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Essex Crossing’s new public park opens on the Lower East Side

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The green space boasts a playground, native plants, and plenty of seating

A new park opened at Essex Street Crossing on Broome Street this week.
Rachel Vanni/QuallsBenson

The Lower East Side has a new green space offering respite from the concrete jungle.

A 15,000-square-foot park at the Essex Crossing megaproject opened to the public Monday designed by lauded landscape architecture firm West 8, known for The Hills at Governors Island.

The new space on Broome Street between Clinton and Suffolk streets is the latest feature in developer Delancey Street Associates (a collaboration between L & M Development Partners, BFC Partners, Taconic, Prusik Group, and the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group) megaproject to materialize.

“The community has been wanting this for a long time. There aren’t that many open spaces in the neighborhood and this is going to fill a void that hasn’t existed,” said Ernie Padron, with BFC Partners.

Rachel Vanni/QuallsBenson

The airy space boasts a playground including wooden animal springers, a “freestanding mini net” and an undulating balance beam. The park also features a mix of benches, movable seating, and fixed tables and stools, and is lush with flora that was once native to the area including lowbush blueberry shrubs, trumpet honeysuckle, and fragrant sumac.

On opening day, locals were already wandering into the space with children scaling the playground’s rope jungle gym and adults lounging on stone benches gazing at the park’s greenery.

“People wanted a balance between a space that was heavily planted and a place where they could sit, reflect,” said Isaac Henderson, the project manager for Essex Crossing with L+M Development. “It already seems like it’s a park that’s really going to be used.”

Rachel Vanni/QuallsBenson

A handful of community visioning sessions were held in 2014 to gather Lower East Siders input on the park’s design. Delancey Street Associates owns and operates the space, and eventually aims to include stands selling fresh produce from the urban farm that is expected to launch at Essex Crossing this summer. Other programming may be incorporated into the space after it becomes clear how locals are utilizing the space.

Visitors can peruse the park daily from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. from April through October, and 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. from November through March.

Rachel Vanni/QuallsBenson

The space is directly adjacent to The Rollins, a fully occupied mixed-income rental building, which includes the largest Trader Joe’s on the east coast and a Target. Just across Broome Street is The Essex, a 26-story mixed-use, mixed-income rental building equipped with a 14-screen movie theater and the recently relocated Essex Market. The Essex is also home to phase one of The Market Line, which aims to be a bazaar-like marketplace spanning 700 feet along Broome Street and is expected to open late this summer.

Nearby, 242 Broome, a 55-unit luxury condo, is open and is 93 percent sold with just four units up for grabs. The new home of the International Center of Photography and The Gutter, a bowling entertainment center, are expected to open there this fall. Three other properties—180 Broome Street, 202 Broome Street, and 140 Essex Street—are under construction and will bring a mix of office space and condos.