444 East 86th Street

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Located mid-block on the west side of York Avenue between East 85th and 86th Streets, the required plaza space as shown on the site plan is a narrow, deep rectangle that extends to the southeast corner of its host building. The actual space on site is something less, a tiny, dark area shaped like the apse of a cathedral, large enough to accommodate a semicircular concrete bench and small planter. Its sidewalk perimeter is lined with a brick wall, a metal fence, and two gates. Trees growing in the inaccessible portion to the west behind the black metal fence overwhelm the space and block sunlight from reaching its surface. At a recent site visit, the gates were locked. No record of City approval has been found to authorize the physical truncation of the space or the locked gates.

Kayden et al. (2000)
Kayden et al. (2000)

The relationship between this space on York Avenue and its host building, located west of York Avenue on East 86th Street, is highly attenuated. It would be no surprise to learn that building residents are unaware that this space belongs to their building. The physical remove of a space from its host building permits disinterest or disavowal without consequence to the building itself. That appears to have occurred in this case. More plaza space is located in front of the building’s East 86th Street frontage west of York Avenue. Well-landscaped planters with spiked ledges flank both sides of the canopied entrance and fully cover the space.

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