13 Acres of Flow, Commerce, & Quality of Life
Seward Park Housing Corporation represents a community of approximately 3000 people, and sits on 13 acres of land. How can we best foster flow through our property in a way that will improve the quality of life for our 3000 residents?
Our Hester Street Property is more than just a paved lot between two fences. This property connects us to the commerce of Hester, Essex, and Canal Streets. Essex Street is certainly not the most attractive destination these days... but connecting to it could contribute to the vitalization of our neighborhood — our patronage can encourage businesses that appeal to our community, and thereby expand our commercial "sphere of influence" beyond our own Grand and Clinton Streets stores. This can lead to better local services, a hipper neighborhood, better success for our commercial tenants, and better quality of life for all of us.
The Hester Arcade
The Hester Street Property extends past the pavement. It flows past the gate, alongside the Seward Park, all the way to the back of Building Three. That is to say, the property flows, but people can't. The property alongside the gate is fenced-in before the entrance to the courtyard between Buildings 3 and 4.
the courtyard, Hester Arcade is confined to a narrow concrete path. One
side of this path is bordered by the "Comprehensive Care Center"
playground and our excessively tall playground fence. The other side of
this path is bordered by a sunken lawn abutting Seward Park.
Both playgrounds choke off our ability to flow into and around our space. They make our space remarkably uninviting. Our own playground in particular dominates the courtyard and completely blocks our view of Seward Park just beyond.
The result of all these features is that rather than providing majestic command of and access to our space, the Hester Arcade is choked off and unappreciated. There is not so much as a bench nearby as it leads off through Hester Green — a lovely but unused void behind Building 3 — coming to an end at a fire exit behind the J-Section.
Beyond Hester Green is a fenced-off patch of grass that passes between Building 3 and the Seward Park Library onto East Broadway.
Readers of this article might also be interested in reading SPBuzz musings on SPHC Commercial Property.