See the Meatpacking District’s new public plaza with street mural curated by the Whitney Museum
Photo: Meatpacking BID/ Cherry Orchard
City officials on Thursday celebrated the opening of a new public plaza and street mural in the Meatpacking District. Located on Tenth Avenue between Gansevoort and Horatio Streets, Gansevoort Landing serves as a connection between the Meatpacking District and the highly-anticipated Gansevoort Peninsula, a soon-to-open public park within Hudson River Park. Gansevoort Landing includes a wider pedestrian plaza and crosswalk to ensure quicker and safer access to the park, as well as a stunning street mural commissioned by the Whitney Museum.
Once used as an area for turning box trucks, the new plaza will now be used by pedestrians to sit, eat, and enjoy the weather in the center of the neighborhood.
The project was made possible by a collection of public and private partners, including the Meatpacking District Management Association (BID), the city’s Department of Transportation, TF Cornerstone, and the Whitney Museum of Art.
The Whitney commissioned artist Alake Shilling to create a 120-foot mural on the plaza pavement. The mural, entitled “Buggy Bear Goes on a Cool Cruise,” depicts Buggy Bear, a character imagined by Shilling, under “blue skies, the road ahead littered with flowers,” as a press release describes.
“Alake’s mural is a wonderful opportunity for the Whitney to extend its artistic presence beyond the walls of the Museum and engage with our community,” Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director at the Whitney, said. “Being part of such a vibrant,artist-centric neighborhood is essential to the Whitney experience. We are excited that this mural and pedestrian crossing will contribute to the further cultural evolution of the Meatpacking District.”
Gansevoort Landing is part of the Western Gateway Vision Plan, a set of public realm enhancements for the western end of the Meatpacking District. Produced in collaboration with WXY architecture + urban design and Sam Schwartz Engineering, the plan aims to improve mobility across the neighborhood with a focus on bringing a “more balanced public realm to the far west side,” according to the district’s website.
Accompanying the Vision Plan is the Area Needs Report, an analysis of locations throughout the area that have high rates of conflict between pedestrians and visitors, confusing intersections, poor urban design, and underutilization, according to Streetsblog.
“We’re thrilled to implement the first of many improvements outlined in the Western Gateway Vision Plan just one year after announcing the project, thanks in part to partners from the Department of Transportation, TF Cornerstone, and the Whitney, who were instrumental in bringing this to life,” Jeffrey LeFrancois, executive director of the Meatpacking BID, said.
“The debut of Gansevoort Landing is proof that change can happen in record time. This is a triumph that demonstrates the positive impact that BIDs can have within their neighborhoods acting as the bridge between community members and local government.”
The plan follows a city-wide effort to repurpose public spaces to prioritize pedestrians. Similar plans include Broadway Vision, an effort to make the hectic streets between Madison Square and Herald Square safer by banning cars and creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists.
The unveiling comes days before the West Side Fest, a full-day event across Manhattan’s West Side. As part of the festival, more than 18 museums, parks, performing arts centers, and cultural institutions are offering free admission, special indoor and outdoor programming, arts and crafts for all ages, a dance party, and more.
“When we reimagine our roads to be vibrant public spaces, our whole City benefits,” DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez said. “New greenery, seating, and beautiful public art transform this formerly dangerous street into an inviting pedestrian haven with safer crossings between the Meatpacking District and Gansevoort Peninsula. I thank the Meatpacking BID, TF Cornerstone, and the Whitney for their partnership in bringing this to fruition.”