<< Back


Application by the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) for proposed sidewalk reconstruction on 40th and 42nd Street between 5th and 6th, around the perimeter of the NYPL and Bryant Park in Midtown

At the regularly scheduled monthly Community Board Five meeting on Thursday, December 12, 2019, the following resolution passed with a vote of 36 in favor; 0 opposed; 1 abstaining:

WHEREAS, The New York Public Library was built between 1900 and 1911 by architectural firm Carrère & Hastings in what’s considered to be one of the city’s finest examples of Beaux Arts construction, and was designated an individual exterior Landmark in January 11, 1967, while the Main Lobby, the North and South Staircases from the 1st to 3rd Floor and the Central Hall on the 3rd Floor was designated an interior landmark in 1974, and the interior of the Rose Main Reading Room and Bill Blass Public Catalog Room was designated in 2017; and

WHEREAS, Bryant Park is a scenic landmark; and

WHEREAS, The applicant, the NYC Department of Design and Construction, proposes alterations that are largely confined to public sidewalks in library and Bryant Park vicinity; and

WHEREAS, the project goals are to:

  1. Improve sidewalk, street, and utility infrastructure
  2. Reset distinctive materials including 2 feet wide Milford pink granite curb and bluestone pavement
  3. Install granite curbs to replace steel face curbs and improve the historic and aesthetic value of the public right-of-way

WHEREAS, The proposed design alleviates tripping hazards, inconsistent scoring patterns, reduces congestion by widening the sidewalk at the corner of 6th Ave. and W 40th St. and provides ramps and detectable warning surfaces with truncated domes to comply with American Disabilities Act and Public Right-of-Way Accessibility Guidelines so as to blend in and not create disparate pieces and parts from different decades; and

WHEREAS, The proposed design would effectuate repairs, or replacements in kind, and would relocate street furnishing such as street lights, traffic signal poles, FDNY call box and bike rack; and

WHEREAS, The project funding source was identified from Federal earmark $2.9M and City (Mayoral) $1.2M, totaling ~$4.2M;

WHEREAS, The project schedule indicates construction starting November 2020 and completing June 2022;

WHEREAS, Community Board Five appreciates the benefits of wayfinding but we are not aware of the masterplan and its criteria, and we object to the proposed ~9’ tall static metal & glass wayfinding sign on the corner of 42nd St & 5th Avenue due to its large scale that visually blocks site lines to the library and down the scenic vista corridor of 5th Avenue and further congests the sidewalk, and we recommend it be relocated off this site; and

WHEREAS, The appearance of the new sidewalk and curbs are unified, ADA compliant and significant improvements that will upgrade and enhance the public right-of-way; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends conditional approval for a certificate of appropriateness of the alteration to the proposed sidewalk reconstruction of sidewalks and pedestrian walkways on 5th & 6th Avenues and 40th and 42nd streets provided that the wayfinder blade is eliminated or relocated to a location that bears no visual relationship with the landmarked New York Public Library or with the landmarked Bryant Park.

Sign Up For Our Newsletter