Down in the Financial District, great minds have been working on ways to liven up Water Street, a grim corridor of bland modern office buildings and antiseptic public arcades. Last year the Downtown Alliance came up with some funky ideas to activate the public spaces, and now the Department of City Planning is getting in on the fun. The agency's big idea? Seating! City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden just announced a proposed zoning amendment that would allow tables and chairs to be placed year-round in the street-level public arcades that developers tacked onto their skyscrapers in order to milk zoning bonuses.
It doesn't sound like much, but City Planning sure is pumped: "The zoning text amendment, called the Lower Manhattan Arcades Modification, would allow movable tables and chairs to be located year-round in these arcades, supporting active ground-floor uses such as cafés to help enliven Water Street. The tables and chairs would also serve as a continuous visual cue of seating, possibly with umbrellas, drawing people along Water Street. This will transform the underutilized arcades into attractive and active environments for pedestrians." Possibly with umbrellas? Let's not get crazy!
· FiDi's Water Street Hopes to Look More Like Park Avenue [Curbed]