Occupy Frank Gehry: 8 Spruce Street Open Space Opening Within Weeks

Open to the public? Soon enough.
Pretty, and pretty angular—signature Gehry.
The space sits at the foot of the tower.
A rendering of what the entrance will look like all grown in and grown up.
New Yorkers cannot wait to come inside.
A separate passageway on the eastern side has been open since the fall, when an elementary school in the base of the building opened.
Locals have already taken to the space, using it as a quick cut-through or a place to rest.

If Zucotti Park is getting boring, and the folks at Occupy Wall Street are looking for something a little more flashy, they might want to check out New York by Frank Gehry. The super-rich rental tower (tallest in the Western Hemisphere!) rising at 8 Spruce Street has been open for more than a year yet it was not quite done.

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The public plaza out front has been under construction until very recently, waiting in part for construction scaffolding to come down so that planting might commence. Now, the privately owned public space—a POPS just like Zucotti—is set to open in a matter of weeks, according to the folks at Forest City Ratner.

“It’s 90 percent done, and we’re hoping to open it within the next four to six weeks,” Susi Yu, the Forest City senior vice president in charge of the project told The Observer last Friday. Our interest was initially piqued by a LMDC report that the space had opened, but when we called to learn more, Ms. Yu informed us this was not quite so.

Still, as these photos, captured today, show, it might be the coolest place to hang out downtown since the East River Esplanade opened. “It’s an amazing space, and I think it will be an amazing amenity for the community,” Ms. Yu said.

“It was a true collaboration between Jim and Frank,” she continued, referring to James Corner, the landscape architect perhaps best knowing for leading the design of the High Line, and Mr. Gehry. “Nothing has been done in terms of design direction and execution without some involvement from Frank’s office. We think it really connects to the building and serves as a fitting entrance, a true expression of Frank’s work at street level.”

The plans are to let the space be for the time being and see how the community adapts to it. “It’s more of a nice gathering point,” Ms. Yu said. “We want to see how it works before we do anything to it. I would love to program it at some point, it is always good to have activity, but let’s see what the community thinks of it and how they use it first.”

While we can’t wait for the orange netting around the site to come down so the city might get inside, the netting does seem to match the terra cotta bricks at the base. If nothing else, it certainly fits with Mr. Gehry’s early preference for downscale materials.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

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