Developer Files Plans for Church Street Pocket Park

Barnett Newmann Triangle rendering1 from DDG application courtesy CurbedIf you made it through the recent Unofficial Minutes from the Community Board 1 Tribeca Committee, you may recall this part about developer’s DDG plans to spruce up the no-man’s land between Sixth Ave. and Church (because it’s hoping to put up two triangular buildings on the west side of Church):

DDG also said it was talking to the Department of Transportation about (re)designing the peninsular stretch between Sixth and Church (which I think they said is called Barnett Newman Plaza?), adding greenery and other improvements, something that would have to go through the usual public review process. Residents viewed it as a paltry attempt to curry favor.

The meeting did not go well for DDG, whose request for CB1’s support for a variance from the Board of Standards and Appeals was denied. But that apparently hasn’t stopped the company from proceeding with its plans for Barnett Newman Triangle. From Curbed:

An application has been filed with the city to upgrade the Barnett Newman Triangle, a.k.a. the concrete saving grace at the intersection of Church Street, White Street and Sixth Avenue out front of the Tribeca Grand Hotel. The application was filed by DDG Foundation, the non-profit arm of developer DDG Partners whose Franklin Street development overlooks the intersection. Now this looks like a project the community can also get behind.

Ooh, I’ll take that bet! Sure, who wouldn’t want love to see the area spruced up? But the community is pretty hostile to DDG right now…. Moreover, I suspect the community—whether it’s defined as nearby residents, the community board, or Tribeca Trust—would prefer to lead the process rather than find itself in an advisory role.

The two bottom images show now-vs.-what-could-be.

UPDATE: Thanks to Jim M. for finding info on the Barnett Newman Triangle designation (see comments).

Barnett Newmann Triangle rendering2 from DDG application courtesy Curbed Barnett Newmann Triangle rendering from DDG application courtesy Curbed



  1. It looks nice to me. But the real opportunity seems to be up the road a bit on Church. There’s no need for all those unused car lanes up there between Franklin and Canal. Putting Church on a road diet would add much needed green space, slow down speeding cars and help local businesses.

  2. Improvements to that strip would be a nice addition. Indeed it is called the Barnett Newman Triangle. Was named that a few years back. I believe Barnett Newman once lived (or had a studio) in the building that now houses Bouley Botanical or perhaps it was the building on White St whose lot line windows are going to be blocked by the proposed development. Does anyone know?

    • From the New York City website:


      -Remarks By Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani At Public Hearing On Local Laws-

      The next bill before me, Introductory Number 628, sponsored by Council Members Freed, Linares, Nelson and O’Donovan, would add, through the posting of an additional sign, the name “Barnett Newman Triangle” on an existing triangle bounded by Church Street, Avenue of the Americas and Walker Street, in Manhattan.

      Barnett Newman was born on January 29, 1905 in New York City and attended public school and City College where he graduated in 1927. A lifelong resident of New York City, Mr. Newman set up a studio in lower Manhattan in the 1940’s and became a painter and sculptor of the Abstract Expressionist School.

      Mr. Newman’s work, along with the works of contemporaries Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock and Franz Klein, has had a profound and defining influence on the evolution of abstract art, and helped to shift the center of the Western Art world from Europe to the City of New York. He was known as the quintessential New York artist, a man born and raised in New York City, who believed that great art could be made in New York. Barnett Newman died in 1970 at the age of 65.

      In view of the contributions he made to the cultural and artistic prestige of New York City it is fitting that an existing triangle bounded by Church Street, Avenue of the Anericas and Walker Street, be named “Barnett Newman Triangle.”

      For the reasons previously stated, I will now sign the bill.

  3. Study these rendering carefully. Not much is being added here. They are showing a few cafe tables and chairs and a planter on the property by the entry to the Tribeca Grand. In the triangle itself, they show a bed of spring flowers around each existing tree and a park bench. There are no new trees. There is the minimal amount being done here and it’s not a terrific design and would do little to offer a buffer against the mind bogglingly horrid traffic there during rush hours.Ideally, it should encompass the strip that has been demarcated with plastic traffic barriers south to Franklin street.

    • The Department of Transportation has indicated that peninsula (the one with plastic bollards) will be raised to sidewalk level at some point, so I’d be surprised if that wasn’t part of this project. (Because DDG had said at the CB1 meeting that it was working with the DOT.)

    • I live one block away from the triangle. It’s in complete disrepair. The cement is cracked, the sign has fallen down and the foliage is uncared for. Nobody ever sits there because it’s ugly AND there’s no place to sit. If a developer is willing to pay for a re-design and maintain the space, which would be in the developer’s interest, what’s the downside? Also, the traffic there is only bad for about two hours a day. The Roxy has outdoor seating and I see people sitting there at all times of the day.

  4. What one wonders is how all of these possible “green” areas are going to be maintained? Friends of Tribeca Park understands the enormous responsibility and WORK a green space brings. All too often the DOT or Parks walks away from completed capital projects with no plans in place for maintenance going forward. These open areas must be designed to accommodate the future. To build any green area without irrigation in NYC is absurd. To have a green area without dedicated oversight is a huge mistake.