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Canoe-Shaped Public Seating Area Opens Next to Hell’s Kitchen Intersection

By Maya Rajamani | June 24, 2016 3:14pm | Updated on June 27, 2016 8:52am
 "The Canoe," a seating area to the west of Ninth Avenue at West 36th Street, is now open to the public.
Canoe-Shaped Public Seating Area Opens Next To Hell’s Kitchen Intersection
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HELL’S KITCHEN — A public plaza has replaced a former parking lot next to a Hell’s Kitchen intersection.

"The Canoe" — a public space with umbrella-topped tables, chairs, benches and greenery west of Ninth Avenue at West 36th Street — marked its grand opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday.

The name was easy to choose, Hudson Yards/Hell’s Kitchen Alliance executive director Robert Benfatto explained.

“It looks like a canoe,” he said.

Councilman Corey Johnson allocated $22,000 for the plaza, as part of a City Council initiative supporting emerging Business Improvement Districts like HY/HKA, he said at the ceremony.

For years, police used the space as a parking lot for their cruisers, Johnson and Benfatto said.

The plaza opens several years after Community Board 4, HY/HKA and other organizations began working to reclaim the area for public use.

The space, which is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, will eventually showcase a public art sculpture, Benfatto said.

“The first day we put [the chairs and tables] out, we had 10 people sitting at them. It was as if they were always there,” he said. “We hope people use it — to eat, to relax.”