Park's Playground

Competition: Beyond the Centerline
Sponsor: Fisher Brothers
Site: New York, NY
Size: 150,000 sqf
Status: Shortlisted, 2018

Beyond the Centerline was an open call for ideas to reinvent the medians along Park Avenue in New York City. Park's Playground was 1 of 17 proposals shortlisted and publicly displayed at Park Avenue Plaza.

Park’s Playground expands the public access of Park Avenue down one level below the existing street to create a pedestrian experience secluded from the noise of vehicles passing overhead. The current median is replaced by a series of eleven 20’x200’ openings to let light and air into a subterranean arcade stretching from 46th to 57th street. The openings frame a series of covered and uncovered spaces that house entry points, vertical circulation, skylights and signage.

The arcade is sandwiched between Park Avenue and the Metro North Rail Tunnel, comprised of a 30’ wide double loaded public corridor and gathering space centered under 20’ wide openings. A colonnade straddles each side of the corridor and provides structural support to Park Avenue above by housing 30’ wide square commercial bays. Tightly knit rows of storefronts subdivide the facade of the arcade and provide dining, food & beverage and retail spaces.

Park’s Playground provides over 150,000 square feet of leasable space over eleven blocks and could generate a gross income of approximately $300 million per year, assuming the average retail space in the Midtown neighborhood is $2000 a square foot. Verification of the depths and extents of the Metro North Rail, construction costs and sequencing will determine the economic viability of such a significant public work.