In 2017, we continued to create a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable New York City, from renovating renowned historic and cultural institutions, investing in sustainable green infrastructure, to rebuilding sidewalks, streets, and other public spaces.
Here are some of the highlights from this past year:
The Department of Design and Construction (DDC) partnered with the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) on a project which opened a new performance space in Manhattan’s West Side for the Alliance of Resident Theatres/New York, an advocacy organization which has been serving the City’s not-for-profit theatre community since 1973. It featured two new theatres with flexible seating arrangements, one with 149-seat capacity, and another with 87-seat capacity. The space also includes new dressing rooms, prop shops, storage, pantry, control booths, and offices, along with modern mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems that allow the project to achieve LEED Silver standards for environmental sustainability.
Park Slope Library’s reading circle and storytelling garden was officially opened in early May. The garden, designed in-house at DDC, is a fresh addition to the landscape of the 111-year-old Carnegie Library.
The project adds new seating options for community members to enjoy lush green outdoor space and offers an important resource for families with young children. It features an amphitheater for storytelling, a new senior sitting area made up of bluestone pavement and steel benches, cedar planting boxes for children’s gardening, pedestrian lighting for the entire garden, and the installations of a new drinking fountain and new sprinkler system.
The historic Billie Holiday Theatre, one of Brooklyn’s cultural icons, re-opened following a $4.1 million renovation and expansion. DDC managed the project for DCLA, fully modernizing the theatre and making it ADA-compliant. All new seating was installed, along with new lighting and stage rigging with advanced fire suppression systems. New state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment optimize the theatre experience for audiences, connected to a brand new control room.
On July 12, DDC joined Hope Harley, President of the Bronx Children’s Museum Board of Directors, the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, DCLA, and local elected officials to break ground on a new Bronx Children’s Museum. The project, in Mill Pond Park at 725 Exterior Street near the Harlem River, will give a permanent home to the Museum organization and provide a children’s museum in the only borough currently lacking one.
On July 21, the City broke ground on the reconstruction of Diversity Plaza at Broadway and 37th Road in Queens, one of the borough’s busiest hubs. The new plaza will encompass two blocks and a large traffic island near the busy Roosevelt Avenue subway station, increasing pedestrian space, calming traffic and beautifying an area where residents frequently congregate. The two-block stretch, which was converted into pedestrian space in 2012, will feature new trees, raised planters, bike racks, moveable furniture, wayfinding signage as well as open space for performances.
DDC worked with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) on the completion of the largest ever expansion of the Staten Island Bluebelt system. Prior to the work, very few streets in this area were equipped with catch basins or storm sewers and roadway flooding often occurred during heavy rainstorms. The $44 million infrastructure upgrade – completed at $4 million below its allocated $48 million budget – added more than three miles of storm sewers, installed hundreds of catch basins, replaced existing water mains, and included the largest ever expansion of the Bluebelt system.
The catch basins will allow precipitation to drain from the roadways into the new storm sewers which will then direct it to the Bluebelt wetland where it will be naturally filtered to protect the environment. In addition, four miles of new sanitary sewers were installed that allowed nearly 600 homes to connect to the City sewer system and discontinue the use of septic tanks. The project, which was funded by DEP and managed by DDC, began in the spring of 2014 and was completed ahead of schedule. The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) recognized the project with its Envision Silver Award, just the second New York City project to receive the award.
The newly renovated Kew Gardens Hills Library at 72-33 Vleigh Place in Queens re-opened in September. A ribbon cutting ceremony marked the reopening of the 51-year-old library, which underwent an $8.1 million renovation that expanded the facility and made it fully ADA-accessible.
The project increased the size of the library by 3,000-square-feet to 11,660-square-feet. The building has also been upgraded with state-of-the-art electrical, plumbing, temperature control, and fire protection systems. Its large windows allow for natural light to enter deep into the building, which reduces the building’s carbon footprint. Additionally, the building is certified LEED Silver for environmental sustainability, and has a new green roof that helps shrink energy costs and better manages stormwater runoff.
DDC, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), and Yeshiva University President Dr. Ari Berman joined to officially cut the ribbon on the new 10,000-square-foot pedestrian plaza on West 185th Street between Audubon and Amsterdam avenues in Washington Heights. The $3.6 million project provides a pedestrian-friendly and inviting central location for the community and the school, while improving infrastructure in the area.
Located in the heart of the Yeshiva University campus, the street was converted into a streetscape plaza and features a series of small- and medium-sized gathering spaces with new features such as wood and granite seating, moveable tables and chairs, bicycle racks and ornamental street lighting. The new plaza will be planted with various trees, perennials and ferns, as weather permits. The project also included the installation of new curbs, sidewalks, decorative pavers, and utilities including water mains and gas lines.
DDC joined DOT, city officials, and others in November to celebrate the completion of a project on Main Street in Downtown Flushing, one of the City’s major transit hubs.
In its first reconstruction in more than 20 years, Main Street had its sidewalks widened by up to nine feet in some areas from 38th Avenue to 41st Avenue, to reduce crowding and facilitate pedestrian movement. This project also included upgraded water mains and sewers; new catch basins and fire hydrants; improved high-efficiency street lighting and traffic signals; new high-strength concrete reinforced bus pads; and a new northbound SBS bus lane between 40th Road and Roosevelt Avenue. Main Street has been reconstructed and resurfaced from curb-to-curb, improving traffic flow and increasing pedestrian safety.