If you’re thinking the area surrounding the New York Stock Exchange is a cold, imposing gray-colored place — from the stones that line Broad Street to the color of traders’ suits and the nearby buildings — you’ll be happy to know a sea change could be underway.
On Monday, Downtown Alliance and its partners released “A More Welcoming Wall & Broad: A Vision for Improving the Stock Exchange District,” their recommendations for redesigning the area to be more inviting to residents, workers and visitors while still keeping it — and its historical significance — secure.
“On this corner is where the city began and our country began,” Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin said at a press conference just across from the NYSE and Federal Hall. “The report lays out a roadmap. It is a grand, yet achievable vision that could turn the Stock Exchange District into the jewel it should be.”
The area is “one of the most historic spots in the entire world and should be iconic,” added Tom Farley, president of the NYSE. “It’s been stuck, to some extent, in a time warp since 9/11 and must be transformed. It must be secure, but it can be done in a beautiful way.”
Among the improvements proposed are creating curbless shared streets, lighting upgrades, including adding architectural lighting to showcase the district’s nine landmarked buildings. Additional plans include adding new, multi-functional seating with planting beds, creating a more attractive security infrastructure and piloting a central delivery center from where packages would be distributed via hand trucks or bicycles.
The changes proposed in “A More Welcoming Wall & Broad” would cost roughly $30 million “if done today,” Lappin said, adding, “This is the first step — it’s a vision and a plan. There’s nothing proposed here that isn’t possible.”
While nothing outlined in the report is officially in the works, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen said in a statement they “are thoughtful plans and proposals that will inform our efforts and align with our shared goals of making this a dynamic streetscape.”
Bringing color and femininity to FiDi
Though a reimagined Stock Exchange District may be currently relegated to just renderings, the Financial District’s post-9/11 revitalization has been taking a colorful, diverse and feminine turn thanks to the vibrant artwork of Chinon Maria.
Maria, with her partner/creative producer Sebastian Mitre, has “a trifecta” of murals in the neighborhood: “Past, Present, Future NYC” on the 69th floor of 4 World Trade Center, “One World, Our Children” at Albany Plaza and the just-completed floral mural on Vesey Street.
What a beautiful whirlwind of adventure this has been with the most amazing partner @sebastian.mitre and my incredible patrons, partners and supporters of my work, @streetartstudiotv @silversteinproperties @wtc @downtownnyc @worldtradegallery ! It has been a magnificent journey, and I am grateful to all the people from the passerby to the executive. Thank you! As promised here is a better sneak peak into the Vesey Street Mural ... Enjoy! . . . Special shout out to @scrapyardnyc1 @patrolusa . . . #streetsign #streetart #mywtc #wtc #DownIsWhatsUp #veseystreet #veseyst #urbanart #popart #nycart #streetstyle #graffart #nycstart #nycart #ilovenyc #fidiliving #worldtradecenter #flowerpower #flowergirl #makeartnotwar #chinonmaria #girlswhopaint
“For a site like this that is very transitional with a lot of construction, hopefully this brings about some brightness and color to be part of our everyday life,” Maria said of "Vesey Street," which adds a pink pop of color to the landscape. “It’s not only the allure of public artwork to celebrate spring and femininity, but it also has a role, it’s useful, and it’s very important to have that female narrative be part of our everyday experience.”
Maria’s public works at Albany Plaza and on Vesey Street have been welcomed by neighborhood workers, residents and visitors alike. While painting the 200-foot long “One World, Our Children,” she and Mitre would be cheered on regularly and a longtime resident just told her that seeing “Vesey Street” was the “last piece to my recovery after 9/11,” Maria shared. “And that’s why we’re here.”
“It’s the healing power of art,” Mitre added. “It’s a turning point for artists to be recognized as agents of change.”
It certainly is, as murals by other artists are slated to soon begin popping up in the vicinity of the World Trade Center complex, its officials told Metro.