Imagine New York City with a subway line that takes you from the lower west side of Manhattan to the Upper East Side. How about a New York City with green belts on every street? Imagine looking forward to visiting Penn Station.

These are some of the dreams of notable NYC architects in the feature “Two Architects Give NYC a Makeover.” In a video interview, Gregg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects and Vishaan Chakrabarti of the Partnership for Architecture and Urbanism detail the “what if’s” of New York City planning.

Watch the video above and read up on four of their big ideas below.

Splitting up Central Park

One of the most stirring ideas mentioned in the feature was eliminating the Central Park concept — instead devoting land on the edges of and throughout Manhattan for park space. Pasquarelli said that many NYC parks, like Washington Square Park and Gramercy Park are “tiny little pocket parks.” The parks should be connected in a larger network. With this principle, there would be no need for Central Park.

Revitalizing Penn Station

“How many times have you heard anyone say ‘Let’s meet for a drink at Penn Station?’ It just doesn’t happen, because no one wants to be there,” joked Chakrabarti in the interview. He calls the demolition of the original Penn Station “New York’s biggest mistake.” The two advocate for a site move for Madison Square Garden — building a new arena elsewhere. This would allow for a station redesign to boost sorely needed capacity. The current Penn Station sees 600,000 riders each day, but was only built to accommodate 120,0000.

Rethinking subway lines

Most New Yorkers agree that public transit takes you where you need to go, but it might take a while. Chakrabarti and Pasquarelli said that the initial construction of the subway system was flawed because a number of private companies incorporated express lines that are not evenly dispersed through the city. They explained that this creates “very expensive places where those subways go and very inaccessible places where those subways don’t.”

They would also add more crosstown capability and a line that brings riders from Manhattan’s lower west side to the Upper East Side — a trek that has most New Yorkers yelling “Taxi!”

Eliminating privately owned vehicles

“Do you know how much land is dedicated to cars and trucks?” asked Chakrabarti. The architects noted that two-thirds of a typical NYC cross street is filled with cars that are only used sparingly. If that space were reallocated, the city could suddenly be full of public green belts. “If we just got rid of the free parking on the streets, you’d immediately increase the capacity of the city by 40 percent,” Pasquarelli added. Eliminating or reducing privately owned cars would make room for other transportation innovations like robust ferry and bicycle systems.

What would you do if you could makeover NYC? Weigh in at @bbhnyc.

H/t Curbed NY.

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