The congested stretch of 41st Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue is less than a tenth of a mile long, but it could become a critical pedestrian link between Bryant Park, a privately owned public plaza, and the Broadway Boulevard if enough property owners chip in to spruce it up.
Industrial designer Ignacio Ciocchini, who has created some of New York City’s more interesting street furniture, designed the project in-house. “We really concentrated on very simple urban solutions that make a difference,” said Ciocchini. The goal, he explained, was to create an inviting environment that was not tied to any particular business. The result is a stretched-out version of the city’s popular public plaza.
Boulevard 41 includes 20 red chairs and silver planters made from Ciocchini’s signature laser-cut horizontal slats. Seating platforms are set between the planters and completed with railings, bistro tables, and Ipe decking. Each platform also has a hatch for cleaning and access to utilities. To try to boost support with local property owners, the platforms and planters are spaced out to not block any useful freight entrances.
Two years after Boulevard 41 was first proposed, the BPC is sticking with its original plan to fund the $1.5 million project entirely with private money. But securing the necessary funds from adjacent buildings has proved difficult as those buildings keep changing hands.
While Ciocchini currently puts the chance of Boulevard 41 being realized just under 50 percent, he is not giving up on it just yet. He is going back to the property owners, new and old, in hopes of convincing them that investing in the public realm is good both for the city and their own bottom line.