Laight and Greenwich: Paving the streets with granite

The Laight Street intersection with Greenwich is getting the royal cobblestone treatment – you can now see what are actually precisely cut granite (vs. stone) blocks (they looked *so* perfect, I thought it was trompe l’oeil cobbles when A. first sent the pic!) being laid down by DOT.

These beauties will cover the intersection and the crosswalks, except where there is asphalt. They lay down a concrete slab, then sand, then the blocks, which are then secured with a polymeric sand for grout. They also built in the pedestrian ramps beautifully, rather than as an afterthought. It will be dreamy – or as my kid said when he was about 4, “smooth as melted cheese.” All that said, it does seem like overkill. Paving the streets with gold granite? I have no idea what the cost differential is, so maybe it’s just conjecture. But I’ve certainly never seen streets like this in NYC. Don’t get me wrong — it looks fab. But I am feeling a bit guilty about it knowing that somewhere in the South Bronx there’s a pothole the size of a Volkswagon…

Now as for the rest of the Greenwich cobblestones, still waiting to hear what DOT has planned…

 

 

7 Comments

  1. That is always the question or questions – preservation of some of historic NYC or just quickly pave it over. These new “cobblestones” are handicap safe (if that’s an acceptable term), show some of the historic “feel” yet last longer. Where is the balancing point?

  2. I think I have seen these pavers on a few streets in SoHo, on Greene, near Prince. They seem a bit odd and out of place with the surrounding cobbles (almost look like tiles).

  3. Who’s paying for it? That’s all i want to know. The developers who ruined the street with the heavy construction vehicles or the city taxpayers? It should have been done looong ago and yet i guess all the billionaires don’t mind as their large suv gets bounced around. It’s just a shame, almost as bad as the large humps at the start of the West side highway at 57th Street that have caused so many accidents, blown tires and cracked it broken axles.

  4. At least having bad cobbles at that intersection served to slow speeding cars coming from the tunnel. Now you’ll have a glass like smooth surface which will have the dual purpose of increasing speed and making it nearly impossible for speeding vehicles to stop.

    Polished granite (especially when wet) isn’t exactly known for it’s high friction properties.

  5. bill@paulsenventures.com
    The cobblestones on Greenwich St between Canal and Hubert were done as part of the TARP stimulus. They were requested or mandated by The Landmarks Commission to add to the historic fabric of our “Warehouse District” They are laid over a concrete base, then stone dust, then Belgium Block (commonly called cobblestones but not really). The standard for separation between blocks is between ¼ to ⅜ inch. Ours appear to be at least 1-1 ½ inches. The grout should be a premixed and troweled into the joints. Ours was poured in dry and then watered down. Then came The City Bank renovation (well done) but bringing with it Supplies and heavy construction. Citi has been able to use multiple lanes of Greenwich and Greenwich and Hubert for storage and staging either as an accommodation or for a fee from the City.

    The grout between the blocks has completely broken down and is dangerous for bikes, cars, and pedestrians. If you are biking you either need a Fat Tire bike or you need to violate the law and get up on the sidewalk. When the blocks totally fail or excavation is done on the street DOT just throws in some ad hoc asphalt and moves on. (i’m told there are three workers that repair belgium block on their staff)

    I get it that we are a privileged class here but it is a travesty to not maintain a carefully mandated historic street. I personally think CITI should repair it as part of their project and in return for having the use of public streets for staging and to repair something that is largely caused by their heavy equipment.
    the contractor who installed the street should be held to account for not building it to the accepted specification. The city has leverage over these stake holder or through their future requests for permitting or inclusion in future bidding. The City should repair our streets in kind. they wouldn’t repair West St with a patch of cobblestones.

    I love our neighborhood and am obviously passionate about this issue.

    Disclaimer: My facts have been gathered from personal observation of the original installation, The Architect at Landmarks responding to the specs from an architectural standards, the observation of countless pieces of heavy equipment trundling down Greenwich St for the last two years, talking to the workmen throwing in an asphalt patch in a beautiful restored road my suppositions about motives and responsibilities. I’ve been a Developer for 40 years.

    Call 311 and talk to or leave a message requesting th road be repaired properly. If you know or City Counsel member, ask them to help. If you work for CITI try to get a name of the employee who is supervising the renovation contractor for their project.

    Bill Paulsen

  6. The condition of the Greenwich Street cobblestones is a hazard to both cars and pedestrians, and is long overdue for fixing. It’s shameful that these streets were allowed to deteriorate to such dangerous conditions.

  7. The last redoing of cobblestone on Greenwich and Harrison street is a total disaster. How the city approved this job is beyond me. Can’t imagine the cost of lawsuits the city must be paying to those who have fallen and sustained serious injuries. Using granite at intersections or another smooth surface at intersections will put the responsibility on pedestrians to cross in the proper places.

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