An 11-block stretch of Park Avenue in Midtown East may soon be transformed into a corridor of experiential galleries and venue spaces. According to New York City Council member Keith Powers, transformation of the Park Avenue Malls, a series of enclosed green spaces and traffic medians between 46th and 57th Streets along the avenue, is set to proceed to the next phase of project planning. This includes the retention of a landscape architect to create a master plan for project.
As part of the plan, the city will issue a request for proposal to hire a landscape architect who will create a master plan for the project. Funding will be provided by the East Midtown Governing Group. The request for proposals from landscape architects and private stakeholders is expected to be issued in spring 2022.
The Department of Transportation will then work with the architect to transform the traffic medians through a design-build project structure. The timeline for the project will be stretched over a 20-year period, largely in-step with the long awaited rehabilitation of Metro-North Railroad access points and commuter spaces at Grand Central Terminal.
“This investment in Midtown East comes at a pivotal moment for New York’s recovery,” said council member and former Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “Now is the perfect time to reimagine this stretch of Park Avenue as there is an opportunity to create something truly unique in one of our most important central business districts as we upgrade our critical transportation infrastructure.”
In 2018, Fisher Brothers sponsored Beyond the Centerline, an open design competition for the Park Avenue Malls project. That same year, the competition jury selected “Park Park” from design studio Maison as the winning entry. The concept proposes a series of elevated platforms that could serve as flexible art and recreational spaces open to the general public.
Conceptual renderings for “Gallery & Gardens” illustrates a triplet of elevated glass cubes that would serve as a rotating gallery and venue space. The boxes would be flanked by seasonally curated garden pathways. The concepts also included a duo of spirals drawing inspiration from the iconic Guggenheim Museum. Referred to as “Stack,” the twisting ramps lead to an open-air platform elevated five- to six-stories above street level.
Renderings of “The Court,” reveal an elevated platform with basketball courts available for public use. “Forest,” the fourth and final rendering, is another elevated platform that floats above Park Avenue with a collection of live trees and a glass bottom pathway for the public to explore.
“Since the inception of our ‘Beyond the Centerline’ design competition, Fisher Brothers has understood the power that transforming Park Avenue has to breathe new life into East Midtown and spur economic growth,” said Winston Fisher, partner at Fisher Brothers. “Now more than ever, we need to prioritize investments in innovative open spaces that attract companies, workers, and tourism back into our central business districts to revitalize the office, retail, restaurant, and attractions ecosystem that makes Midtown thrive.”