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Neighborhoods Now:
82nd Street Partnership (Jackson Heights)

Milk crate planters serve as a colorful entry point to storefronts, Jackson Heights, Queens. Photo: Sam Lahoz
Paint and Plant event in Jackson Heights, Queens, July 25, 2020. Photo: Sam Lahoz
Interim outdoor dining setup, Jackson Heights, Queens. Photo: Sam Lahoz
Hanging planters perched on an outdoor eating area, Jackson Heights, Queens. (Design pending DOT approval.) Photo: Sam Lahoz
Outdoor eating area. (Design pending DOT approval.) Photo: Sam Lahoz
Open streets flexible furniture with deployable shading. Courtesy: SO-IL and LTL
Design for publicly shared streets and flexible furniture during the return of local food festival Viva La Comida. Courtesy: SO-IL and LTL
Design for adapting a vacant storefront into a field office that distributes information about social distancing protocols, career education, and anti-racism resources. Courtesy: SO-IL SO-IL and LTL
Paint and Plant event in Jackson Heights, Queens, July 25, 2020. Photo: Sam Lahoz
Paint and Plant event in Jackson Heights, Queens, July 25, 2020. Photo: Sam Lahoz

In collaboration with the Urban Design Forum, Neighborhoods Now connects neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with leading design firms. In Bed-Stuy, Jackson Heights, Kingsbridge, and Washington Heights, these working groups are collaborating to develop safe and effective reopening strategies.

The outcomes are a set of design recommendations, prototypes, and installations empowering communities to respond to their immediate needs, while contributing to the city-wide strategy on pandemic response. In some neighborhoods, prototypes have already been implemented, and Van Alen and Urban Design Forum are actively fundraising to support additional implementation.

Learn more about Neighborhoods Now.

Working Group

ARO; Design Advocates (Frederick Tang Architecture, Kalos Eidos, Office of Tangible Space, Some People Studio, Studio Fōr, Worrell/Yeung); MOS; nARCHITECTS; VHB

82nd Street Partnership identified the following priorities:

  • Swift, safe reopening strategies for local businesses
  • Assistance for restaurants to participate in the city’s Open Restaurants program
  • Increased shading and more welcoming exterior spaces

The working group aims to address the neighborhood’s immediate needs with proposals for responsive Open Restaurant set-ups and shading along the street. They also look toward long-term planning, including a pandemic-era reinvention of Jackson Heights’ beloved annual Viva La Comida street festival. In response to the need for multilingual education about COVID-19 protocols, they have created a Manual of Physical Distancing, which provides visual guidance for the challenges of living through a pandemic at different scales, from classrooms to larger urban areas. The manual is currently in translation and production.

Over the summer, the working group organized a Plant & Paint party to enliven the streetscape, created flexible street barriers for open air dining, and installed milk crate planters as a colorful entry point to storefronts. They also utilized a vacant storefront as their field office, which has served as a site to distribute information about social distancing protocols, career education, and anti-racism resources.

In-kind donations were provided by Baggu, Future Green, Gilbane, Herman Miller, Julien Leyssene & Cristina Webb, MillerBlaker, Noble Construction Group, Sherwin Williams, SIKI IM STUDIO, Spinneybeck, Uniqlo, and We Plant NYC.

The use of the information contained in this proposal document, “Neighborhoods Now Jackson Heights,” is at the sole risk of the user, and Van Alen Institute shall not be responsible for, or liable in any way for, the accuracy, completeness or any other matter with respect to the contents herein. The user hereby assumes all risks of the use of the information, and irrevocably and unconditionally waives, releases and discharges Van Alen Institute and its direct and indirect members, directors, officers, employees, agents, affiliates, volunteers and representatives, from any and all liability of any kind or nature whatsoever, in connection with the matters contained herein, and the use of the information contained herein.