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Reconstructed Willoughby Plaza Opens To Public

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The newly redesigned Willoughby Plaza opened to the public Friday as part of the Department of Transportation's Plaza Program.

The space now includes 14,000 square feet of seating area and greenery.

Officials also unveiled plans to install free Wi-Fi and promote community programs.

The plaza was first installed in 2006 as a pilot project, and officials said it's proved to be an anchor for local businesses and the community.

"Six years ago, this was just an underutilized part of the street, and now it's become a home to new businesses, retail, commercial establishments," said Janette Sadik-Khan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

"I think it's great," said one resident. "I think it will be great for the city, especially in the summertime, when it's nice and warm."

"I think it's cool that they have the tables because in the spring and summer, you can eat outside," said another resident.

Panera Bread and Shake Shack are just some of the new restaurants sprouting up in the reopened plaza.

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