Meat Market Plaza is Open for Business

The interim redesign of Ninth Avenue and 14th Street is done. Tables, chairs, planters and some of those giant granite blocks from DOT’s Bridges Division have been set out as multipurpose bollard-bench-tables atop a gravelly, earth-tone pavement surface. 

What was very recently one of the longest and most hectic pedestrian crossings in Manhattan, and no treat for drivers, cyclists or nearby businesses, is suddenly a place where you can sit down and enjoy a Fat Witch brownie from the Chelsea Market after a busy morning of couture shopping at Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen. And soon you’ll be able to get there via New York City’s on-street, parking-protected "cycle track." As Danish urban designer Jan Gehl says, "How nice is it to wake up every morning and know that your city is a little bit better than it was the day before."

If DOT’s new plazas on Willoughby and Pearl Streets in Brooklyn are any indication, the demand for this type of public space is huge and it’s going to be a hit with lunchtime and evening crowds regardless of the proximity to busy traffic. Word has it the granite blocks and tables on the south side of 14th Street were already seeing heavy use on Tuesday evening at around 11:00 pm. Meat Market Plaza seems to be particularly popular with the smokers, banished, as they are, from the city’s indoor spaces. Get ready to clean some cigarette butts out of the planters.

We’d love to get more photos of people using the new plaza spaces. If you’re in the area, snap ’em and send ’em to





  • This is great. I noticed this changes this afternoon, and I’l definitely making this my new lunch spot while the weather’s still warm.

    Furthermore, once the new Apple Store opens at the NW corner of 14th and 9th, this plaza will be overrun with people. Great idea by the city to put something so useful in a popular location.

  • sjt

    Another successful example of NYC DOT working in partnership with local, private management groups–in this case, the Chelsea Improvement Company–to reclaim and develop public plazas.

  • momos

    The transformation is remarkable. Keep it up, DOT!

  • Steve S

    Are you kidding me? You throw a few planters, tables, and some flimsy umbrellas that look like they can blow away with a mild puff of wind and tables, raise the pavement a bit, and that’s what you call an attractive urban plaza. That’s the problem with NYC…we tolerate mediocrity and call it remarkable. If you want true urban plazas, go to Seattle…and this comes from a life-long NYer.

  • Cin

    Very cool. It might not be perfect, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

  • mkultra

    steve – do you understand the fundamental difference between a multi-year capital project and an asap temporary installation? duh.

  • chris

    Being from the SF Bay Area, I don’t know much about NYC- But, being an urban enthusiast who wants to see more pedestrian friendly plazas like this, I’d say that’s a great step in the right direction, especially with popular businesses like the apple store moving in– it’s a win-win for the city, businesses, and residents


Andy Wiley-Schwartz Starts at DOT on Monday

Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan continues to assemble an impressive management team. Following in the footsteps of Bruce Schaller and Jon Orcutt, Project for Public Spaces vice president and transportation program director Andy Wiley-Schwartz is heading over to 40 Worth Street where he will be reporting to Deputy Commissioner Schaller at DOT’s new Office […]

Paul Steely White and Brian Lehrer Analyze DOT Plan

With more on DOT’s Sustainable Streets plan, here’s Transportation Alternatives’ Paul Steely White on this morning’s Brian Lehrer Show. Over the course of the 17 minute clip, White and Lehrer discuss parking policy, bike commuting and Bus Rapid Transit. Don’t miss the Streetsblog plug. Also this morning, Lehrer hosted New York Times reporter John Broder […]

Eyes on the Street: Obama Takes Manhattan

A scene from Midtown early this morning, after Barack Obama was named president-elect. On the A downtown from Inwood, new passengers were welcomed with screams and cheers at every stop. It was standing room only by the time the train reached 42 Street. New Yorkers lined the sidewalks in Times Square. Cars rolled through slowly, […]