August 21, 2019
Residents of the Lillian Wald Houses and community members on the Lower East Side had a vision for a vibrant public space. Benches to relax and catch up with neighbors, a stage for performances, a stepped mound for recreational activities, and new lighting. This was the work of our dedicated Community Design Team completed in the first phase of our Opening the Edge project.
We reconvened the Community Design Team team to further develop their concept. The CDT hired an Art Fellow, Lee Jimenez, to create public art to include in the design of the space. Working with Lighting Design Consultant Kate Sweater at Dwaal Lighting Design, and Landscape Architect Consultant Nancy Owens Studio, the team started to think about materials and long-term stewardship of the space.
In 2019, we received city capital funding from Council Member Carlina Rivera. The process could now become a reality for the neighborhood! In 2020, we received more capital funding from Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The pandemic may have slowed some things down, but we'll be moving into the construction phase in the third phase of the project.
“A lot of kids here and a lot of old folks like myself would love to come up to a park and see a show or something. I think it’s going to work out but it’s up to us to keep the ball rolling.”
JACOB RIIS HOUSES RESIDENT
“The whole process has been really fun. I don’t really spend time thinking about the way I relate to space. I’ve walked around here for twenty five years and haven't really thought about it. I’m excited to see what we can come up with.”
LOWER EAST SIDE RESIDENT
Taking the fence down and being able to walk across the unused space gives us freedom and can create a cultural movement.