Creating a roadmap for Jackson Heights' 82nd Street commercial corridor to rebuild from the pandemic.
About Neighborhoods Now
Launched in Spring 2020, Neighborhoods Now is a collaboration between the Urban Design Forum and Van Alen Institute to connect NYC neighborhoods hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic with design firms in our collective network.
In 2022, under the heading Neighborhoods Now: Forward, the initiative is evolving from rapid, tactical responses to long-term recovery strategies on a wider scale. Led by community organizations, seven interdisciplinary teams will enliven and program public space, provide technical support to small businesses, and strengthen cultural activities.
The 82nd St. Partnership team will create a roadmap for the 82nd Street commercial corridor to rebuild from the pandemic. Jackson Heights’ Dunningham Triangle is at the center of this goal, envisioned as a safer, welcoming space for children and families that encourages foot traffic to nearby small businesses.
Who We’re Working With
In-kind donations were provided by
2020-21 Goals and Outcomes
In 2020-21, ARO, Design Advocates, LTL, MOS, nARCHITECTS, SO-IL, and VHB collaborated with Jackson Heights’ 82nd Street Partnership. Together, they helped over 20 restaurants participate in the city’s Open Restaurants program and supported the neighborhood through exploration of new public plaza designs and usage of the Street Seats program. They also looked toward the future with a pandemic-era reinvention of the beloved annual Viva La Comida festival.
The team aimed to address the immediate needs of the neighborhood’s restaurants with proposals for responsive set-ups and shading along the street, ultimately helping over 20 businesses participate in the city’s Open Restaurants program.
The team opened a field office to create an on-the-ground presence and pilot a model for temporary uses of vacant storefront space. The field office served as a hub to distribute information, goods, and services to businesses and individuals during the pandemic.
The team developed original designs to use parking and sidewalk lanes for public seating for three locations at Barco de Papel, Tulcingo, and Centro Mistico. At Libreria Barco de Papel — which serves not only as a bookstore, but as a community hub for cultural and political activity — the team supported additional strategies to shift programming and browsing to outside.
The team hosted multiple days dedicated to sprucing up the streetscape through new plants and fresh coats of colorful paint for benches in the area.
Viva La Comida
Viva la Comida! is an annual festival highlighting the cultural diversity of Queens, combining food with music, art, dancing, entertainment and more on a street known for its outpouring of vibrancy. Even though the future is uncertain, the team worked to create parking and restaurant seating plans to accommodate the large gathering.