L.E.S. BID taking it to the street
BY PASHA FARMANARA | It takes a community to plan a street. That was the thinking behind a Feb. 19 meeting the Lower East Side Business Improvement District held to get the community’s opinion on how to improve Orchard St.
A 16-foot replica of the street was made, and community members were told to place pegs that represent real-life objects, like bike racks, benches and flowerbeds, where they would like them to be constructed.
“We teamed up with a local design firm, Pilot Projects, who helped make the replica of the street,” said Natalie Raben, the BID’s director of marketing and communications.
Participants at the meeting were broken up into groups to share ideas, then each group presented the solutions they came up with.
Most, if not all, people who attended had no training in in street design.
“Ultimately, I think that community members have a unique perspective on the design of a neighborhood,” said Michael Little, owner of Lost Weekend NYC. “And though many are not experts in urban planning, residents are experts in the usage of the neighborhood.”
Two hundred years ago, Orchard St. was home to a cherry orchard owned by New York Governor Captain James Delancey. All that remains is the street’s name. But now the BID wants to bring some foliage back. Designers are planning on planting indigenous trees and bushes.