350 Jay Street

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Three legal types of public space, plaza, plaza connected open space, and open space area, wrap around east, west, and south sides of this hotel. On the south side is a wide, linear, decoratively paved, mid-block, through-block pathway, gently sloping downward from Adams to Jay Streets. The space serves both circulation and stationary activities, and it is possible to imagine a following among novice skateboarders and in-line skaters. Numerous white wire-mesh three-seater benches, comfortably sculpted to the human form, line each side, interspersed with modern, tall, silver, double-headed lampposts. Although sleek design is the order of the day, the question is whether it comports with legally approved plans detailing older-style park amenities of wooden and cast iron benches and cast iron posts with Central Park luminaires. Along Jay Street, the required movable chairs and tables were absent at a recent site visit. No record of City approval for the different or missing amenities has been located, and discussions with the owner are continuing.

Photo: Kayden et al. (2000)
Photo: Kayden et al. (2000)

The Adams Street side of the space receives plentiful sunlight and offers a good vantage point for appreciating the civic space in front of Brooklyn Borough Hall and its glistening golden statue holding the scales of justice. Along Jay Street in the adjacent building to the south is a food kiosk that furnishes refreshment to some of the bench users. To the north and east across Jay Street is MetroTech Center, the only campus of privately owned public space in the city.

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