On Tuesday September 10, 2013, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation celebrated the completion of the $20 million revitalization project with a ribbon cutting and breakfast. The comprehensive Fulton Street redevelopment included the renovation and redesign of the West Plaza, Marcy Plaza and a mile long of streetscape improvements.The public plazas are also wi-fi accessible and display public art.
“The improved streetscape along Fulton Street, along with enhanced and new public plazas, will make the neighborhood safer and more useful for pedestrians and residents, attract diverse new businesses, and ultimately spur economic growth in this historic heart of the Bedford-Stuyvesant community,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball.
Marcy Plaza includes new benches, bike racks, trees and plantings, as well as a beautiful mosaic commemorating several Bedford-Stuyvesant area landmarks.
Commissioned by DOT, EDC, and Restoration through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Percent for Art program, the public art installation in Marcy Plaza called “Mathematical Star” by local artist Ellen Harvey is a 22-foot diameter circular mosaic quilt that aims to capture the history of the neighborhood. (Link to view pictures and mosaic quilt key).
“This inspiring installation is a terrific example of what is possible when contemporary art, community participation and smart landscape architecture come together, enhancing Marcy Plaza the way Percent for Art projects do in so many public spaces across the City," said New York City Department of Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin.
Citigroup invested $15 million to renovate the iconic Restoration Plaza to include a wall of fame paying tribute to the founders of Restoration and other distinguished figures and additional outdoor spaces. The wall of fame includes President Barack Obama, Shirley Chisholm, John Doar, Jacob K. Javits, Thomas R. Jones, Robert F. Kennedy, Elsie Richardson, Benno C. Schmidt, Sr., and Frank Thomas.
The revitalization has generated over $100 million in housing and commercial investment by private entities to create close to 300 mixed-income housing units and over 40,000 square feet of commercial space within the Fulton Street historic neighborhood.
“This neighborhood revitalization project will not only provide Bed-Stuy residents with an opportunity to enjoy the neighborhood’s beauty and culture, but will also provide housing, business opportunities and shopping destinations for the people of our community and its visitors," said Colvin W. Grannum, CEO & President of Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
The multi-year revitalization effort was completed together with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, the New York City Council, Brooklyn Community Board 3, the NYC Economic Development Corporation, and four city agencies: NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, NYC Department of Small Business Services, and NYC Department of Transportation.
The outdoor spaces within Restoration Plaza provide performance venues for local artists and organizations, opportunities for outdoor film screenings, and health and wellness programs that include a farmers market and weekly exercise programs (Link to pictures Before & After Fulton Street, Marcy Plaza and Restoration Plaza).
In 2012, the redesigned plaza won a Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce’s Brooklyn Builder Award for open space.
The architectural designs for the Fulton Street street-scaping and Marcy Plaza were prepared by M. Paul Friedberg and Partners, LLC., and the designs for the renovations to Restoration Plaza were prepared by Garrison Architects.
Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation was established in 1967 by Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Jacob K. Javits as the nation’s first community development corporation to improve the quality of life in central Brooklyn by fostering economic self-sufficiency, enhancing family stability and growth, promoting the arts and culture, and transforming the neighborhood into a safe, vibrant place to live, work and visit.