The Lower East Side Partnership Wants to Create a ‘Pedestrian Plaza’ Alongside Straus Square

Posted on: May 9th, 2017 at 9:36 am by

Another land grab afoot?

Straus Square, the concrete island memorial at the confluence of Canal, Rutgers, and East Broadway, is now in the crosshairs of the Lower East Side Partnership. It appears the business improvement district hopes to install another pedestrian plaza on the eastern terminus of Canal Street, near the entrance to Seward Park.

Their proposal will go before the Transportation subcommittee of Community Board 3 tonight for the first round of approvals.

Perhaps it’s prudent to look to the Division Street triangle across the way, or the plaza (aka skate park) at Delancey and Norfolk, as models of what to expect here. Bollards, painted pavement, benches, and umbrellas.

Division Street

News of the proposed plaza follows a few weeks after the Partnership’s spring planting event in Straus Square. The plan is no doubt an attempt to beautify (i.e. gentrify) what is essentially a local piss park. The triangular spit of land is a popular grazing ground and toilet for the local canine population.

Straus Square (formerly known as Rutgers Square) was named for Nathan Straus (he has another playground on Rivington), a philanthropist who, with brother Issidor founded the Macy’s department store. The marble memorial at the tip of the triangle was dedicated on Memorial Day 1953 to those brave Lower East Siders who died fighting in the two World Wars. It’s surrounded by eleven chain-linked posts.

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