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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

Statement of principle on design and reconstruction of the Park Avenue Malls

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, November 12, 2020, the following resolution passed with a vote of 46 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The Park Avenue Malls were created in the early 20th century when the train tracks running north from Grand Central Terminal were covered; and

WHEREAS, The malls were designed as public open space with benches and plantings; and

WHEREAS, In 1927, Park Avenue was enlarged for vehicular traffic and the malls were narrowed; and

WHEREAS, The Park Avenue Malls are under DOT jurisdiction, but are maintained by non-for-profit organizations, building owners and BIDs; and

WHEREAS, The train shed located partly underneath the Park Avenue Malls is in a state of grave disrepair and will have to be systematically repaired by entirely removing the malls from 46th street to 57th street; and

WHEREAS, The necessary repairs identified by the MTA provide a lifetime opportunity to redesign the Park Avenue Malls to create a superior publicly accessible open space; and

WHEREAS, During the Greater East Midtown rezoning, Community Board Five along with numerous other stakeholders, advocated for funds generated by new developments and administered by the Governing Group to be allocated to the Park Avenue Malls; and

WHEREAS, DOT and the Mayor’s Office – in consultation with MTA – are currently working on a design for the mall replacement at Sector 1 between East 47th and East 48th Streets, in conjunction with the JP Morgan Chase new headquarters development, that could include widening the malls; and

WHEREAS, The necessary train shed repairs coupled to new developments in East Midtown provide a unique opportunity to redesign the Park Avenue Malls to create a world class publicly accessible open space that would tremendously enhance East Midtown public realm; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is committed to being a part of the Park Avenue Malls redesign, and the potential for opening them to increased use by the public.; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five urges relevant agencies and authorities to seek the expertise of urban design and landscape experts to create a superior open space at the Park Avenue Malls that will be embraced by generations to come.

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