By: Ben Kohane  | 

Renovations to 185th Pedestrian Plaza on the Horizon

Renovations plans are currently in place to redesign and improve the Yeshiva University 185th pedestrian plaza here on campus, just years after it first officially was blocked off to non-emergency traffic.

The plaza between Furst Hall and the Gottesman Library was not always so nice. Until just a couple of years ago, the street – 185th Street, between the avenues of Amsterdam and Audubon – was still used as a thoroughfare for traffic vehicles. Six years ago, when Jeffrey Rosengarten, YU’s Vice President of Administrative Services read that New York City’s Department of Transportation was looking to install pedestrian spaces throughout the city, he “immediately applied on behalf of the university. [While the initiative’s administrators thought it was] a great idea and were very supportive, the program recognized that it had a limited amount of money,” and ultimately put most of their focus on other, more-popular areas – like the plaza near Macy’s at Herald Square.

Rosengarten ultimately petitioned city and state politicians to raise money for this project, and received substantial funding. The initial remodeling took place soon after, closing down the street completely and installing potted plant features and removable furniture like tables and chairs. However, the new plan calls for even greater renovations, including “installing decorative concrete, stone and wood chairs, and a single emergency fire lane. New planter beds and 10 trees would be added, too,” according to website DNAinfo. Rosengarten believes that the renovations would be a victory for the university and for the surrounding neighborhood; “in addition to being safe, the presence of actual trees and grass would be great for the plaza,” he said. Since he received extra from his fundraising efforts, the pedestrian mall along Amsterdam Avenue will similarly see improvements, including trees, grass, and enhanced road barriers.

Unforeseen setbacks in construction notwithstanding, the awarding of the contract for the construction outfit will take place in the next couple of months, with various filings and zoning registrations to follow. Using conservative estimates, Rosengarten predicts that the renovated plaza will probably be ready to open around Spring 2016.