Penn Center Urban Design
New York, NY
Seventh Avenue is New York’s front door for commuters and visitors alike. The area bounded by 34th & 31st Streets is the city’s most significant transportation hub with Amtrak, LIRR, NJ Transit rail services, connecting with 6 lines of the NYC Transit system. This area is also the largest concentration of retail merchants, which includes Macy’s. Madison Square Garden establishes the area as the city’s premier, world-class sports and entertainment destination. In addition, the area has become one of the city’s magnets for first class office space. In spite of these significant assets, the area suffers from a host of problems and lost opportunity. The area has never recovered from the demolition of the historic Penn Station.
EE&K used the significant market demand for advertising to provide visibility to the public system to announce its significance and provide necessary “way finding”. The advertising signs are proposed to be clustered into tall, vertical markers at the Avenue’s many intersections that correspond with transit entrance locations. These special architectural elements provide several public benefits.
- Dramatize the Avenue by highlighting all the corners and, collectively, create a dramatic view of the grid of streets intersecting with the Avenue.
- Provide a “way finding” system to the underground transportation. The street corners are the preferred locations for advertising which correspond to transit entrance locations. The proposed heights of the sign towers, combined with transit graphics at their base, provide the pedestrian with a clear sign and path to the transportation entrances.
Collectively, the corner sign towers will also provide a unique and needed visible icon for the currently out of sight, below ground transportation complex. The signs are only allowed at the corners and are to be kept to a minimum width to provide a vertical tower effect. Consequently, they emphasize the intersections and the access points to the underground transportation. The base of the sign towers provide the graphics and “way finding” to the transportation entrances. The tops of the sign towers include lanterns to highlight the Avenue at night. These Avenue towers will significantly add charm and visual cohesiveness to the district.