The design creates a new, sixty-foot wide, 200 foot, pedestrian plaza connecting 42nd Street, the west entrances of Grand Central Terminal, West 43rd Street, and the office and transit entrances of One Vanderbilt. The Vanderbilt Plaza is paved with granite cobbles with a circular design radiating from a series of five discs containing canopy trees pruned to allow pedestrian views across the Plaza and seasonal and groundcover plantings in spring, summer, fall, and winter, much like the channel gardens at Rockefeller Plaza. The arrangement of elements was informed by sun/shade studies and wind analysis showing that streets adjacent to the development are generally sheltered by high-rise buildings from prevailing winds. The selection of trees was also informed by the stark dearth of trees within the surrounding neighborhood.
Owing to the high density of pedestrian flow in the Plaza, elements such as additional permanent seating or light fixtures that would impede movement were avoided. The planted discs will accommodate casual seating, and the trees provide a setting at a pleasing civic scale while relating timelessly both to the historic grandeur of the terminal architecture and the monumental modern tower. This classically elegant Plaza will serve as a respectful and memorable new civic addition to East Midtown.