Envision Vanderbilt

New York City introduced the Open Streets program in the summer of 2020 to help restaurants survive through the pandemic. But the reaction and the success grew in participants’ imaginations to offer an idea of what city streets could be:

  • A place to enjoy an evening stroll or a fun day out with family
  • A shared “living room” for neighbors to meet up or  just run into each other
  • A way to build community in and across neighborhoods

A truly permanent open street on Vanderbilt Avenue could be transformative for Prospect Heights. That’s why the Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council is working with the New York City Department of Transportation and Arup to engage the Prospect Heights community and together develop a vision for the future of Vanderbilt Avenue. Here’s what we’ve done, and what you can expect over the next few months:

On July 15, we brought together neighborhood block association leaders and Vanderbilt Avenue residents and business owners for an initial discussion about how the avenue could be designed to support the types of uses that have become popular during open streets. We met at—where else?—the Branded Saloon, where attendees heard a presentation by Arup and DOT about techniques and tools that help to create more public space on city streets. The ensuing discussion helped us better understand how a cross-section of stakeholders view the open street, and what concerns they have for its continued operation. Click here to view the presentation, together with notes from the group discussion.



The Prospect Heights Neighborhood Development Council, Arup and DOT came to Vanderbilt Avenue on September 11 and September 17 to talk about the future of the Avenue. In interactive exercises, key questions were posed to residents and passersby:

  • How can we build on the success of Open Streets to make it a permanent and special part of Prospect Heights and Brooklyn?
  • What are the key challenges in creating a truly permanent Open Street on Vanderbilt Avenue?
  • What do you like best about Open Streets on Vanderbilt Avenue?
  • What issues do you think are most important to address next year?

We want to hear what kind of changes you—the Prospect Heights community—would like to see on Vanderbilt Avenue.

If you missed our in-person design events, we hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn a little about the techniques designers use to create public space on city streets and then share your thoughts with us:

Envision Vanderbilt online survey

We’d like to share the feedback we’ve heard during our engagement sessions and present some ideas for how Prospect Heights’ open streets can evolve as a permanent part of our neighborhood, meeting a range of community needs. At two events in November, you’ll also learn more about what to expect next year and in years to come on Vanderbilt Avenue and Underhill Avenue.

On-street workshop
Saturday, November 13, 2:00pm—5:00pm
(rain date: Sunday, November 14)
Vanderbilt Avenue between Prospect Place and St. Mark’s Avenue

Virtual town hall meeting
Monday, November 15, 7:00PM
Register at http://forms.phndc.org/open-street-town-hall