Because the current 52 Broadway was the product of a building renovation rather than a totally new development, and because the spacing of existing columns and existing floor-to-ceiling height disqualified the existing space from receiving a floor area bonus under the Zoning Resolution’s design standards for a through block arcade, the developer applied to the City’s Board of Standards and Appeals, which granted a variance and special permit for a through block arcade equivalent, as well as for additional zoning floor area equal to the amount the developer would have received as a bonus for a qualifying through block arcade.
The simple, brightly lit, indoor, through-block space doubles as the building lobby and connects Broadway and New Street south of Exchange Alley. Two rows of recessed lights lead the pedestrian along the brick floor corridor from Broadway, past several retail stores and the building’s elevators to the north, and a white marble and steel-clad wall to the south. Near New Street, the space jogs north and descends by escalator to the New Street level and several additional retail facilities. The space does not provide seating.
For pedestrians seeking a covered pathway alternative from New Street all the way to Trinity Place, this space may be combined with 55 Broadway across Broadway. For this walk, Broadway is literally the high ground, a sort of continental divide that demonstrates that downtown Manhattan has topography.
Hours of access to this space remain an unresolved issue. The variance and special permit text authorizing the space, and the supporting plans, are silent as to required hours. Indoor public spaces in the city are always open weekdays during business hours, and sometimes open evenings and weekends. The owner has already agreed to keep the space open weekdays, from 6:30 am to 6:30 pm, excluding bank holidays. Further discussions between the City and owner are contemplated.