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Can Bryant Park Visionary Bring Midas Touch to Newark

Newark is pursuing an ambitious plan to revive its derelict Military Park, but that challenge is nothing new for Daniel A. Biederman, who was instrumental in transforming Manhattan's Bryant Park "from a forbidding drug haven to a jewel-box refuge."
February 7, 2013, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Lisa W. Foderaro discusses the ambitious plans to revive downtown Newark's 345-year-old Military Park, which is being overseen by Mr. Biederman and his firm, Biederman Redevelopment Ventures. Part of a wider effort to renovate and expand access to parks across the city being led by Mayor Cory Booker, the park is adjacent to two key sites in the city's ongoing building boom - a new $440 million tower being built by Prudential and Panasonic’s new North American headquarters. 

"The plan, Mr. Biederman said, is to replace unhealthy trees, plant a full acre of flowers, build a new cafe and public restroom, repair the Victorian-style lampposts (more than half are broken), create new seating areas and install custom-designed trash bins in the triangular six-acre park."

"The goal is for Military Park to be self-sustaining, a model pioneered by Bryant Park, which receives no money from New York City but reaps income from concessions, fees from office buildings and corporate sponsorships," says Foderaro.

"In addition to the physical upgrades, Mr. Biederman’s firm plans to infuse the park with programming. On any given day in Bryant Park, there is table tennis, chess, yoga classes, juggling lessons, lectures, concerts and film screenings. 'All of that enlivens the park,' he said. 'Downtown Newark needs use. It needs really busy spaces.'”

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Published on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 in The New York Times
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