Photo: Tdorante10, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Quisqueya Plaza to receive $7 million capital upgrade that improves public space, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure Inwood location was first Open Street to be transformed into permanent, full-time public plaza centering pedestrians, new cycling connections, and local restaurants
New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez today announced $7 million in funding to bring capital upgrades to Quisqueya Plaza, the first Open Street location to become a permanent plaza back in 2021. The funding, part of Mayor Adams’ $375 million State of the City commitment to improve public spaces, will deliver a capital reconstruction of the plaza as well as pedestrian safety and bike lane enhancements. Commissioner Rodriguez announced the funding and unveiled new plaza signage reflecting the “Quisqueya Plaza” co-naming as part of the Dominican Republic Independence Day celebration in the neighborhood.
“Every New Yorker, no matter where they live in our city, needs a safe place to gather, socialize, or just take a stroll. That’s why, as part of my State of the City address, I committed $375 million to create new public spaces in all five boroughs,” said Mayor Adams. “On Dominican Independence Day, I’m proud to announce $7 million of that funding will go to bringing dramatic upgrades to Quisqueya Plaza, an Open Street that helped save local businesses and jobs right in the heart of Northern Manhattan’s Dominican community.”
“There is no better place in New York City to celebrate Dominican Republic Independence Day than on Quisqueya Plaza. Through our Open Streets program, we were able to reclaim a section of Dyckman Street dedicated to parking and through traffic and transform it into a vibrant new public space for Inwood,” said DOT Commissioner Rodriguez. “This funding will build on our successful redesign, upgrading painting space with concrete infrastructure and better unifying the plaza with the adjacent garden.”
“DDC has worked with DOT on numerous beautiful plaza projects that expand pedestrian space and calm traffic, improving the quality of life for local residents,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “Most recently in Manhattan we completed the new Montefiore Plaza at Broadway and West 138th Street, where we permanently closed a street, tripled the size of the open space and added new lawns and seating areas. The Mayor’s commitment to enhance open spaces is critical in an urban area like New York and DDC looks forward to doing all it can to maximize the value of that investment.”
“We are excited about this significant investment in Inwood, and we look forward to collaborating with our sister agencies on the design process to further enhance this space,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. “Every New Yorker deserves safe, quality public spaces to enjoy, and the upcoming improvements to Quisqueya Plaza and others across the city represent a major step in the administration’s commitment to this mission.”
“Open streets open opportunities for New York City businesses to engage with our communities and attract new patrons,” said Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “As more businesses open and operate, Mayor Adams’ commitment to expanding plazas and public spaces throughout the five boroughs will give our local entrepreneurs more chances to grow and succeed.”
The plaza honors Quisqueya, the Taino name (meaning “mother of all islands”) for the Caribbean Island that is home to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Located on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Seaman Avenue, Quisqueya Plaza became a neighborhood haven during the pandemic, allowing seven different restaurants on a single block to expand outdoor dining. By dedicating more space for people, instead of cars, DOT research has shown that Open Streets like this were a boon to local businesses during the pandemic.
As part of its plaza conversion, DOT installed a new two-way bike connection through the space, linking to the two-way protected bicycle lane on Dyckman Street often used by working cyclists.
The agency has been working closely with Dyckman Gardens, a group of local restaurants and neighborhood stakeholders formed during the pandemic, to steward and help this public space thrive. The NYC Plaza Program is a key part of the City’s effort to ensure that all neighborhoods have access to safe, walkable public space that supports local commerce, community, and culture.
DOT is currently in the scoping phase of the $7 million capital project, with design starting in 2024.
Mayor Adams’ $375 million commitment will also bring transformative upgrades to public spaces across the city, including:
- The Broadway Vision plan to connect Madison Square to Greeley Square between 21st and 33rd streets;
- Unlocking two spaces under the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan for public use with a working group to evaluate medium- and long-term concepts for these spaces and others nearby;
- Additional high-quality pedestrian space around the perimeter of Court Square Park and along Thomson Avenue and Court Square West in Long Island City;
- A full reconstruction of Jamaica Avenue from Sutphin Boulevard to Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica;
- Permanent upgrades to the open street on Willis Avenue between East 147th Street and Bergen Avenue in the Bronx with a bike lane, pedestrian safety improvements, and public space beautification; and
- Permanent improvements to the Minthorne Street open street on Staten Island, with expanded pedestrian space at Tompkinsville Park and a new plaza at Central Avenue.
“Quisqueya Plaza has become a shining example of how public space can transform a neighborhood and put people first,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “This investment will help make the plaza safer for all users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and visitors. I applaud the Mayor and Commissioner Rodriguez for their work, and look forward to continuing to partner with them as we invest in safer streets across the Borough.”
“I commend the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) and NYC for allocating more room for people to enjoy on Dyckman Street between Broadway and Seaman Avenue, Quisqueya Plaza, through this investment, demonstrating the potential of this kind of initiative,” said State Sen. Robert Jackson. “As both a cyclist and a runner, I am delighted by the upgrades to the Open Streets initiative in Inwood, prioritizing people over cars and providing pedestrians and cyclists free public art installations, performances, and other activities.”
“Quisqueya Plaza has become a staple in the community for events, outdoor dining, and an added open space alternative for many community members and local businesses,” said Council Member Carmen De La Rosa. “We saw the importance of third places and open areas during the pandemic, and we know that they have the ability to foster our sense of community. We hope to continue investing in our outdoor infrastructure to create safe spaces for our Uptown families and business owners to enjoy.”
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