YU Celebrates 185th Street Pedestrian Plaza Groundbreaking

Project Will Upgrade Existing Streetscape to Enhance Campus and Benefit Local Community

Yeshiva University Senior Vice President Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Associate Commissioner of Infrastructure Tom Foley, and New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Manhattan Borough Commissioner Luis Sanchez joined today to officially break ground on the renovation of a 20,000 square-foot pedestrian plaza on West 185th Street between Audubon and Amsterdam Avenues. The $3.6 million project will upgrade an existing pedestrian plaza to improve infrastructure and provide a more serene location for students at Yeshiva University as well as the surrounding community.

(L-R) Tom Foley, DDC Associate Commissioner of Infrastructure; Rabbi Dr. Josh Joseph, YU Senior Vice President; and Luis Sanchez, DOT Manhattan Borough Commissioner

In his opening remarks, Rabbi Joseph said “this is an exciting moment for YU and Washington Heights. The notion of coming together is the notion that guides this transformative opportunity. The plaza will be open to everyone to be used by everyone, and it is a blessing that we have this chance to embrace the richness and diversity of each other and move forward in building a community.”

Located on the campus of Yeshiva University, the existing streetscape plaza will be converted into series of small- and medium-sized gathering spaces. The redesigned space will include new features such as additional seating areas, moveable tables with chess tabletops, bicycle racks and ornamental street lighting surrounded by various trees, shrubs, perennials, and ferns. The project will also include the installation of new curbs, sidewalks, pavers and water mains.

“We look forward to the completion of the 185th Street Plaza as we cement our future with the community” said YU President, Richard M. Joel. “Not only will the student life at Yeshiva University be enhanced, but the local neighborhood will be richer as well.”

“DDC is pleased to break ground on the 185th street pedestrian plaza, with DOT and Yeshiva University, in support of the Mayor’s vision for an environmentally sustainable and resilient City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “This renovated plaza will provide a safe, ample space with great benefits to Yeshiva University students and staff, as well as the surrounding neighborhood.”

185th rendering
Rendering of renovated 185th Street Pedestrian Plaza

The plaza was designed through a partnership with DDC and Dewberry. EnTech Engineering P.C. will manage the construction of the project and Triumph Construction Corporation is on board as the contractor. Construction is expected to be completed by summer 2017.

The plaza is part of the University’s ongoing effort to further enhance the campus and local neighborhood. Recent projects include the major renovation of YU’s Mendel Gottesman Library and various improvements to the dormitories and other facilities.