Clivner=Field Plaza on East 25th Street opens to the public

student-plaza

Iraj Zia | The TIcker

Emanuela Gallo, News Editor

The Clivner=Field Pedestrian Plaza, located on East 25th Street between Lexington Avenue and Third Avenue, opened to the public 10 years after its proposal.

“The newly reconstructed plaza has transformed the neighborhood by providing a permanent pedestrian space, a beautiful setting to the kips bay community,” the New York City Department of Design and Construction wrote in its July newsletter.

The plaza acts as an outdoor, open space for Baruch College students to socialize and study.

“I’ve been using the plaza to do coursework in between classes, as well as meet fellow students to work on group projects,” English major Maya Demchak-Gottlieb told The Ticker.

Amenities including stainless steel benches, trash receptacles, bollards, granite seat walls with skateboard deterrents and enhanced lighting were added.

The block-long plaza green areas include perennials, vines and 15 trees. There are also 2,382 pavers, both non-engraved and engraved, which feature the names of donors.

“I’ve been using the plaza to meet new people since I am a freshman,” psychology major Jazmin Ortiz said.

An unseen improvement is the upgrade in public and private utilities, including new distribution water main, hydrants, catch basins, chute connections, electrical conduits, gas and steam main upgrades and traffic signal facilities.

Other enhancements include curb extensions to promote pedestrian flow and safety and the reconstruction of roadways along nearby intersections.

“I do see myself using [the plaza] a lot in the future,” public affairs major Kayla Aaron said. “I’ve been using it to sit outside, take a mask break, do some work and meet with friends.”

College officials proposed the idea of the plaza in 2011, emerging from a desire for more outdoor and communal space.

The Undergraduate Student Government at the time passed a resolution in support of the plaza. It was described as a “safer and more-community-oriented gathering spot” and “valuable neighborhood asset.”

A preliminary version of the plaza, titled the 25th Street Interim Plaza, opened in 2013. The plaza replaced a block of parking spots, many of which were reserved for faculty and staff.

Five years later, construction on the Clivner=Field Plaza began. The opening of the new plaza received attention on social media.

A Baruch College Instagram post announcing the plaza’s opening on July 12 amassed over a thousand likes.

However, many of the comments criticized the plaza for taking too long to build.

“It took a decade to make a block-long sidewalk and plant trees? The Burj Khalifa was made in six,” the most-liked comment read.

When asked about this criticism, Aaron was dismissive.

“There is so many bigger things to worry about than how long construction took for something that already exists now,” she said. “In that time, when the construction took too long, it’s kind of annoying, but right now, we’re using the plaza … to criticise something retroactively is just not a productive use of time.”

Ortiz shared a similar sentiment.

“We should be appreciative of what we have now because a lot of people don’t have access to this,” she said.

In response to a tweet about construction delays, the NYC Department of Design and Construction outlined steps necessary for a faster process in the future.

“In order to improve project delivery in the future, we need private utility companies to better investigate their own underground facilities and remove any interferences with our work before the project starts,” the department tweeted. “We also need to improve on coordination with project stakeholders. In addition to the plaza, significant water main work took place in the area.”

The tweet also stated that there were work delays because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s understandable if that during the pandemic they weren’t able to have construction crews,” Demchak-Gottlieb said.

New York City Council member Carlina Rivera, who represents District 2, also shared news of the opening.

“Come by and enjoy this new and permanent open space,” she wrote on Twitter.
The Flatiron 23rd Street Partnership, a non-profit for community improvement and economic

development, voiced its support on July 6.
“Thrilled to have more public space in the district!” its tweet said.