To engage with a New York City privately owned public space, select a POPS.
Find A Pops
ON A POPS
Rate A Pops
(Re)Design A Pops
Video a Pops
Propose a POPS Program
Have a pithy comment about a POPS?
Go to the POPS you want to comment about, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Is a POPS closed when it should be open? Are movable chairs missing? You are helping, not squealing, by revealing.
Go to the POPS with the problem, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Help rate POPS, with five stars for excellent, four for very good, three for good, two for fair, and one for poor.
Go to the POPS you want to rate, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Be complimentary or critical, serious or whimsical, theoretical or practical, but do it in 500 words or less.
Go to the POPS you want to profile, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Represent your ideas in plan, sketch, perspective, section, whatever, and maybe the owner will retain you.
Go to the POPS you want to redesign, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Get your best Berenice Abbott on.
Go to the POPS you want to submit a photo or video of, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
Music, theatre, dance, visual arts, whatever…we do not book POPS but we may be able to connect you with management.
Go to the POPS in which you want to propose a program, then scroll to the bottom of the page.
In advance of the City Council hearing on the proposed Water Street POPS zoning amendment, the City Club of New York released the following statement:
- An analysis of the maintenance, amenities, streetscape, fronting uses, and patterns of use of the streets, parks, plazas, and arcades along and near Water Street including recommendations as to how these public spaces could work better individually and collectively. (Some of these spaces seem to work well; others would benefit from programming, enforcement, and maintenance.)
- An appraisal of the financial benefit that would be realized by building owners.
- A comprehensive and detailed urban design streetscape plan for all of Water Street that specifies the proposed improvements to the public realm and their cost so that these may be measured against the proposed concessions to property owners and serve as a guide for approvals by the City. (Legally, we believe, there must be “rough proportionality” between the quid and the quo; between the benefit to the public as opposed to the benefit to the property owner.)
- An analysis of changes to pedestrian circulation resulting from: (a) changes to uses in existing buildings, (b) development of new buildings, (c) construction of improvements along the waterfront, and (d) circulation to and from future stations of the Second Avenue subway.
- A plan for flood protection showing how changes to public spaces in the Water Street area contribute to its effectiveness.
- An assessment of the value of lost shaded spaces, particularly arcades and covered pedestrian spaces, especially given expected increases in the frequency of extreme heat events and the desirability of weather protection in inclement weather.
- Stipulations that ensure that the revenues generated by the certifications and authorizations will be devoted exclusively to mitigating the effects of the reduction of density ameliorating bonused open space through improvements to the neighborhood’s public realm.
- Provisions for taking into account the advice of the community board, the local expert on its neighborhood’s urban design.
Absent the information that these analyses and stipulations would provide it is questionable whether the Environmental Assessment Statement prepared for the proposed changes to the Special Lower Manhattan District supports the Negative Declaration that was issued.
APOPS|MAS received the following email on May 16, 2016:
Subject: Turned away at Trump Tower Elevator for Public Terrace
Last week we arrived in NYC, our first visit! As you can imagine we were excited! Since we were staying a block away from 5th Avenue, we turned the corner and walked into the Trump Towers mainly out of curiosity. The Doorman was very friendly, but when we reached the elevator we had the most awful, embarrassing, rude experience from Elevator security. Unfortunately I didn’t get his name because I was so upset. We saw there was a public terrace on the sign, and thought that might be a nice view, when we asked what he recommended seeing he said nothing, initially he wouldn’t acknowledge us but he stood in our way and finally said there’s nothing up there worth seeing, yet he let a bunch of other people onto the elevator, and told us we had to take the escalator around the corner and it wasn’t worth seeing anyway…. I asked why all of those people were able to take the elevator, if we couldn’t? He said they were members. Yet the sign above the elevator stated there was a Public Terrace. We were so embarrassed, and left very upset. It was our only Negative experience during our 5 day stay in New York, but it definitely left such a disheartening impression on us.
Jennifer Hovis, Professional Tourist
The not-for-profit organization “A Free Bird” wants to find a POPS to accommodate rent-free a free-standing food café structure, measuring 10 feet by 10 feet by 8 feet, that itself was a donation. Revenues received from the café operation would fund pediatric cancer patients and hospitals in New York City. The following images give a sense of what the café would look like:
After two hearings in March and April, 2016 that were adjourned at the request of Trump Tower representatives, the City’s Environmental Control Board (ECB) has scheduled a third hearing for June 23, 2016 to adjudicate the building’s continuing failure to re-install a legally required 22-foot public bench along the Fifth Avenue corridor wall across from the elevators. The hearing will also consider the imposition of a $10,000 penalty associated with two sales counters, now removed, that remained in place after the ECB ruled in January 2016 that they were illegally occupying the public space. That penalty would be on top of a $4,000 penalty previously paid by Trump Tower for the violation.
The New York City branch of Huge, the powerhouse digital agency, has produced an interesting five-minute video about privately owned public space in New York City. APOPS|MAS provided information to Huge and Chris Holmes for the video project.
APOPS Founder and President Jerold Kayden was the featured guest and POPS tour guide on a July 2015 segment of Radio Boston, a daily afternoon program on Boston’s National Public Radio station WBUR. Kayden and Radio Boston host Meghna Chakrabarti visited three Boston POPS, at 500 Boylston, 470 Atlantic Avenue, and Rowes Wharf at Foster’s Rotunda, to see how well they functioned as truly public spaces. Unlike New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle, Boston lacks a registry containing a list of all POPS and their required amenities. The back-and-forth between Kayden and Chakrabarti included a call for assembling such information as the first step in making the Boston POPS more central in the lives of residents, employees, and visitors. Click here to listen to the program.
APOPS founder Jerold S. Kayden was recently interviewed by Lara Belkind, a PhD candidate in urban planning at Harvard, for FunctionLab, the research arm of Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA). During the interview, entitled “Privately Owned Public Space—For Whom, By Whom,” Professor Kayden discusses the functional uses of privately owned public space in New York City, particularly since the publication of his book Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience in 2000. Citing Zuccotti Park as a site of political protest during Occupy Wall Street, he describes how the occupation challenged everyone’s conception about how POPS may be used. He notes that the Zoning Resolution is silent with regard to what user conduct POPS owners may prohibit. What’s interesting, Kayden suggests, is that many of the POPS from the 1960s and early 1970s, bereft of public amenities such as seating or landscaping, present an opportunity to be defined by use rather than design. You can read the full interview here.
Imagine that you were given “responsibility” for stewarding more than 80 acres of prime New York City private real estate that, by law, had to be open to the public. Imagining that role helps define the mission of the collaboration between Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space and the Municipal Art Society (APOPS|MAS). Harvard Professor Jerold S. Kayden, Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space, and the Municipal Art Society have joined forces to offer imaginative stewardship for the city’s 525 or so privately owned public spaces (POPS), those zoning-created plazas, arcades, and other outdoor and indoor spaces located at the street level of many office and residential towers. We believe that a city’s greatness is enhanced by an attractive, usable, and egalitarian public realm. We seek to invigorate POPS by sparking constructive action-producing conversations among city residents and employees, POPS owners, public officials, community board members, civic activists, and anyone else hoping to realize the possibility and promise of privately owned public spaces. Through creative ideas and hard work, we can leverage the good spaces and improve the marginal ones.
APOPS|MAS has an ambitious work program consisting of six elements: (1) Public Information; (2) Programs; (3) Upgrading; (4) Monitoring; (5) Special Projects; (6) Public Policy. Some activities have already commenced, others remain dependent on funding availability. Read more about these six elements here. We invite you to help us in realizing this work program. Contact us if you are interested.
You will not find this definition (yet) in the dictionary, but we are trying.
PRIVATELY OWNED PUBLIC SPACE [noun phrase] [slang POPS] 1. a plaza, arcade, or other outdoor or indoor space provided for public use by a private office or residential building owner in return for a zoning concession 2. a type of public space characterized by the combination of private ownership and zoning-specified public use 3. one of 525 or so plazas, urban plazas, residential plazas, public plazas, elevated plazas, arcades, through block arcades, through block gallerias, through block connections, covered pedestrian spaces, sidewalk widenings, open air concourses, or other privately owned public spaces specifically defined by New York City’s Zoning Resolution and accompanying legal instruments 4. Law’s oxymoronic invention