Sometimes common sense can seem like a revelation. The Dumbo Improvement Distict's Current Initiatives comprise visionary and mundane schemes to make the neighborhood more hospitable to merchants, visitors, and residents. They also represent the assault of the practical against the romantically derelict. In other words, more ATMs and fewer photoshoots. Is there a way to reconcile the two tendencies?

bb_ped-entrance.jpgSensible changes such as a better-marked pedestrian entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge and the re-opening of the Manhattan Bridge Arch as a pedestrian thoroughfare are long overdue. Many an eager foot soldier looking to cross the bridge has ended up instead wandering around under the BQE.

The plot to transform Pearl Street Triangle, a forlorn parking island abutting the bridge, into a humming public square with art, music, greenery, and freshmarkets sounds as fun as it does implausible (pictured above). But with the residential population expected to double with 1500-3000 new bodies in the next year (think herds of new condos and conversions), perhaps it's not out of the question.

Futuristic Dumbo Exhibit by Pratt urban design students