Brownsville’s Zion Triangle Plaza is officially complete after a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday.
The new and improved space at the intersection of Pitkin and East New York Avenues now includes amphitheater-style seating for outdoor performances, 500 new plantings, accessibility ramps, and more.
The project, started in 2018, was worked on by NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) and NYC Parks alongside local elected officials and community members.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams thanked DOT, DDC, NYC Parks and the Pitkin Avenue BID for their investment and commitment to the plaza, including the restoration of the Brownsville War Memorial.
“Zion Triangle Plaza is an important open space for our Brownsville community to connect, and it is so important that open spaces like these are safe, accessible, and well-maintained,” he said.
The plaza was expanded from 17,740 square feet to 22,940 square feet by permanently closing Legion Street between Pitkin and East New York Avenues and one lane of traffic on East New York Ave adjacent to the plaza. Both areas were incorporated into the new plaza.
City officials said the expanded space helped enhance safety at the surrounding intersections. Nearly 13,500 square feet of sidewalk was installed with eight pedestrian ramps to improve accessibility, and a new curb extension was added on East New York Ave to increase pedestrian safety by reducing the crossing distance.
Amphitheater-style seating was installed for future performances in the plaza, along with 12 tree pits, 22 new trees, more than 500 plantings, decorative asphalt, 14 new benches and a new water fountain. The plaza also received a new electrical system, which includes five light poles and receptacles for events.
The project also included a $600,000 restoration of the Zion Park War Memorial monument, also known as the Brownsville War Memorial. The memorial was sculpted by Charles Cary Rumsey and dedicated in 1925.
Assembly Member Latrice M. Walker said her fondest memory of Zion Triangle was playing here with her dad. “The completion of this project is one of many that will add to the fabric of our community,” she said.
Council Member Alicka Ampry- Samuel said it was an exciting day in Brownsville being able to finally cut the ribbon at the plaza. “We’ve had some painful moments in this community throughout 2020 and before but seeing the vision of beautification finally be realized- restores hope in a better tomorrow,” she said. “I look forward to many celebrations in this space in the coming months and years as we build community and put health and safety first.”
The Zion Triangle Plaza was added to the DOT plaza program in 2010 and is managed by the Parks Department and the Pitkin Avenue BID. Parks is responsible for the sanitation and upkeep of the plaza, while the Pitkin Ave BID oversees programming and works closely with DOT on various plaza activities for the Brownsville community.
DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said during the pandemic, safe and welcoming outdoor public spaces had been more critical than ever before, “so today we are happy to unveil the new Zion Triangle Plaza.”
“Located in the heart of Brownsville, one of Brooklyn’s hardest hit COVID-19 neighborhoods, the plaza and the renovated Zion Park War Memorial sculpture within it are a sign of hope and a testament to the community’s resilience,” she said.