City begins work to give Jackson Heights’ Diversity Plaza a makeover

Photo by Department of Design and Construction

A public plaza installed in Jackson Heights in 2012 will receive new amenities to make the two-block space more pedestrian friendly.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, as part of “City Hall in Your Borough,” announced the improvements along with Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Polly Trottenberg and other elected officials. The plaza encompasses 37th Road from Broadway to 73rd and 74th Streets from Roosevelt Avenue to Broadway.

A total of $4.45 million will go toward installing new trees, bike racks, move-able furniture, raised planters, wayfinding signage and designated space for performances. In addition to the new amenities, the Department of Design and Construction will reconstruct several surrounding streets and install new water mains, catch basins, sidewalks, curbs, street lighting and traffic signals.

The makeover is expected to be completed next summer and the Horticultural Society of New York will provide daily maintenance and technical services. The plaza has acted as a venue for public performances, a meeting space for residents to mourn tragedies and a place for political activism.

Rendering courtesy of Department of Design and Construction

The co-chairs of the community group Friends of Diversity Plaza said the plaza “showcases the very best of Jackson Heights.”

“We are thrilled that the big day for Diversity Plaza has arrived,” said Shekar Krishnan and Eirik Davey-Gislason, co-chairs of Friends of Diversity Plaza, in a statement. “It is the town square of our neighborhood: here, we have celebrated the cultures of our world; rallied and protested for the civil rights of the most vulnerable in our city; enjoyed music and art from across our community and around the globe; and engaged in civic activism or sipped a cup of chai with our neighbors. Diversity Plaza represents a powerful message of solidarity at a time when we need it most.”

Rendering courtesy of Department of Design and Construction
Rendering courtesy of Department of Design and Construction

Councilman Daniel Dromm, who helped to fund the improvements, called Diversity Plaza the “epicenter of our neighborhood.”

“As someone who worked hard to establish the plaza six years ago, I am delighted to see it come so far,” Dromm said. “Not only is Diversity Plaza home to many important cultural events, it serves as a town hall for residents who wish to protest, celebrate and mourn as one community.”

Photo courtesy of Friends of Diversity Plaza
Photo courtesy of Friends of Diversity Plaza