Van Alen Institute Announces Public Program Series “LES NYC: Crossing 2020”
From December 5 to 8, Programs Will Explore the Impact of Lower East Side Development Essex Crossing
(New York, NY—November 20, 2019)—At a time of intense debate about the role of private development in New York City, Essex Crossing—the six-acre, multi-billion dollar mega-project on Manhattan’s Lower East Side—is nearing completion. In response to this debate, Van Alen Institute presents LES NYC: Crossing 2020, a series of talks and tours held December 5–8 at various locations on the Lower East Side.
LES NYC will explore the impact of Essex Crossing on the Lower East Side’s physical character and the wellbeing of its citizens. The programs will bring together planners, designers, and community organizations that have been reshaping the neighborhood, and ask what lessons we should take with us as New York crosses into a new decade.
All programs are open to the public and free with registration at vanalen.org.
Thursday, December 5, 6:30–8:30 pm
Essex Crossing Community Center, 175 Delancey Street #4F
How can the public, private, and design sectors work together to ensure that Essex Crossing’s outcomes serve the diverse needs of the Lower East Side? Join Essex Crossing’s designers, developers, and community partners for this engaging discussion about its planning process, which led it to be chosen as this year’s New York Urban Land Institute’s Excellence in Mixed Use Development Award winner.
Panelists include: Dominic Berg, Essex Crossing Community Task Force, Community Board 3; Don Capoccia, BFC Partners; Robert Cordero, Grand St. Settlement; Dana Getman, SHoP Architects; Isaac Henderson, L&M Development Partners; James Russell, Architecture Critic (moderator)
Friday, December 6, 4–6 pm
Meet at The Rollins, 145 Clinton Street
Join Katie Archer, Essex Crossing’s Director of Community Relations, for this sunset tour and exploration of unseen sites. In contrast to many mega-developments across the city, Essex Crossing is being knit into the Lower East Side across nine sites. The tour will include a sneak peek at the next phase of development and current amenities including The Essex’s private 26th floor deck and Project Eat’s Rooftop Farm.
Saturday, December 7, 2–3:30 pm
Meet at GrandLo Café, 168 Broome Street
Join artist and urbanist Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani for a participatory tour to better understand the urban past, present, and future(s) of Essex Crossing and the Lower East Side. For 50 years, residents of the Lower East Side lived with a series of vacant lots known as the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA)—what is now home to Essex Crossing. Bendiner-Viani, along with her students at the New School, has collaborated with community organizations City Lore, GOLES, and SPARC to produce Layered SPURA, a series of exhibitions and walks designed to provide new opportunities for dialogue about this highly contested neighborhood.
Sunday, December 8, 1–4 pm
GrandLo Café, 168 Broome Street
Drop in at GrandLo Café for coffee, cookies, hot chocolate, and sharing. Share your stories about your changing neighborhood with Ghana ThinkTank (GTT), an international artist collective that flips the definition of expert. As a way of inverting the power dynamics that control urban development, GTT will challenge you to tackle problems identified by Essex Crossing’s developers and designers. Following the event, the solutions will be shared back with the development team.
Note: My Essex Crossing is a drop-in event. Participants can also formally join a think tank table by registering for their preferred time slot.
About Van Alen Institute
At Van Alen Institute, we believe design can transform cities, landscapes, and regions to improve people’s lives. We collaborate with communities, scholars, policymakers, and professionals on local and global initiatives that rigorously investigate the most pressing social, cultural, and ecological challenges of tomorrow. Building on more than a century of experience, we develop cross-disciplinary research, provocative public programs, and inventive design competitions.
These programs are made possible through our Program Leadership Council.
Van Alen Festivals are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. LES NYC: Crossing 2020 is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.