re in, and as we recover from this pandemic, these spaces have also become places of solace,” said DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez. “We thank our agency partners at DDC, DEP, and Parks for their work in completing Montefiore Square, which we know will be adored by the West Harlem community for years to come.”
“The expansion of Montefiore Square required relocating and upgrading much of the subsurface infrastructure that provides critical services to the residents and businesses in the neighborhood – including water mains, sewers and catch basins,” said DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza. “We thank all of our partners for delivering a new Montefiore Square that is a terrific amenity for the community.”
“Montefiore Square has been completely transformed into a seamless and welcoming plaza that will serve as a vibrant gathering place for the West Harlem community,” said NYC Parks Acting Commissioner Liam Kavanagh. “We thank our partners at DDC, DEP, and DOT for working to improve pedestrian safety and reconstruct every aspect of this neighborhood greenspace, from expanding the plaza to upgrading the water mains, sidewalks, and lighting.”
“The redesigned Montefiore Square triples the amount of open space for the community and the students of the nearby Hamilton Grange School and City College of New York,” said DDC Commissioner Thomas Foley. “We are delighted to work with our partners at DOT, DEP and Parks to continue to give back more pedestrian space in every borough and fulfill the City’s Vision Zero goals to calm traffic and create safer streets.”
“The redesigned Montefiore Square accomplishes two critical goals: expanding green space in West Harlem and contributing to resiliency in Upper Manhattan,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Thank you to the Parks, Transportation, Environmental Protection, and Design & Construction Departments for bringing Montefiore Square into the future, contributing to the fight against climate change, and giving the community a wonderful plaza and outdoor event space they’ll enjoy for decades to come.”
“Hallelujah! I applaud the city for completing the Montefiore Square. Our communities need this type of investment, especially with the high number of working-class families whose only option for recreation are these public open spaces,” said State Senator Robert Jackson. “Spaces like Montefiore Square are perhaps the only haven residents have and are vital for their well-being, as well. It has been a space for community gatherings and beautification. We have missed accessing this integral part of the West Harlem community. My deep appreciation to all of our City agency partners for delivering a revamped Montefiore Square to the neighborhood.”
“I am grateful for the diligent work New York City’s DOT, DEP, Parks, and DDC to bring this beautiful upgrade and expansion to Montefiore Square,” said Congress Member Adriano Espaillat. “The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly showed us the importance of inviting outdoor spaces and the beauty of gathering safely with friends and family – and our communities need access to outdoor spaces now more than ever. I welcome the new and improved plaza’s ability to provide our Harlem community with a peaceful and well-planned location to exercise, relax, or gather for years to come.”
“The new and improved Montefiore Square is a transformative project that gives our families greater access to green space and a safer area for recreation,” said Council Member Shaun Abreu. “I will always advocate for more community spaces in our neighborhoods, and I want to thank DOT, DEP, NYC Parks, and DDC for the work they did to upgrade the park.”
“I commend and congratulate NYC DDC, DOT, DEP and Parks for the completion of the redesign and expansion of Montefiore Square,” said Assembly Member Inez E. Dickens. “What was once an enclosed area that lacked a welcoming atmosphere now has a central terraced lawn with curved granite walls and benches for seating. This beautiful open space allows residents and visitors to rest and enjoy West Harlem’s environment and provides opportunities for NYC Parks to stage community festivals, performances and green markets. I encourage our local government and agencies to continue project collaborations to enhance the quality of life for residents of this great City.”
“We sincerely thank the NYC Parks Department and Commissioner Castro, as well as DDC, the wonderful architects who designed such a beautiful park and plaza, and a big thanks to all the construction workers, landscapers and the many agencies who have collaborated on the project to make this vibrant, expanded space come back to life,” said Montefiore Park Neighborhood Association Co-Founder and Volunteer Leader Michael Palma Mir and Volunteer Leader Basia Nikonorow. “The Montefiore Park & Plaza Neighborhood Association looks forward to rebooting our community programming at Montefiore Park & Plaza this Spring, especially for neighborhood children and seniors. As a central community transit hub, this newly designed park & plaza serves as a gateway to historic Hamilton Heights and Sugar Hill, welcoming people to our diverse neighborhood once again in such fine fashion!”
The underground infrastructure surrounding the park was upgraded to improve water infrastructure reliability with the replacement of over 2,840 feet of water mains. To reduce flooding, four catch basins were replaced, and eight additional catch basins were installed. Fire protection was enhanced with the replacement of six old fire hydrants.
As part of the final street restoration, 22,090 square feet of sidewalk and 910 feet of curbs were reconstructed. Pedestrian safety was improved with the installation of four curb extensions to shorten the distance for pedestrians to cross the street on Broadway between West 136th Street and West 138th Street and on West 138th Street between Broadway and Hamilton Place.
The project was honored at the Public Design Commission’s 33rd Annual Awards [PDF] for Excellence in Design.
About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor Adams’ long-term vision of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, and new or upgraded roads, sewers and water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15.5 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to City projects. For more information, please visit nyc.gov/ddc.
About the NYC Department of Environmental Protection
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing approximately 1 billion gallons of high-quality drinking water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.3 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $20.1 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
About the NYC Department of Transportation
NYC DOT’s mission is to provide for the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible movement of people and goods, and to maintain and enhance the transportation infrastructure crucial to the economic vitality and quality of life of New York City residents. More than 5,000 DOT employees oversee one of the most complex urban transportation networks in the world, managing 6,000 miles of streets and highways, 12,000 miles of sidewalk, and 794 bridges and tunnels, including the iconic East River bridges. Our staff also installs and maintains more than one million street signs, 12,000 signalized intersections, 315,000 street lights, and 200 million linear feet of street markings. DOT promotes the use of sustainable modes of transportation, designing bicycle facilities, bus lanes, and public plazas. DOT also operates the Staten Island Ferry, which serves over 22 million people annually.