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March 20, 2015

Ground Breaking: La Plaza de Las Americas

Children stand behind shovels at the ground breaking ceremony.

Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora, along with Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, announced the groundbreaking of Plaza de Las Americas project in Washington Heights. The new plaza will turn West 175th Street into 14,000 square feet of pedestrian space for the Washington Heights community.
With a paving design that references the style found in many town squares of the Caribbean, Central and South America, La Plaza de Las Americas will feature trees, pedestrian scale lighting, an information kiosk, benches, café tables and chairs, and an artwork fountain by artist Ester. The new plaza will also give market vendors access electrical power and water for their booths.
“DDC is proud to have partnered with DOT, our Local Elected Officials, and Community Stakeholders, for the groundbreaking of the new Plaza de Las Americas, or as our local community refers to it, La Plaza,” noted Commissioner Peña-Mora. “Our transformative design draws inspiration from Caribbean, Central and South American themes. This inclusive design would not have been successful without the input of the Community. Today we are proudly realizing the vision of so many people, including Mayor de Blasio. A vision that successfully marries the provision of safe and accessible pedestrian spaces while creating a local hub for economic and cultural incubation.  This is an achievement that will be a vital part of the community for generations to come.”
The site has long served as a community marketplace, but has only existed as an asphalt street without any public amenities.  Once completed in early 2016, La Plaza will accommodate public events during the day and evening, such as art shows, non-amplified folk music/dance, dramatic performances, poetry readings, and craft fairs. Together, DOT, DDC and NYCDCLA worked closely with the community, conducting interviews, and public sessions to ensure the new plaza design met their needs.