An update on 26 Federal Plaza

The federal General Services Administration, the agency rebuilding the public plaza around 26 Federal Plaza, said that the agency plans to reopen the Broadway side of the plaza to pedestrian traffic by October 30, 2023. This is good news, since until now the date was more vague, but it also seems unrealistic. The site looks far from finished to my untrained eye, and it’s been under construction for four years — all to repair the below-ground garage.

I asked for renderings and this is all they said they could get me — at that size and with the exposure on the top of the image. I think it shows the Duane Street side? They also included the aerial above.

Four years without a sidewalk is excessive IMO so one would think they could accelerate at least that part of the project. (That’s my new pet peeve: projects that close sidewalks.)

Back in 2020, the GSA said the sculptures that were once on the plaza — “Manhattan Sentinels” installed in 1996 by Beverly Pepper, who died in February 2020 at 97 — will be returned once the plaza is finished. One of my journalism idols, the obit writer Margalit Fox, described Pepper as “an acclaimed American sculptor whose work was suffused with a quicksilver lightness that belied its gargantuan scale.”

The Beverly Pepper Foundation told me at that time that the three monoliths are now in storage in New Jersey.




  1. 20 years of constant construction on federal plaza with zero accountability. They build, they tear down and build again. It’s unreal if you have tracked their activities.
    This property is why we need a debt ceiling to end the government fleecing of America.

  2. Speaking of projects that close sidewalks, 360 Broadway and Franklin Street! That now abandoned construction site has taken away the sidewalk on the east side of Broadway and around the corner of the south side of Franklin. It forces people to walk in the street. Why is that allowed to remain as is?

    • It’s a real problem. Neighbors are trying to get them to move the fence back, especially since the site is idle.

  3. Thank you. Margalit Fox is a wonderful, subtle writer! There is a certain, rare seam of women journalists – Margalit Fox, Margot Adler, Andrea Mitchell – with a beautiful, distinct, New York sensibility that infuses their work.

  4. God bless you for mentioning Margalit Fox. The best. Because of the nature of the biz, though she left the Times years ago, her stuff still appears from time to time. If you want the full effect, try her splendid, book-length account of an historic superpuzzle (Linear B), “The Riddle of the Labyrinth.” Lousy title, but every word inside is interesting.

  5. They’ve started doing overnight construction now, bringing cranes and cement barricades and bright construction lights blasting into the residential buildings on Worth. During the day it’s really unclear how much they get done some dates nobody is there. My apartment looks out on all of this I just spoke to the construction crew begging them to turn the bright lights away from our apartments and a guy said they’re above the law they can do whatever they want. So, that was comforting I guess. Currently looking for somewhere else to stay this weekend since the overnight construction will continue.