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September 28, 2016

NYC Department of Design and Construction, NYC Department of Transportation and Yeshiva University Break Ground on Renovated Pedestrian Plaza at 185th Street

Renovating existing linear streetscape plaza to benefit the surrounding community

Four employees from DDC, DOT and Yeshiva University performing the ceromonial groundbreaking
(L-R) Tom Foley, DDC Associate Commissioner of Infrastructure; Joseph Cook, Executive Director of University Operations; Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph, Yeshiva University Senior Vice President; and Luis Sanchez, DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner

Shavone Williams
Public Information Officer

Dan Leibel
Junior Public Information Officer

Washington Heights, NY— New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Associate Commissioner of Infrastructure, Tom Foley, New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez and Yeshiva University Senior Vice President Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph joined to officially break ground on the renovation of a 20,000 square-foot pedestrian plaza on West 185th Street between Audubon and Amsterdam Avenues. The $3.6 million project will upgrade an existing pedestrian plaza to improve infrastructure and provide a more serene location for students at Yeshiva University as well as the surrounding community. A portion of the funding for the project came from Councilmember Ydanis Rodriguez and Comptroller Scott Stringer while he was the Manhattan Borough President.

Located on the campus of Yeshiva University, the existing streetscape plaza will be converted into series of small- and medium-sized gathering spaces. The redesigned space will include new features such as additional seating areas, moveable tables with chess tabletops, bicycle racks and ornamental street lighting surrounded by various trees, shrubs, perennials, and ferns. The project will also include the installation of new curbs, sidewalks, pavers, and water mains.

“DDC is pleased to break ground on the 185th street pedestrian plaza, with DOT and Yeshiva University, in support of the Mayor’s vision for an environmentally sustainable and resilient City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “This renovated plaza will provide a safe, ample space with great benefits to Yeshiva University students and staff, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.” 

“This new pedestrian plaza will become a vibrant gathering place for neighbors, students, and visitors alike. The new plantings, seating, and lighting will transform a street into a community terrace for all to enjoy,” said DOT Acting Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez. “We are thrilled to break ground, along with NYC DDC, on this collaborative project which highlights the strong partnership between Yeshiva University, local elected officials, Manhattan’s Community Board 12, and the Washington Heights community.”

“We look forward to the completion of the 185th Street Plaza as we cement our future with the community. Not only will the student life at Yeshiva University be enhanced, but the local neighborhood will be richer as well,” said Yeshiva University President, Richard M. Joel.

 “With improvements to the pedestrian plaza on 185th street, we are making our community more open, beautiful and inviting for residents, students and visitors,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez. “The campus of Yeshiva University is one of the hidden treasures of uptown, that will soon become even more valuable. I am a proud supporter of this project, bringing brighter open spaces to all who use the plaza. I want to thank Yeshiva University, NYC DDC, NYC DOT and the many more who contributed to breaking ground on this exiting endeavor.”

“I was happy to support the 185th Street pedestrian plaza redesign as Manhattan Borough President, and am glad to see that the project is now underway,” New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said. “In a City where open space is at a premium, this renovated plaza will be enjoyed by both Yeshiva University students and members of the surrounding community.” 

“It's a beautiful day when government, private institutions, and community can come together to do good for all,” said Assemblyman Denny Farrell.

Renderings of the W185th Street Pedestrian Plaza.

The plaza was designed through a partnership with DDC and Dewberry. EnTech Engineering P.C. will manage the construction of the project and Triumph Construction Corporation is on board as the contractor. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2017.

Additional photos from the groundbreaking event can be found here.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit