Fun Summer Activities Coming to FiDi Public Spaces

Jun. 05, 2014

From bocce ball to Connect Four, fun outdoor activities are coming to Water Street this summer, through a new program called “Water Street Game On.”

The activities, to begin this month and run by the Downtown Alliance, are aimed at infusing life into the public areas where lunchtime and after-work crowds congregate beneath the cold glass towers of the Financial District.

“You can come and enjoy the public spaces, to really activate and energize Water Street with games and activities that you can play at noon during lunch or after work,” Fred Sham, the director of planning for operations at the Downtown Alliance, told Community Board 1’s Financial District Committee on Wednesday.

Last year, a similar program called Water Street Pops, run by the Department of City Planning and the Economic Development Corporation, brought games to the privately owned public spaces (POPS) on and around Water Street. But this year, activities are coming to all public spaces along the six-block stretch, including parks and Department of Transportation pedestrian plazas.

Potential sites for programming, Sham said, include Whitehall Water Street Plaza, where an urban beach, giant chess boards and Connect Four games will be set up; the Elevated Acre at 55 Water St., the probable location for a pop-up minigolf course and bocce ball court; and Coenties Slip, a spot for beanbag toss games.

The Alliance also plans to bring additional tables and chairs to Old Slip Park, providing space for visitors to play tabletop games.

TV sets provided by the hotel Andaz Wall Street, 75 Water St., will be placed in the area, allowing passersby to watch the World Cup at outdoor chairs and tables.

Water Street summer strollers will also have the chance to grab a quick bite from trucks, parked outside 55 Water St., with food from local establishments.

“We're looking to see if we can invite some restaurateurs who have a restaurant down here in Lower Manhattan to take advantage of that parking lane and that mobile vending option there,” Sham said.

Sham did not give an exact date but said the program will begin “in a couple weeks” and last through August.