Oct. 26, 2014 By Christian Murray
The gritty entrance to the 40th Street subway station has been transformed into a tidy plaza complete with tables, chairs and planters.
Sunnyside Shines cut the ribbon Friday to what’s now called “Lowery Plaza,” which features planters, tables and chairs. The opening comes just three months after the successful launch of the “Bliss Plaza” at 46th Street that has been well received since it opened.
“This space has been transformed from an underpass to a beautiful pedestrian oasis,” said Rachel Thieme, the executive director of Sunnyside Shines, which is commonly referred to as the BID. “It has seating, tables and colorful planters—a great place to eat lunch.”
The Lowery Plaza was put together quickly once the artwork that had occupied the space was removed Wednesday. The concrete surface was power washed and the planters, tables and chairs were added.
The planters have been systematically placed alongside Queens Boulevard, as a means to create a green buffer and soften the noise from traffic. While most of the planters were in place Friday, more will be arriving.
“We have received such positive feedback from community members and business owners about the success of the Bliss Plaza,” Thieme said, adding that “I’m delighted to replicate this success at Lowery Plaza.”
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer said that when people “hop off the 7 train at the 40th and 46th Street stations they will be welcomed by two new beautiful public plazas that have completely transformed the neighborhood’s most underutilized spaces.”
The two plazas stem from an application the BID filed with the DOT last summer for the two sites to be included as part of the NYC Plaza Program. The DOT approved the BID’s proposal and agreed to help design the plazas and provide the funding.
Both plazas will be open from 9 am until dusk. The Neighborhood Plaza Partnership, a non-profit group that is dedicated to maintaining public plazas, is in charge of putting away the tables and chairs each night as well as looking after the planters at both locations.
During the ribbon cutting a fruit vendor was operating on the periphery of the 40th Street/Lowery Plaza area.
Sources say that the vendors will be left alone as long as they abide by city law.