City to unveil Diversity Plaza overhaul

Diversity Plaza

A musical performance at Diversity Plaza sponsored by JHBG in 2014

Jackson Heights gets its look at the city’s long-awaited plan to transform Diversity Plaza at a special presentation on the pedestrian way set for Saturday May 9 at 2 p.m.

The plan includes a tree-lined plaza on the eastern half of 37th Road and an area that could serve as a performance space with a planting area on the western half. New movable tables and chairs would occupy most of the plaza, similar to other renovated plazas around the city.

Additional improvements proposed by the city Department of Transportation include new plaza lighting and the repaving of the plaza with the street and sidewalks on one level.

The renovation is budgeted to cost $3.5 million, and now scheduled to commence summer of 2016 and to be completed by the end of 2017.

After considering comments from the public, the DOT will present the plan to Community Board 3 on May 21. The plan was presented last week to Friends of Diversity Plaza, a group with which JHBG is working.

The plan includes a smaller triangle south of Broadway that was created from the closing of a portion of 73rd Street between Broadway and Roosevelt Avenue. Several trees would be planted there and suggestions during a recent presentation included adding a plaza-maintenance shed and a restroom (there’s a restroom on the newly renovated Corona Plaza. DOT officials explained these are self-cleaning after each use.)

As you know JHBG has been working with Friends of Diversity Plaza to push for improvements that could turn the run-down street into an attractive and well-used gateway to Jackson Heights. The plaza has had problems with littering and drinking. But it is increasingly used a gathering place, our own town square, in response to important events, such as the recent earthquake in Nepal.