Recap: NYCDOT Public Design Workshop

It was a packed house at the NYU Poly Incubator last Wednesday night for NYCDOT's third public design workshop regarding the restoration of DUMBO's streets. The project will include full replacement of sewer and water lines as well as rid DUMBO of the potholes and asphalt that mask the cobblestone streets. Dozens of community members from DUMBO and Vinegar Hill talked through approaches to restoring the cobblestone streets and permanently building the DUMBO Plaza spaces. In case you missed it - here are few key takeaways:

  • NYCDOT shared extensive research regarding the existing cobblestones in DUMBO and restoration projects domestically and in Europe. DOT discussed strategies for reusing as many old cobblestones as possible and sourcing new cobbles akin to those in DUMBO (ie. matching our mix of color, texture and size) to restore the streets and make them accessible. Techniques for creating surfaces that can be used by vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians include aligning original cobble according to width for tighter joints, consideration of a granite bike strip, and reuse of old cobbles along with new DUMBO style (read: not like Washington Street) cobbles.
  • NYCDOT stated that they will create cobble mock ups (giant slabs of re-layed cobbles meant to inform the design for the project). They will build the mockup / testbeds - and community members will be invited to take a look for themselves and to give feedback this spring.
  • The design for DUMBO's plazas currently includes a free flowing space with two large benches and space for art and other programming. Designers are also planning for a robust lighting design to help activate the area in the evening.

Designers will continue to incorporate feedback from the meeting, and plan to share the next iteration along with the mock ups once they are constructed. They will then advance the design based on feedback from the mock ups, before it goes to Community Board 2 and through the Landmarks Preservation Committee.

Select images from DOT's workshop presentation are below; full presentation is available for download here.


The new stones used at Washington Streets are not a precedent for the project. Where new stones are needed, the City will source "DUMBO style" cobblestones that look weathered and match the textures, sizes and colors that make the area unique.