Lower Manhattan’s Empty Public Arcades Will Get Retail Infusion

by MR Magazine Staff

A measure to convert open air arcades along Water Street in Lower Manhattan into retail has been approved by the City Council, Crain’s reports. The measure pertains to a 10-block stretch between Whitehall Street and Fulton Street, and includes the areas in front of 20 buildings. Most of the arcades are used as outdoor seating area for cafes or as smoking lounges, and are generally avoided by pedestrians, and City Council members like Margaret Chin described them as “underutilized spaces,” and “simply not working.” The measure also had the backing of the City Planning Commission and the Economic Development Corporation. But not everyone was enthused, most notably the Municipal Arts Society, who said it was a pricey giveaway to developers without an equitable benefit to the public. Read more at Curbed.