The NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Dumbo Improvement District held a press conference this morning to announce the opening of the Manhattan Bridge Archway in Dumbo, a joint project of both groups with Rogers Marvel Architects and Jim Conti Lighting Design. Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, Borough President Marty Markowitz, and DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, among others attended.
The opening of the archway is one of the initiatives of the Dumbo Improvement District and will be opened in two stages. The public space has been closed for 17 years and previously occupied by DOT’s Division of Bridges for the cutting and storage of metal needed for bridge projects. Today marked the “soft opening” at which point the Improvement District will keep the Archway open to the public as a pedestrian thoroughfare and plaza, locking the gates at night. The archway will be further beautified with lighting, benches, and to remove the asphalt to reveal the Belgian blocks and will be open 24 hours upon completion to coincide with the Manhattan Bridge’s 100th birthday in 2009. This fall, the Dumbo Improvement District will continue to fundraise, to support the longer-term restoration of the archway, maintenance, and programming costs. The Dumbo Improvement District’s annual fundraiser, Dumbo Fight Night 2008, will be held on October 2, 2008. As Marty Markowitz stated in his speech, he envisions events with tables, benches, and exhibitions in the 8,000 square foot archway once the restoration is fully completed.