Amsterdam Avenue is currently a poor cousin to the vibrancy of Broadway. Here are some suggestions how to fix it. The single biggest issue is to get more "eyes on the street" (a phrase from Jane Jacobs' Death and Life of Great American Cities) to improve the feeling of security in the area. This part of the neighborhood is underserved with respect to dining opportunities, despite the customer base in its apartment buildings, classroom buildings and the hospital. The concrete platform at 116th St. needs to go because it creates a gloomy tunnel for pedestrians and causes traffic accidents.
Columbia University's Working Group on Historic Preservation is actively researching some of these issues; we have great hopes that the University will finally understand that it gains from a pleasant environment. It would be helpful if you would send comments in support of these improvements to Columbia Vice-President Emily Lloyd. Be nice, because she has spearheaded Columbia's current effort to take better care of this neighborhood.
(UPDATE 7/1/99: Columbia's Master Plan has indeed incorporated some of these suggestions. We are now waiting to see whether the coming master plan of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine does its share.)
Click here for a map showing the context of the area above