November 20, 2012
News About the 25th St. Pedestrian Plaza
To Baruch College Students, Faculty and Staff:
Amidst the continuing challenges and hardships caused by Hurricane Sandy, I want to share some very good news. It gives me great pleasure to announce that our application to the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) for a pedestrian plaza on 25th Street has been approved! After two years of planning and hard work, the proposal cleared one of the remaining hurdles last week when Manhattan Community Board Six adopted a nearly-unanimous resolution supporting the creation of a plaza. Then, last Friday, I received a phone call from the Manhattan Borough Commissioner of Transportation, Margaret Forgione, officially informing me that our plaza application has been approved.
We are grateful for the support of Chancellor Matthew Goldstein and the senior leadership of The City University of New York for their commitment to making the plaza a reality. They have also signed on as partners to help fund the cost of creating our permanent plaza. Within the Baruch community, I especially want to thank and commend Christina Latouf, Assistant Vice President for Communications, Marketing & Public Affairs and her colleague, Eric Lugo, Director of Government and Community Relations, both of whom worked tirelessly (and through many evenings) and with great skill to help make the plaza possible.
The College owes a debt of gratitude to all our 25th Street stakeholders, including the Carlton Arms Hotel, Jimmy’s Restaurant, the Bagel Express, the residential building owners on the block, and to the president and elected representatives of the last three Undergraduate Student Governments, many of whom attended the many meetings of Community Board 6 with us. We are also fortunate to have received strong support from all of our locally elected officials, including City Council Members Rosie Mendez and James Vacca, State Assemblyman Brian Kavanagh, State Senator Liz Krueger, Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn, and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.
Now that we have received the DOT’s approval, we have the green light to proceed immediately with the establishment of an interim plaza, much like those that have been established at Times Square, Harold Square and Madison Square Park. We hope that our Interim Plaza will be up and running in the near future just as soon as the necessary planter boxes (to block traffic) and outdoor furniture can be acquired. Our goal is to have the plaza ready for use by the start of the spring semester. I am very proud that our own Baruch undergraduate students have put forward a request to Baruch College Association Inc. to use some of its surplus funds to cover the costs of furnishing the Interim Plaza. The request was approved by the College Association board on November 6, 2012 for “25th Street Plaza Beautification.” We expect the Interim Plaza to be in place for three years as we work on the design and construction plans for the Permanent Plaza.
The planning and development of the Permanent Plaza will be advised by a committee that will include the major internal (College) and external stakeholders. This will ensure that the final design of the Permanent Plaza is one that the entire Baruch College community, as well as local residents and businesses, can be proud of and will use regularly; and that it will be able to support a wide range of programming that meets the needs of both the College and the community.
Happy Thanksgiving and see you on the plaza sometime soon!
Mitchel B. Wallerstein
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