Federal Plaza Has Finally Reopened

Federal Plaza pullbackI’ve been obsessed with Federal Plaza for weeks and weeks, watching it sit unopened even though the reconstruction was obviously done. Today, the gates were down—so I took a million photos, no doubt triggering some sort of security freakout, it being Federal property and all. (It’s the plaza at the southwest corner of Lafayette and Worth.)

From the U.S. General Services Administration website: “This $16.2 million project, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, addressed water issues in the underground parking area directly beneath the plaza. The project, which included significant improvements to the current waterproofing and drainage systems, also allowed for a redesign of the plaza. In August, 2009 GSA awarded a contract to the New York-based architectural firm of Wank Adams Slavin Associates. Working with the landscape architecture firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, the team developed a new plaza design that will serve well the needs of the current civic center area, which has seen a major increase in a residential population over the past 10 years.”

Federal Plaza railingsIt’s a little Vegas—or at least what I wish/imagine Caesar’s Palace would be like, all marble and mod forms (by which I mean the torqued railing posts and very sexy garbage cans). The round and rectangular marble benches look like they were placed by a five year-old—and I expect they’ll be cold to the touch long after spring has sprung—but maybe they’ll feel more organized when the plantings (including magnolia trees) fill out. There’s also evidently a water feature (“The fountain emerges from the paving, programmed for changing water patterns throughout the day”), but I saw no evidence of it on this early April day.

Then again, maybe the folks in charge are afraid of water. Someone who works at the building told me that the plaza will be closed in rainy weather, because the marble floor is too slippery to risk a lawsuit.

All but two of the photos are self-explanatory. The big round structure that looks like a beacon is an air shaft for the building, and the flagpole-like things are art (with security cameras attached). Also: Ugly plastic signboards listing the rules are here and there; the only rule I read was that no smoking is allowed on the plaza.

Note: I had to turn off comments because of a spam barrage. Email tribecacitizen@gmail.com if you want to add something and I’ll temporarily allow comments again.

Federal Plaza pullback2Federal Plaza round benchesFederal Plaza air shaft2Federal Plaza bench and floorFederal Plaza benchesFederal Plaza garbage canFederal Plaza rampFederal Plaza railingFederal Plaza round benches2Federal Plaza curved benchFederal Plaza benchFederal Plaza rules



  1. The number of projects done at federal plaza in the past 5-10 or so years has been incredible. It is the poster child for government /taxpayer abuse.

  2. Yuks on the garbage can (no likey). And agree with comment about randomness of blocks; but, it’s at least ten times better than what was there before, so that’s progress.

  3. Nice – thanks for the photos. I’m still going to miss the swirly green benches that were there before, though…