An effort to expand Duane Park is underway

The Friends of Duane Park is aiming to expand the park’s footprint — taking it back to its size a couple hundred years ago — in 1797 — when it was first acquired by the city.

The plan, which, as with the 1998 park redesign, has been drawn by neighbor and landscape architect Signe Nielsen, is to restore the sidewalk on the south side of the park — right now the curb ends at the fence — and expand the western point of the park that juts into the fork of Duane Street. Both of these areas were taken away in the mid-50s in exchange for more roadway. The plan calls for another tree for the western end, and the removal of some of the shrubs on the southern side. (All drawings below are credited to Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects.)

Preliminary cost estimates are $350-$400k; the group has $150k in hand or pledged and would try to come up with the rest through fundraising or capital requests to local electeds.

While the Friends may have been aiming to thwart the DOT’s plans to add a Citi Bike station along the south perimeter, the plan has way more benefits, including public safety. Adding sidewalk is always a good idea, and with the southern edge of the park made more transparent by the removal of the shrubs, that corner of Duane and Hudson will be activated, especially at night. Plus more trees = good.

(And I’ll note that when summer comes each year, it would now make even more sense to close at the least one fork of Duane to traffic…)

The process may be a long one, involving the usual alphabet soup of the city Department of Transportation, the Parks Department and the Landmarks Commission, but the Friends got the blessing from CB1’s Parks Committee this week. And the Friends is looking for helpers as well — folks to do historical research and engage with city agencies. Find them here.



  1. Was there supposed to be a link about how to get involved? Great project.

  2. I’m all for this, but why not expand all the way North and just have one street for cars to either continue East on Duane or turn North on Hudson?

    This is a PRIME opportunity to create more public greenspace that isn’t free parking for private property. Go big here as you won’t have the opportunity again.

    • Completely agree; there is barely any traffic on this stretch of Duane, and a larger format park / green space in this location would be a tremendous amenity for the neighborhood (and help soak up some of the increasingly monsoon-like rain that falls within the city).

    • Absolutely agree! At a minimum get rid of street parking in at least one side and make the park larger.

      It would be better to permanently pedestrianize one of the two streets.

      There is so much more potential for these spaces other than a parking spot for about 15 cars.

  3. This all sounds great.

  4. I also think this is a great plan and would like to thank the people at the Friends of Duane Park for the work to get this going. They are a great organization and our neighborhood is lucky to have them.

  5. Thanks for the feedback so far! We are so grateful to have strong community support for this project. To volunteer, you can reach us here:

  6. As others have noted, a more ambitious larger plan would be welcome. There’s no reason for this much street surface in this area at all.

  7. Oh no ,not this again

  8. like putting 10 pounds of potatoes in a 5 pond bag!

  9. A lot of money would be spent for an ever-so-slight extension. We need to make sure the FDNY have plenty of room to get back to their house as well. I’m a big NO on this one.

  10. How does one recommend a restoration of a park? Finn Square by Gotan is lookup mighty beaten up

  11. There is a Friends of Finn Square and they are seeking new members.