Koch congratulates Zuccotti at the opening
Shaded below the 54 newly planted honey-locust trees, Brookfield Properties cut the ceremonial ribbon on its renovated park at Broadway and Liberty Streets on June 1st, after just 10 months under construction.
Formerly known as Liberty Plaza Park, it was renamed Zuccotti Park in honor of U.S. Chairman of Brookfield Properties John Zuccotti, who is also the chairman of the Real Estate Board of New York, former first deputy mayor of the City of New York, and former chairman of the New York City Planning Commission.
The opening ceremony marked the renovated park's celebrated return to the downtown community, as evidenced by the event's prestigious guest list. Zuccotti and Brookfield President and CEO Ric Clark were joined by Governor George Pataki, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff, former Mayor Ed Koch, former U.S. Senator Al D'Amato, city Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, city Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, and other leaders from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, and several other downtown organizations.
"The revitalization of this park adjacent to the World Trade Center site is another symbol of the rebirth of downtown," said Pataki. "The park has been re-imagined as an urban oasis, and just like the new Lower Manhattan, it too will be vibrant day and night with 500 twinkling lights making the park a welcoming space for workers, residents, and visitors."
Originally built in the late 1960s, the $8 million renovated park is now home to a shady tree grove, planters of flowers and shrubs, permanent tables and seats, and 500 in-ground white lights, all across a polished surface of "Atlantic pink" granite.
Zuccotti Park also is home to Mark di Suvero's 70-foot-tall red steel sculpture Joie de Vivre, which anchors the park's southeast corner. Its northwest corner is decorated by J. Seward Johnson's Double Check, a dark bronze sculpture of a man with a briefcase, which sat in the original park for nearly 20 years and was relocated after 9/11.
Architects from Cooper Robertson Associates strategically designed the new park along a diagonal axis (southeast to northwest) to accommodate the heavy flow of pedestrians that daily travels between the PATH station and the Financial District.
In the aftermath of the World Trade Center attacks, the original park served as staging area for emergency operations. Years later, it "was in desperate need of a makeover," said Clark, who led Brookfield's charge to rehabilitate the park's infrastructure and return the green space to the public solely by its own funding.
At the ceremony, Zuccotti Park's new namesake was praised for consistent public service by Pataki, Doctoroff, Koch, D'Amato, and other civic leaders.
"John Zuccotti is a son of New York," said Koch. "Whatever he did was in the best interest of the City of New York…and he knew the city like no one else."
In response, Zuccotti said, "There is no better thing that can be said about me, than that my heart is in this city."
Locate Zuccotti Park between Broadway and Church Street, and Liberty and Cedar Streets here.
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Project Update: Zuccotti Park
7 World Trade Center Opens with Musical Fanfare
LowerManhattan.info: Project Updates