DUMBO’s “Pearl Street Triangle” Gets Potential Redesign

06/22/2010 3:03 PM |


Local architecture firm Coburn Architecture has has won a contest for ideas-regarding-the-redesign of DUMBO’s Pearl Street Triangle, a small public space in the shadow of the Manhattan Bridge’s Brooklyn towers, with its plan, “The Tracks: Ride the Rails”. The contest was sponsored by The DUMBO Improvement District, who describe the winning vision as such to the Post:

The Tracks plaza takes it’s [sic—seriously?] inspiration from the myriad of [“myriad of”? blech] rail lines that at one time weaved their way through the industrial streets of DUMBO. As these tracks emerge from beneath the pavement surrounding the triangle, they become the armature for a series of tiered seats that wind through the site to create three amphitheater-like spaces: the first, facing the Manhattan Bridge, is delineated by seating for films projected onto the masonry wall that encloses the arch beneath the bridge; the second, a performance and display space enclosed by two opposing tiers; and the third, where a low tier hugs a series of in-ground fountains. Shallow alcoves are molded underneath the higher tiers, welcoming local artists to display their creations.

So, it’s a trolley-themed entry? (I don’t know; who could understand that gobbeldy gook?) Sounds good, especially if trolleys really do make a comeback in DUMBO and elsewhere in Brooklyn. Of course, it’s still up to the city to decide whether or not to redesign the space at all. We won’t hold our breath.

Although the city has shown interest in the area before, quite recently actually. The Pearl Street triangle was a parking lot up until three years ago, when the DID and the city teamed up to make it into a green space; after that, it was a spot to find then-lonely-intern for the L Henry Stewart eating lunch alone. Now it’s best known for the guy with the falafel cart, conspicuously missing from the Coburn plans. I have a soft spot for the space, but wouldn’t be opposed to seeing it become a place for dancing in the shadow of black and white movies. Still, I’d also like to be able to get a greasy sandwich from time to time. These are the sorts of internal struggles, between the new and the “authentic,” that define contemporary New York.