Here’s an idea: How about banning all traffic on Broadway from Columbus Circle all the way down to Union Square, then filling it in with grass and trees? A post-apocalyptic fantasy of future New York straight out of I Am Legend? Not exactly. Instead, it’s a proposal for a super-urban park from the design firm of Perkins Eastman Architects. If carried out, it will be the largest such project ever, and likely make the High Line green with envy.
The Green Line, as it is indeed called, is based on the notion that since parts of Broadway have already been closed off and turned into pedestrian plazas thanks to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, why not go the whole nine yards—or in this case, the whole 2.6 miles? The linear park will connect with already existing greenswards along Broadway, like Madison Square Park, and also branch off at several junctures onto cross-streets for an avenue block or more.
However, the thing about the Green Line that distinguishes it from other urban oases, real or imagined (looking at you Lowline), is that it won’t renew and repurpose derelict infrastructure. Instead, it will radically transform an active artery, one that happens to be central to the city.
Interestingly, Broadway began as a Indian trail cutting through the hilly woodland that made up the original island of Mannahatta as the Lenape preferred to think of it. But while it’s fun to imagine Broadway lapsing into its prelapsarian state, the truth is the plan is probably little more than Key Lime pie in the sky.