(Brooklyn, NY – November 10, 2020) The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and NYC Parks today joined local elected officials and community members to celebrate the completion of a $5.7 million project that expanded and enhanced Zion Triangle Plaza, located at the intersection of Pitkin Avenue and East New York Avenue in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn. The project, which began construction in June 2018, was managed by DDC for DOT.
“During the pandemic, safe and welcoming outdoor public spaces have been more critical than ever before – and so today we are happy to unveil the new Zion Triangle Plaza,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Located in the heart of Brownsville, one of Brooklyn’s hardest hit COVID-19 neighborhoods, the plaza and the renovated Zion Park War Memorial sculpture within it are a sign of hope and a testament to the community’s resilience. With this new expanded plaza, neighbors now have a vital new community space to relax or socialize – all near the bustling Pitkin Avenue corridor. We acknowledge our sister agencies that have partnered with us on new seating, lights, and plantings, with special thanks to New York State DOT for their continuous support of this important project.”
“The project at Zion Triangle Plaza is a beautiful restoration, with new seating, lighting, sidewalks and trees and more than 5,000 square feet of new permanent pedestrian space,” said DDC Commissioner Lorraine Grillo. “DDC is delighted to work with DOT and the Parks Department on new plazas in every borough, enhancing communities and making them safer with Vision Zero improvements.”
“The completion of this World War I memorial and plaza is a tremendous enhancement for the Brownsville community. We thank our sister agencies NYC DOT and NYC DDC for revamping this plaza and providing a space for community to gather, connect, and reflect on the memorial,” said Parks Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Martin Maher. “We know that for generations to come this will be a local focal point filled with beauty and history.”
The Zion Triangle Plaza was added to the DOT plaza program in 2010 and is managed by the Parks Department and the Pitkin Avenue BID. As a maintenance partner, Parks is responsible for the sanitation and upkeep of the plaza, while the Pitkin Ave BID oversees programming and works closely with DOT on various plaza activities for the Brownsville community.
“Zion Triangle Plaza is an important open space for our Brownsville community to connect, and it is so important that open spaces like these are safe, accessible, and well-maintained,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “Thanks to our partners at DOT, DDC, NYC Parks, and the Pitkin Avenue BID for their investment and commitment to this plaza, including the restoration of the Brownsville War Memorial.”
“My fondest memory of Brownsville’s Zion Triangle was playing here with my dad. The completion of this project is one of many that will add to the fabric of our community,” said Assembly Member Latrice M. Walker. “The physical enhancements will allow access to those with special abilities. The additional sidewalk space will add to our initiatives to keep our pedestrians safe in New York City. Thank you to all parties involved including Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Pitkin Avenue BID, the Department of Transportation and the Department of Design and Construction. I look forward to enjoying the amphitheater with my fellow Brownsville residents.”
“This is an exciting day in Brownsville as we finally cut the ribbon at Zion Triangle Plaza,” said Council Member Alicka Ampry-Samuel. “We’ve had some painful moments in this community throughout 2020 and before but seeing the vision of beautification finally be realized- restores hope in a better tomorrow. I look forward to many celebrations in this space in the coming months and years as we build community and put health and safety first.”
“Expanding the Zion Triangle Plaza, and adding new features and safety benefits, will help enhance the quality of life for Brooklyn residents and visitors,” said New York State DOT Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez. “New York State DOT was happy to support our city partners as they designed and implemented this project to increase accessible outdoor space in New York City.”
“The Pitkin Avenue Business Improvement District is grateful to its partners at NYC DOT, NYC DDC, and NYC Parks for the improvement and expansion of this historic park that provided solace and recreation to Brownsville for over 125 years,” said Pitkin Avenue BID Executive Director Daniel Murphy. “We are proud to have been a partner in this public project to enhance and expand open space in East Brooklyn and look forward to seeing Zion Triangle used by even more residents in years to come.”
“Community Board 16 is delighted to see the completion of the Zion Triangle Plaza, which will provide much needed open space with a beautiful sitting area for the many seniors who live in the Bishop Martin Apartments across the street as well as students at the adjacent Ascend Charter School,” said Community Board 16 District Manager Viola D. Greene-Walker. “This plaza will also provide much needed programming space for community events.”
The new design enlarged the plaza from 17,740 square feet to 22,940 square feet by permanently closing Legion Street between Pitkin and East New York Avenues and one lane of traffic on East New York Avenue adjacent to the plaza. Both areas were incorporated into the new plaza and the expanded space helps enhance safety at the surrounding intersections. Nearly 13,500 square feet of sidewalk was installed along with the eight new ADA-compliant pedestrian ramps to improve accessibility. A new curb extension was added on East New York Avenue to increase pedestrian safety by reducing the crossing distance.
Amphitheater-style seating was added to enable future performances in the plaza. Twelve tree pits were installed along with 22 new trees and more than 500 plantings including shrubs and perennials. Nearly 800 square feet of decorative asphalt block paving was placed along with 14 new benches for additional seating. A new water fountain with bottle filling capabilities was also installed.
Additionally, the plaza received a new electrical system which includes five light poles plus receptacles for events. New traffic and parking signs were installed around the plaza’s perimeter along with two new rain gardens to help reduce the volume of stormwater entering the local sewer system. Finally, the Zion Park War Memorial monument was restored. The design and rehabilitation of the monument was overseen by Parks.
This monument, also known as the Brownsville War Memorial, was sculpted by Charles Cary Rumsey and dedicated in 1925. The $600,000 rehabilitation of the monument, performed by the firm A. Ottavino Corp. of Brooklyn, cleaned the limestone, removed any paint and biologic residue, replaced some damaged limestone on the memorial’s landings and steps and repointed all the limestone joints.
Funding for the expansion and beautification of the Zion Triangle plaza comes from the de Blasio Administration and the New York State DOT.
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.
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 de Blasio’s 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 $14 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 Parks and Recreation
NYC Parks is the steward of more than 30,000 acres of land — 14 percent of New York City — including more than 5,000 individual properties ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens and Greenstreets. We operate more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 1,800 basketball courts, 550 tennis courts, 65 public pools, 51 recreational facilities, 15 nature centers, 14 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches. We care for 1,200 monuments and 23 historic house museums. We look after 600,000 street trees, and two million more in parks. We are New York City's principal providers of recreational and athletic facilities and programs. We are home to free concerts, world-class sports events, and cultural festivals.