Friends of Duane Park is seeking input on a bigger footprint

The Friends of Duane Park are asking the neighborhood to cast its vote on how best to restore the park to its historical dimensions — if in fact the city will support the expansion of the park.

The group has been discussing the idea of adding more acreage to the park on its south and west sides — walk by and you’ll see an outline of what the perimeter could be. The park was created in 1797, but it took its form in 1888, when it was the size of the red line in the illustration below; in 1940 the southern sidewalk was narrowed and in 1954 it was removed. The western “nose” was also abbreviated along the way.

The plan takes the footprint back to 1888. (What could be even better is to remove the southern branch of Duane altogether and add that into the park…)

Assuming there are new boundaries to work with, the Friends are considering three options:
1. Add greenspace plus a southern sidewalk
2. Add greenspace without the sidewalk, so there is more greenery to repel heat and increase water capture
3. Do nothing! And keep the park just as it is.

All plans by MNLA

“Because the estimated cost of the restoration by the Parks Dept is considerably higher than our original estimate, we are polling the community about the preferred characteristics of the restoration (restored sidewalk vs. additional greenery, essentially),” said board member Michael Quinn. “Then, we will move to figuring out how to fund it. So, still a lot of variables to work through. A given? Not at all. A reasonable hope? You betcha!”

Voting will take place until Oct. 13, then the results of the poll will be presented to Community Board 1 as an informal indication of the
community’s sentiment about the proposed restoration. Cast your vote with the link here or use the QR code on the banners at the park.

Photo by Robert Ripps



  1. I’d like to see Friends of Duane Park advocate for a fourth option – closing at least one side of Duane Street to car traffic and extending the park across the other side. Choose a side to accommodate cars and deliveries. On the other side, create a space for relaxation and play and relieve some of the pressure from overcrowded Washington Market Park. In summer, enjoy extended outdoor seating; eat ice cream from one of our many vendors. In winter, play in the snow while sipping hot chocolate from Duane Park Patisserie or Laughing Man. Our community needs a piazza in this, the heart of Tribeca.

    • +100

      An A+ municipal government would walk around each neighborhood in the city and mark hundreds of underutilized streets for conversion to greenery, public space and/or traffic calming measures, with initial (and quickly implemented) temporary conversions followed by permanent projects (utilizing lessons learned from the pop-ups).

      A win for residents and pedestrians, a win for local retail and a win for the environment.

  2. I agree that the options presented are too limited. I agree with Pam and Kathleen that we should pick one of the car lanes and close it to add park space. There is also a vast amount of empty asphalt on the west side of the park which could be subsumed into the park.

  3. They are absolutely thinking in the right direction. The streets need a massive road diet and the community would benefit immensely from getting this space back (note there is not much traffic on these side streets anyway).

    I would also throw out Finn Square a block away as another spot that would greatly benefit from a redesign and prioritizing pedestrians over endless traffic and free parking lanes.

    As local residents, how do we make this happen?

    • +1 re: Finn Square. But for this to be successful, we also need the neighborhood and the city to address the Fresh Direct trucks that have co-opted the space for their loading and unloading 24/7

  4. Finn Square is desperately in need for some TLC. Those sidwalks are in disrepair and the surrounding area + electrical station makes it look rundown

    Anyone knows what’s going on there?

    • There is a friends group you can contact:

    • Brian,

      We have been trying to fix the sidewalks at Finn Square for years, and last spring Department of Transportation and Parks and Recreation officials took a look and said they would do something. We are still advocating but don’t see any progress, except that it is priority number 37 or something on the Community Board budgeting checklist. There is a proposal to broaden the park which would probably mean taking out the locust trees that are uprooting the sidewalk. We want to keep the trees, just give them more room, which would prevent them from bursting through the sidewalks.

      Patty Aakre, Friends of Finn Square

  5. I thought this park project was a product of the Onion.

    I watched a man poo on the street today while going to work (he was shouting something about paying Manhattan congestion pricing), I had to veer into the street to avoid the fake goods vendors near Broadway/Canal when going to a lunch meeting (the meeting topic was addressing crime and vacant storefronts in the neighborhood), and when I picked up my kids from school there were at least 40 people waiting in line for the nearby shelter. If we only we had the tenacity, the manpower, the resources, imagine what an extra 300sq ft park addition would mean for the neighborhood and its residents! How do I get involved?

    • People shouldn’t care about parks because a guy pooped in the street?

    • I understand your point. A lot of the problems you mentioned like homelessness, public disorder (illegal vendors, etc) can seem daunting to the average resident with solutions that may not be easy or even necessarily clear.

      Something like a small improvement to a park can succeed because it is a very specific goal.

      If you know how to solve the homelessness problem by all means please go for it and we support you.

  6. Bravo, to any expansion. However, I currently experience this space as a non-park. The plants are fenced off and the seating area is inward facing on hard paving. Why not open it out to be able to sit amongst the plants and add greenery to the hard-standing area the benches are currently on.

  7. I completely share the view from other commenters that the park should be expanded to include at least one side of Duane Street, if not both. Let’s hope this proposal is a step towards that.

  8. Do not close Duane street to cars. That road needs to be used when Chambers gets congested. The school buss need to go through that lane for WMP school.

  9. Yes to expanding the park as much as possible but if one of the Duane arms is included it has to be the north side. The north side dead ends into Hudson while the south side is actually the Duane through street. If the south side is closed then there’s no way to get from Greenwich Street to the rest of Duane or Hudson between Chambers and Duane without driving south to Warren, east to Church, north to Reade (or Duane if the destination is east of Church) and then west to Hudson. Our firehouse is on Duane, east of Church and there needs to be a more direct way for their return from a call northwest of the firehouse.

  10. I also agree that the park should be expanded, more easily to the east, with as much planting and non-paved area as possible

  11. Duane and Finn expansions are terrific ideas and grassroots efforts can get both accomplished.

  12. The single biggest issue in the area near Duane Park is 172 Duane St which has been under scaffolding for so many years we have lost count, collects trash, and has become a rodent complex. That should be a bigger priority near term than the park. As to Duane Park, unfortunately it has become a marijuana-smoking den just like Bogardus, a sorry and unfortunate state for plazas/parks that have so much potential.

  13. N’s comments regarding the possible closing of one of the Duane Street arms and the reasoning why is should be the northern arm and not the southern one are accurate and well thought out. However, closing either and keeping only one open will create a problem regarding limited space for delivery trucks…and I’m not talking about Amazon deliveries. I’m talking about actual local, small business deliveries. Remember local, small businesses? They’re trying to make a comeback after the pandemic and they’re just as important to our community as green space is. Besides, although I’m all for green space, I do have to point out that in addition to Washington Market Park (which some people are now complaining is “over crowded”) Hudson River Park (including piers 25 and 26) is just a short walk from Tribeca proper, and offers a number of green space options for relaxing, playing, chatting, reading, sipping, etc. Plus there’s another (large) children’s recreational space opening soon. Enlarging the park and making it more “user friendly” is a great idea, but let’s keep the streets as usable streets.

  14. As a resident on the south side of the park, I am concerned about an expansion that would make an already crowded street, between the city bikes and the placard parkers, even more crowded. How can an emergency vehicle get through? Where will the workers park their vans? So, as you can imagine, I am even more against closing one of the arms (especially if it is the one I live on!)

    I DO love the park…. just the way it is!

  15. I know the use of cobblestones/Belgian block throughout the neighborhood is a hotly contested issue, in large part because they have not been well maintained nor the crosswalks updated to meet the needs of those with mobility challenges. Those genuine issues aside, I for one would love to see that entire block of Duane from Greenwich to Hudson, have the cobblestones re-laid, and as others have suggested, have at least some of that space returned to pedestrians. It’s as close to us having a town square as it gets!