Press Releases

For Immediate Release
February 16, 2018

Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – (212) 720-3471
NYC DOT: Scott Gastel/Gloria Chin: (212) 839-4850                                                


Created as part of the rezoning of Greater East Midtown approved by Council in 2017, the Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group’s first vote is for projects dedicated to continued economic growth in one of Manhattan’s greatest and busiest neighborhoods
Created as part of the rezoning of Greater East Midtown approved by Council in 2017, the Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group’s first vote is for projects dedicated to continued economic growth in one of Manhattan’s greatest and busiest neighborhoods

February 16, 2018 - The East Midtown Public Realm Improvement Fund Governing Group voted to approve a new pedestrian plaza at Pershing Square East between 41st and 42nd Streets as part of the Greater East Midtown Rezoning. The Governing Group also funded security infrastructure to the planned shared street on East 43rd Street between Lexington and 3rd Avenues, which will provide a transformed experience for pedestrians traveling to and from Grand Central Terminal. Both projects will be managed by the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT), helping to ensure the area remains a global capital of commerce.

“The real-time improvement of transit and public space in East Midtown is underway,” said Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. “When riders and commuters at Grand Central get off the trains each morning, they’ll walk into wide open plazas with room to breathe. I congratulate the Governing Group for prioritizing the Pershing Square project, and we look forward to moving it ahead rapidly.”

“The East Midtown rezoning pioneered a new model for planning and funding public benefits to go with private development,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Now, working together and incorporating input from the community, we’re beginning to deliver those benefits by starting the design and outreach process for a new Pershing Square pedestrian plaza and a newly redesigned, pedestrian- and bike-friendly 43rd Street. East Midtown will be more welcoming and will have more to offer New Yorkers, commuters, and visitors because of the work we’ve all done together.”

“East Midtown near Grand Central Station is the heart of Manhattan’s business and commerce, and the rezoning of this neighborhood last year made this vote possible,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “In addition to maintaining New York’s status as an economic powerhouse, the new and vibrant public spaces will benefit all who work and visit East Midtown. The unanimous vote allows for the complete build-out of a 43rd Street ‘shared street’ as well as the formal transformation of Pershing Square East into a pedestrian plaza. We will be easing pedestrian congestion in this incredibly busy neighborhood while at the same time creating welcoming outdoor public spaces for thousands of people every day.”

City Planning Commission Chair Marisa Lago said, “This is an exciting step forward for the Greater East Midtown business district. We look forward to the ongoing collaboration with area residents and businesses to design these public spaces to meet the needs of residents, employees and visitors to this iconic location.”

“We are pleased that a consensus was reached to deliver these new public spaces to New Yorkers,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “These will be transformative projects that improve the public realm in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.”

"I’m glad to see real plans take shape in East Midtown at Pershing Square East with more space, and additional security at 43rd Street, said Council Member Keith Powers. “This represents the good that can come from investing in public spaces and community development."

“43rd Street and Pershing Square East are about to become important public spaces, and serve as a grand welcome to Grand Central,” said former Council Member Dan Garodnick, who serves on the Governing Group as representative of Speaker Corey Johnson.  “This milestone activates the first of what will be many additions to the public realm from the fund that we created through the East Midtown Rezoning."

“The East Midtown rezoning is an example of what can be accomplished through collaboration and strategic use of the city’s land use tools,” said NYCEDC President James Patchett. “We commend the Governing Group for approving public realm improvements into Pershing Square East and the new 43rd Street Shared Street. These investments will enhance pedestrian safety and the surrounding streetscape in one of Manhattan’s busiest commercial neighborhoods.”

“Investing in Pershing Square East and 43rd Street Shared Street, plus further investigation of Lexington Avenue, 41st to 57th Street jumpstarts East Midtown Governing Group’s ability to create better places for people in this hub of commerce and transportation,” said Susan Chin, FAIA, Hon. ASLA, Executive Director, Design Trust for Public Space.  These initiatives, combined with DOT’s new approaches to sharing the street, will provide an attractive destination as well as a vibrant place to live, work or watch the world go by, and spur new development and investment in expanding our public realm.”

"We are happy to join our colleagues on the East Midtown Governing Group in voting to jump-start the public realm process with the creation of a brand-new pedestrian plaza at Pershing Square East,” said Vikki Barbero, Chair of Community Board Five.

The vote comes after the 13-member Governing Group elected directors, approved a mission statement and reviewed the public realm improvements to which the City committed upfront funds at the time the zoning was adopted last year.

Both the Pershing Square East plaza and 43rd Street shared street take into account the needs of property and business owners along the street, overall circulation, transit connections, building and loading dock access, pick-up and drop-offs, parking, sanitation, deliveries, ADA accessibility, emergency access, and utilities. DOT looks forward to continuing public outreach on both projects over the coming months.

The Governing Group voted unanimously to fund the capital construction of Pershing Square East Plaza and security infrastructure for the 43rd Street shared street.

The Governing Group appointees include:

Deputy Mayor for Housing & Economic Development Alicia Glen
City Planning Director Marisa Lago
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg
Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver
OMB Director Melanie Hartzog
EDC President James Patchett
DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza
Borough President appointee: Borough President Gale Brewer
Citywide civic organization appointee: Susan Chin, Design Trust for Public Space
City Council District 4 appointee: Council Member Keith Powers
City Council Speaker appointee: Dan Garodnick
Manhattan Community Board Five appointee: Vikki Barbero
Manhattan Community Board Six appointee: Terrence O’Neal

For more information on the Greater East Midtown Rezoning, visit this page on the NYC Department of City Planning site. For more information on the Greater East Midtown Governing Group, visit