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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

34th Street District Way-finding, New York City, New York

The 34th Street Partnership began in 1992 as a plan to clean up the district, but expanded its services to planning and design. 34th street had been filthy with piles of garbage on the street. The Next American City magazine quoted Daniel Biederman, president of the BID, on improvements made: "Literally overnight, the garbage disappeared once the BID began its services." Subsequent efforts included improving streetscape aesthetics by standardizing the design of newspaper stands, street lamps, planters, and way-finding signage.

Way-finding signs are located on the South corner of Herald Square, across the street from Macy's flagship store to the west. Three panels feature "Things to See and Do," "Herald Square" and the "34th Street District". Text is presented in English, Spanish, French, German, and Japanese. Bold colorful images of different attractions are highlighted. These include 1) CUNY Graduate Center, NYPL, 2) Macy's, 3) The Manhattan Mall, 4) Empire State Building, 5) Herald Square and Greeley Square Parks, 6) Pennsylvania Station, 7) Madison Square Garden, and 8) Visitor's Assistance and Information.

The central panel has a detailed map of the district with estimated walking time to different places shown in several concentric circles. A directory accompanies this keyed to the map and featuring Retail, Restaurants, Service, Attractions/Entertainment, Parks, Hotels, Banks, Education, Government, and Religious institutions. These are color coded and clearly displayed on the map.

Finally, a panel shows the 34th Street District in the context of New York City and the greater Midtown area. This shows portions of the district from the previous map, but also names of nearby neighborhoods including Chelsea to the south, the Garment District, Theater District, Times Square, Midtown, and Murray Hill to the north. Central Park is also shown on the northern edge of the map, as are a number of other parks in the area.

These three panels are coordinated with separate directional signs displayed above showing the "East Side" and "West Side" as well as street name signs, all using consistent font and colors, to coordinate well with the way-finding signs.

Another way-finding station in the Madison Square Garden area