1 Wall Street

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In this pedestrian-congested area of Broadway, the fact that this plaza widens the sidewalk along the new addition to the old Irving Trust building, and is felicitously matched to it in materials and proportion, would itself be enough to merit praise, but the space exceeds that judgment by also providing subtle points of functionality. As it descends from Broadway to New Street, for example, on the north side of Exchange Place, the linear strip positions five squeezed, parallelogram-shaped polished granite planters, filled with trees, tropical plants, and flowers, along its public sidewalk perimeter. While narrow, the sittable planter ledges are frequently occupied by pedestrians making a brief stop.

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

The strip of plaza on Broadway affords a dramatic view of Trinity Church for those who stop rushing long enough to look up from the pavement. Unfortunately, the lone planter at the northern end has a downward sloping ledge that precludes sitting.

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  1. submitted by: jaPER

    One Wall Street.

    I visited “One Wall Street,” which is a privately owned pubic walkway located on wall street from Broadway to New Ave. Even at their most minimal, most privately owned public spaces will have some degree of incorporated sitting space or “nature.” I am not sure how full of an image of the space I was able to grasp, as many of the surrounding buildings (including one wall street) were under construction of some sort. Regardless, One Wall Street has neither of those aforementioned features. The closest thing to a bench would be a series of geometric sculptures that act as barricades.
    I visited at around 10pm, interested to see if the space was utilized for sleeping or shelter. I saw one small shelter set up in the doorway of a storefront along side the walkway, however the lack of benches makes the space far from practical for sleeping purposes. One man sat in a wheel chair asking for spare change people walked passed.
    One the other hand, more people were utilizing the space as a walkway than I expected. However, at night time many stock traders and business people have left for the night, most of those walking down One Wall Street were wage workers such as custodians, handymen and security guards. It seems as if a good number of the people who run daily operations within the surrounding financial buildings work late. Presumably lots of cleaning and repair work takes place after the businesspeople have gone home for the night.
    Another tangible presence in the space was that of security. A security guard’s booth took up an approximately 5 square foot space in the walkway. CCTV and NYPD cameras recorded my movement as a documented the POP, making it so that I felt highly visible even in the pseudo-darkness of the New York City nightfall.
    My best guess, given that the POP doesn’t provide much in the way of leisure, is that its primary purpose is to maintain space between the street and the New York Stock Exchange.