Astor Place Gets the Times Square Treatment

The City's Department of Transportation is initiating a redesign of Cooper Square and Astor Place in the East Village.

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The new designs, by architects WXY and planners Quennell Rothschild, was just submitted to the city for review, and construction is expected to commence in the spring of next year.

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Currently, a riot of streets intersect at Astor Place, creating dangerous and confusing traffic patterns.

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DOT and its designers will simply the vehicular connections while expanding public spaces.

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The plan is predicated on the success of the "new" Times Square, which closed Broadway between 42nd and 48th streets, improving safety and traffic.

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Traffic converges on Astor Place from many corners.

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Waverly Place will close next to Tony Rosenthal's iconic Alamo sculpture, as will Cooper Square next to the subway station, creating considerably larger public plazas.

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There will be more room than ever for photos and skateboarding youths.

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The expanded plaza will have more room as well, with a car-free connection on its eastern flank.

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The subway plaza, as seen from the mouth of the station.

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The road on both sides of the old Cooper Union building will be changed.

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The big move is closing the block-long street of Cooper Square, though traffic islands will also been added to Third Avenue.

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A rendering of the redesigned Cooper Square park, which has new seating and lighting, though probably just as many gutter punks as before.

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The intersection of Cooper Square, which connects to Lafayette Street and Fourth Avenue just a block to the north, creates a spaghetti of streets that head-strong New Yorkers would barrel through with little thought.

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The closure of Cooper Square means those streets are no longer needed, so the Village Plaza was created, another piece of public space carved out of this plan.

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Looking south from the Village Plaza, with the Bowery Hotel on the left.

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The plaza seen from the other side, with the new Cooper Union building at right.

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