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Fashion Center BID Unveils Concrete Street Furniture Prototype

By Alan Neuhauser | March 14, 2013 8:30am

MIDTOWN — Road-weary walkers striding along Broadway can soon rest their tired feet along a two-block stretch where the Fashion Center Business Improvement District has unveiled 20 cast-concrete furniture pieces.

The chairs and tables, which were briefly rolled out last week, are simple cubic and cylindrical pieces. When they're rolled again later this month, they will be placed atop a repainted plaza between West 39th and West 40th streets through April.

Designed by James Biber of Biber Architects and fabricated by Stone Soup, they're being kept in a temporary location until the plaza is painted.

"We wanted something that was unique to the district, but was more durable. We lose a huge amount of furniture every year," said Fashion Center BID president Barbara Randall.

Randall said the idea came from different kinds of arrangements that people could use.

"Most are little stools, but one has a very high back on it. It has a planter on one side that's intended for people to put down their coffee, their bag," she added. "It's beautification and it's a neighborhood amenity."

The BID is seeking feedback on the furniture pieces, which can be submitted via the organization's website. If the prototypes ultimately win approval from the BID's board of directors, the city's Design Commission and the Department of Transportation, they will be installed in five Broadway plazas between West 36th and West 40th streets.

"The public also really has to embrace it," Randall said.