Albee damned! City wants to cut traffic in unused plaza

The Brooklyn Paper
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The city wants to close a part of DeKalb Avenue to expand the Albee Square pedestrian plaza, The Brooklyn Paper has learned.

The neglected open space at the triangular intersection of Fulton Mall, DeKalb Avenue and Bond Street will someday be the heart of a revived residential and commercial district that includes a Target mega-store and CityPoint, a 65-story residential and retail tower that will be the tallest building in the borough.

For now, the plan would require a shift in traffic patterns, including a proposal to close the short portion of DeKalb Avenue west of Flatbush Avenue, a Transportation Department spokesman said. The city will present the ideas to the community next Tuesday.

Until anything happens, of course, Albee Square is a wasteland.

“We need benches,” said Tony Smith, 35. “We need to sit down and relax somewhere with nice trees, a water fountain and a public bathroom.”

Park Sloper Maria Ortiz, an office worker in the area, wants a place to eat lunch.

“We don’t have anywhere to eat outdoors around here,” she said. “Maybe it could be like Bryant Park, with tables and chairs so people could sit and eat lunch. It’s really nice out here.”

Kevin Cox, 31, meanwhile, said he mostly wants chess tables.

There’s no question what side the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership is on. Two years ago, the quasi-public agency put out a report that called for closing the one-block segment of DeKalb to “truly transform this space” or create a venue for events that would take advantage of the grandeur of the Dime Savings Bank building at the eastern side of the square.

Public hearing on Albee Square. St. Francis College (180 Remsen St., between Court and Clinton streets in Brooklyn Heights), Nov. 18, 5 pm. Call (718) 222-7271 for info.

Updated 12:14 pm, November 19, 2008
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