Mandated and bonused by the now repealed Special Greenwich Street Development District, New York City’s most ambitious outdoor and indoor two-level privately owned public space network is located around and in this building occupying the full block bounded by Liberty, Greenwich, Albany, and Washington Streets. Between Liberty Street and the north face of the building are its principal public gathering spaces, a substantial arcade at street level and a larger elevated plaza one level up that covers the arcade as well as a one-story building bump-out. The arcade is interrupted by a large dish of water overflowing into a semicircular pool, surrounded by a ledge for sining. A circular cut-out above the water fountain into the floor of the elevated plaza allows a shaft of sunlight to peek through and brighten the otherwise dark arcade. In previous years, vendors selling plants and fruits, candies, sunglasses, and other sundries have been located near here.
Access to the elevated plaza is principally by stairwell next to the water feature. One emerges with striking, unobstructed views of the World Trade Center towers to the north, but anticipated views of the Hudson River to the west are now blocked by the Battery Park City complex. Seating is ample, with four fixed tree-filled square planters surrounded by benches and six stools encircling six fixed circular tables to the west, and six stools surrounding five stone tables to the east. Two kiosks are required, and a food kiosk has been open during the summer when the elevated plaza enjoys most of its use. In 1999, the owners obtained an authorization from the City Planning Commission to improve the elevated plaza, by installing a glassroofed 12-foot wide trellislike structure, replacing existing fixed seats with individual contour seats with arms, adding 13 individual planters along the plaza’s northern edge and two large planting beds, and providing 20 pole-mounted and 6 building-mounted lighting fixtures.