A High Line for the East Side: Strolling the Park Avenue Promenade

  • In this week’s Observer, we take a look at two proposals to widen the Park Avenue median and turn it into a pedestrian promenade. One is from SHoP Architects, one SOM, both presented at last month’s MAS Summit. Part High Line, part art walk, the hope is it would create an entirely new destination on the East Side of Manhattan, providing much needed open space along the way. Take a stroll for yourself and decide.

  • Both plans are based on the original design of Park Avenue, with a generous pathway down the middle.

  • Today, Park Avenue is still lovely, but it is hardly pedestrian friendly.

  • A proposal by Vishaan Chakrabarti of Columbia and SHoP Architects calls for carving a pathway down the middle and installing art all along the way.

  • The current layout of Park Avenue.

  • The proposal calls for taking up half a lane per block, creating turning bays for left-hand turns while leaving the remaining two lanes relatively unimpeded.

  • Initially the promenade would stretch from 46th to 59th streets, but Mr. Chakrabarti predicts it would be so popular, it would continue to extend northward from there.

  • SOM's plan is less detailed—in part because it is part of a larger proposal for transforming Grand Central—but its sheer scope is immense, seeking to pedestrianize Park Avenue from Union Square as far north as 125th Street.

  • SOM proposed a floating ring hanging over Grand Central, an iconic piece of public space that gained most of the public attention around the firm's plan. But the Park Avenue proposal is just as bold for the simplicity and feasibility of the project.

  • SOM's new Park Avenue park would weave in and around Grand Central.