Is a New Cobblestone a Better Cobblestone?

In Brooklyn's Dumbo neighborhood, NYCDOT is looking to replace the area's historic cobblestones with artificially aged new ones to improve accessibility and bike-friendliness. Preservationists and residents are aghast at the "phony urbanism."

"[A]mid efforts to make the rickety streets of Dumbo and Vinegar Hill more accessible and bike-friendly, the city has delivered a disquieting message to residents who say they were drawn to the neighborhoods for their historic feel: Many of the old cobblestones on their streets have to go," writes Matt Flegenheimer.

"Some of the original Belgian blocks have already been replaced with more uniform stones, including ones cut with machines and lasers, startling preservationists," he adds. "In a compromise that has not eased all minds, the city’s Department of Transportation has offered to install new cobbles that are aged artificially, like a pair of stonewashed jeans, to appear more worn."

“'It is far worse than I could have imagined,' said Andrew S. Dolkart, director of the historic preservation program at Columbia University, decrying the 'phony urbanism' of the replacement stones. 'It is appalling that the D.O.T. would destroy real historic material and replace it with a completely ersatz program.'”

Full Story: To Replace Old Cobblestones, Old-Looking Cobblestones


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95