Maspeth‘s “Step Street” not only has a new name, but also a new look.
The staircase in the area of 53rd Avenue between 64th Street and 65th Place, which was co-named Easter Rising Way in a ceremony last week, also received aesthetic and structural improvements.
The Department of Transportation (DOT), along with the Horticultural Society of New York, spruced up the steps to beautify the area, which was previously maligned with graffiti, trash and other problems.
Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley said she led the beautification project after the steps were brought into her district back in 2014.
“Step Street was always known very well locally, but did not have the best reputation. It was blighted with graffiti, litter, overgrown weeds and more,” Crowley said. “But even still, this remained a main, convenient cut-through along 53rd Avenue for local residents. It was important to me that this unique passageway be safe and welcoming for everyone, and so began the transformation.”
The DOT filled in cracks in the stairs, created a barrier between the steps and surrounding homes, painted the chipped railing and added other improvements. DOT’s Art Department also created signs depicting the Irish Proclamation of 1916, and displayed them during the Easter Rising Way co-naming ceremony that took place at the steps on Nov. 12.
“DOT is honored to partner with Council member Elizabeth Crowley on the Easter Rising Way street co-naming ceremony,” said Nicole Garcia, DOT Queens borough commissioner. “The signs and plantings help commemorate and celebrate the role of Queens and our city’s historical contributions to Ireland.”
The Horticultural Society of New York joined the beautification project by removing litter and debris, braking up the soil and adding soil amendments, as well as planting over 50 shrubs in a 20-foot section. Additionally, they added over 800 annuals, including mums, cabbage, kale, pansies and snapdragons.
“It’s so gratifying to be a part of this transformative experience in Maspeth,” said Nick Guntil, manager of Horticulture and Workforce Development. “We received many positive comments from those in the neighborhood. They are excited and hoping this new look is here to stay.”
Crowley has also provided funding for the Horticultural Society to plant perennials in the spring and maintain upkeep of the stairs in the future.