Pop-up helps make a new public space in Brooklyn

Oct 11, 2023

Since 2022, Street Lab has been activating the Beverley Road Open Street in Kensington, Brooklyn, to help the community explore the potential of pedestrian public space in a traffic-congested commercial area. Today, the road became a permanent pedestrian plaza, with a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate.

Below are images of Street Lab’s work on Beverley Road before it became a plaza, including the debut of One Big Table and also our IMAGINE NYC program, which asked passers-by to express what they wanted to see on this street. With support from NYC DOT, Street Lab is working in a similar way with local groups across New York City to create and strengthen Open Streets, plazas, and other public spaces in historically underserved areas of the city. Learn more about that initiative here.

A woman speaking at a podium set up on the street.
A crowd standing on an open street with colorful mural ground.

The ceremony included community members as well as NYC DOT Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez, Council Member Shahana Hanif, NYS Assembly Member Robert Carroll, Georgia Faulkner from the Horticultural Society of New York, and Leslie representing the Street Lab team.

A yellow card with a polaroid picture of a young boy. The text reads: Dear New York City, on this street I want to add vendors around street that give you beverages and other necessities to survive the hot summer and the cases of Covid. As well as trying to improve the street so it is safer for people. Let people do fun activities.
Two women sitting on one big bench by Street Lab on the street.

Council Member Hanif (right) has been a strong advocate for more public spaces for the Kensington community.

pop-up community engagement
People sitting on one big table & bench on the street of NYC. The sign on the table reads "Tea+Talk."
A car-free street with chalk murals and play obstacles on the ground.
A group of people learning how to embroider on one big table on the street of NYC.

Street Lab partnered with local groups and small businesses to activate the Open Street with programs like a “Tea and Talk” with local business To Be Thai, a community sewing circle with the Bangladeshi Ladies Club, performances by local artists, and fresh fruit samples from Carnival Fruits & Vegetables.

A satellite view of Beverley Rd in Brooklyn, NYC.
People sitting down, eating, and drinking on an one big table on the street of NYC.
A satellite view of Beverley Rd in Brooklyn, NYC.
A group of people learning how to embroider on one big table on the street of NYC.

As noted by Council Member Hanif at yesterday’s ceremony, the neighborhood has lacked public space where children can play and adults can gather, and, before Beverley Road became an Open Street, it was the site of accidents involving cars, pedestrians, and bikers. To ensure the pedestrian plaza gets off to a great start, Street Lab will return with additional programming through the end of 2023.

A moving image of yellow cards with a polaroid pictures and feedback (on what they want to see in this street) of various community members in the Kensington neighborhood of Brooklyn, NYC.
A street performance by a Bangladeshi group on the street of NYC.