Kensington’s temporary open street on Beverley Road has officially been transformed into a permanent pedestrian plaza.
Since 2022, Mayor Eric Adams’ administration has worked in conjunction with community partners to host weekend open streets on the westernmost block of Beverley Road between East Second Street and Church Avenue in Kensington. On Oct. 11, the stretch was transformed into a colorful, permanent plaza that adds approximately 5,600 square feet of space to the existing Kensington Plaza, which sits adjacent to the road.
The Beverley Road plaza is part of the Department of Transportation’s car-free public Open Streets initiative that aims to make more public spaces accessible to New Yorkers to promote economic development, support schools, provide additional ways for New Yorkers to interact with one another, and create more space for cultural programming. Beverley Road’s new open street transformation marks the 65th DOT art project to be implemented during the Adams’ administration.
“Every New Yorker deserves safe, accessible, and vibrant public spaces, and through our Open Streets program we are working with communities to bring these lasting benefits to neighborhoods across the city,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez on Wednesday. “As we continue to launch new Open Street locations, we are working to deliver permanent upgrades to existing locations like Beverley Road and coupling these projects with community art where possible.”
The transformation of the block created 9,400 square feet of unified pedestrian space, with shortened pedestrian crossings on Church Avenue, East Second Street and Beverley Road.
The space also incorporated new loading zones on East Second Street for businesses and residences, and will eventually include granite blocks, planters, umbrellas, moveable furniture and more to brighten up the space and keep vehicles out.
“I am so thrilled to announce the expansion of Kensington Plaza today,” said Council Member Shahana Hanif on Wednesday. “Creating this extended open space in Kensington has been in the works for years. Unlike nearly every other neighborhood in District 39, Kensington has few public pedestrian spaces, so the inclusion of East Second Street and Beverley Road is a welcome addition. Creating accessible public spaces like the new Kensington Plaza is safer for pedestrians, good for small businesses, cuts down on our community’s greenhouse gasses, and will make our neighborhood stronger.”
Hanif also recently helped a local mosque secure an open street on Friday afternoons for outdoor prayer.
The new space has been decorated with an asphalt mural, “A Conversation on Beverley,” designed by Brooklyn-based Ukrainian artist Misha Tyutyunik, via the DOT’s art program. The program partners with community-based artists and nonprofit organizations to display art on DOT projects for up to eleven months.
“As an immigrant from Soviet Ukraine, I have always seen art as a global language,” Tyutyunik said. “The composition for ‘A Conversation on Beverley’ mural is distilled from the feedback sourced from community engagement workshops, where local residents were asked to imagine their community through symbols, words and colors. The result is a design that highlights connectivity, community, peace, love and diversity through the subtly interlaced imagery of faces, fresh fruit, homes, flowers, sun, moon and stars, utilizing vibrant colors and abstraction, to paint a vivid slice of local life.”