Equitable Economic Development through Creative Placemaking

Historic, black and white image of subway station; large arched entrance and tile roof.

Constructed in 1907 and abandoned in 1930, the now-vacant Westchester Avenue station in the Bronx was designed by the noted architect of the Woolworth Building, Cass Gilbert. Once a vibrant neighborhood hub, the vacant station has long been a source of community concern and fascination. Protective walls hide the station, virtually invisible in the vast intersection of Westchester Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard and within the socio-economically distressed area of the South Bronx known as the “Toxic Triangle,” created by the intersection of three major expressways.

Contemporary photo of highway with delapadated subway station in the background

Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) has been working to bring the station back to life for over a decade and envisions it to be the focal point of a new district created by decking over sections of the depressed Sheridan Boulevard adjacent to the station and as a gateway to the new Concrete Plant Park and the Bronx River Greenway.

Birds eye view of the site, with highlighted areas showing potential places to adapt for better use, including retail space, connection to parks, public plaza

Professor Stephen Davies led a community placemaking process with YMPJ in the Spring of 2023 to complement technical architectural and engineering studies of the structure. He helped to solidify the vision for the station and district as a community-driven and community-controlled destination with a synergistic cluster of cultural, food, recreational, and environmental uses that spur local entrepreneurship and empowerment. Public art will be a crucial first step in redeveloping the historic station and the district. Under the Taconic Fellowship, Steve Davies and his Pratt student team will lead a collaborative community process to create a design for a mural that will honor the station's history, activate the site, and stimulate public interest and excitement about the station's future. YMPJ will use this design to fundraise for its implementation.

A group of people stand outside working on large posters at a pop-up placemaking workshop

Project Year