The end of cobblestones on Staple Street

The cobblestones of Staple Street between Jay and Harrison have been paved over with asphalt and maybe that’s the beginning of the end?  and that is a permanent fix: the city Department of Transportation says that Staple between Jay and Harrison is considered an asphalt segment and has been for at least a decade though it does have cobblestones buried underneath in sections. I am hoping not, since there are plans in motion to replace the crosswalks with granite pavers.

The southern block of Staple between Duane and Jay is also an asphalt overlay, as the DOT calls it, meaning while you may now see some cobblestones peeking though, ultimately it is an asphalt road and will eventually be repaved that way.

Con Edison replaced the gas main under the street north of Jay this summer; their work there wrapped up in late August. A spokesman for Con Ed said it is their standard practice to restore the street to its prior condition and that’s what sort of happened here. (Before someone corrects me, note that I am saying cobblestones when I understand they are Belgian block, since that is the vernacular.)

Con Ed inherited a street that was largely patched asphalt on top of the old Belgian block, as shown in the image from earlier this year, above and the agencies restoration was an upgrade to repair the roadway’s poor condition, according to DOT. The crossing is now Belgian block, but set in dirt — likely a placeholder for the DOT’s plans to redo the crosswalks there.

The plan, as told to CB1’s Landmarks Committee in July, is to create pedestrian ramps/curb cuts at all four corners and granite paver crosswalks, which are smooth but textured so they are slip resistant. In total six intersections in the neighborhood will get similar repairs to replace uneven Belgian block.



  1. There’s a resolution being developed, coming out of the transportation committee of CB1, to help setup a process by which the city can follow to ensure the maintenance and replacement of cobblestones/Belgian blocks .. might be worth viewing the last committee meeting online..

  2. As a new resident, I am the first to admit my ignorance with regard to the rules around maintenance of cobblestone and maybe it’s just me, but is anyone else concerned about DOT’s complete disinterest (is that it?) in preserving or restoring cobblestone streets/lanes in historic areas of Tribeca and NYC?

    I know it was a complete mess prior to this work, but this happened in Staple Street is a disgrace and should not be a permanent solution. Bring back the cobblestone!

    I will check out the CB1 meeting notes, but is there a Tribeca preservation/heritage committee?