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Temporary Redesign of Duarte Square Slated for Completion in Spring

HUDSON SQUARE — A park that has been slated for a redesign since the 2013 rezoning of Hudson Square may get improvements this year, though they'll be temporary.

The approximately $500,000 overhaul of Duarte Square at Canal Street and Sixth Avenue is being funded by landowner Trinity Church as one of the concessions negotiated when they got the city's approval for major residential development nearby.

The deadline for a permanent renovation of the park is the middle of 2021, according to a spokesman for Trinity who spoke at a Community Board 2 parks committee meeting last week, but Trinity wants to beautify the park in the meantime. They hope to get the temporary work done by the end of June.

The temporary upgrades are being designed by Signe Nielsen of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, who also redesigned a similar triangular open space a few blocks north along Sixth Avenue known as SoHo Square.

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Nielsen described the approximately 1,300-square-foot area at Duarte Square as "a little tired," to laughs from the committee, and promised that "part of these improvements, though temporary, will be to... make it a much more comfortable and habitable space."

The area to be renovated includes an out-of-use street where Nielsen plans to "use paint... to make, maybe, places for games, and something that will be just cheerful in that roadbed."

Move the slider to see how the park will change in the redesign. Photo Credit: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects

To prevent cars from accidentally driving down the street, they will install planters, Nielsen said.

"There'll be a place of respite, which I think is what we all need in the city, and we'll be doing something fun and more lively in the roadbed and leaving the southern area open for [event] planning," Nielsen said.

The brick and concrete ground will remain, and they plan to "reinforce" the "remnant of an allee" — or walking path — "maintaining the ability for pedestrians to move north-south and, if they so chose, to wander" into the park, Nielsen said.

There will continue to be 15 6-foot benches in the park, though they'll be replaced with nicer versions, Nielsen said, and the existing CitiBike station will remain. 

David Godbout, the managing director, head of real estate for Trinity and CEO of REIT JV, said the design has already been approved by the city's Parks Department, which makes them optimistic about their ability to finish it in June.