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.
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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.
Trump Tower has removed the second and remaining Trump memorabilia sales counter illegally occupying its privately owned public space. On February 2, 2016, the City’s Environmental Control Board confirmed that placement of the two sales counters in the POPS violated the zoning special permit governing the space. The ECB Decision and Order further stated that the applicable design plans referenced by the special permit “show the words ‘marble bench seating,’ printed in the area currently occupied by the [counter across from the elevators].” Until that required public bench is reinstalled, the violation will not have been fully corrected. The next ECB hearing is scheduled for April 21, 2016. Here are “before” photos of the two sales counters, photos taken on the afternoon of April 6, 2016, of the newly vacant POPS space, and a photo taken years ago of the required public bench across from the elevators that had been replaced by one of the two Trump memorabilia sales counters.
The New York City Department of City Planning, the Alliance for Downtown New York, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation have proposed a zoning text amendment, entitled “Water Street Upgrades Text (N 160166 ZRM) and affecting the area along and near Water Street in the Financial District, allowing by Chairperson Certification and City Planning Authorization the infill of existing public arcades with retail space, along with the improvement of existing public plazas. The zoning amendment could potentially reach 20 buildings with 110,000 square feet of arcades and 225,000 square feet of plazas which together generated over 2.5 million square feet of bonus zoning floor area. The first City Planning Commission public hearing on the proposal will take place Wednesday, March 30, 2016, 10:00am, at Spector Hall, 22 Reade Street. The item is number 17 on the calendar.
The proposed zoning amendment text and background material describe the entire proposal. Here is a map of the affected area.
Following a compliance inspection on March 6, 2016, the New York City Department of Buildings has newly cited Trump Tower Commercial LLC for a POPS zoning violation for failing to remove a sales counter selling Trump memorabilia from the covered pedestrian space and for the continued absence of a required public bench. Previously, the City of New York’s Environmental Control Board had issued a decision and order on February 2, 2016, finding that Trump Tower Commercial LLC was in violation of a zoning special permit by placing and operating two sales counters within the building’s bonused covered pedestrian space and by failing to provide a required public bench. The owner subsequently removed one of the sales counters and paid a $4,000 penalty. The remaining sales counter, across from the elevators near the Fifth Avenue entrance where the public bench is required to be, continues to operate as of Thursday morning, March 10, 2016, when the above photo was taken.
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.
Boston is one of many cities worldwide that has deployed its land-use regulatory approval process to secure from developers so-called Privately Owned Public Spaces at office and residential towers. Legally required to be open to the public, these “POPS” — plazas, arcades, gallerias, rooftop terraces, and other outdoor and indoor spaces — are meant to be places to relax, meet with friends, eat a sandwich, read a book, take a snooze, or watch the city go by — all without having to pay for the privilege. Properly designed, accessorized, and maintained, POPS can richly complement a city’s public realm.
So how many POPS does Boston have? Where are they located? How many have seating, landscaping, public art, restrooms, or water fountains? When do they open and close? How many are indoor, heated, and air-conditioned? Are they operated at all times in compliance with applicable legal requirements? These questions have answers, but it is unlikely anyone knows them all. Most important, the public does not know the answers.
Some of us know where some POPS are. There is the 14th-floor observation deck at 470 Atlantic Avenue (Independence Wharf) and its interior seating area off the HarborWalk. There’s Foster’s Rotunda down the street on the 9th floor of 30 Rowes Wharf. Atlantic Wharf at 290 Congress Street has public seating and events. But what about the outdoor plazas scattered about the downtown commercial area? Was the Hancock tower’s observatory (now closed) ever a required POPS? Are some office lobbies actually indoor POPS?
Click here for the full text of Jerold S. Kayden’s article, “Boston POPS,” just published in the spring, 2015 issue of Architecture Boston.
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.
In the summer 2014, under the direction of Community Board 6 District Manager Dan Miner, four summer interns visited all 77 buildings with POPS in the district and prepared a report detailing their findings. Interns Christopher Consalvo, Anita Li, Eduard Knechtl, and Shelby Yvon took photographs, described positive and negative attributes of the spaces, and specified certain conditions that were apparently out of compliance with applicable legal requirements. APOPS|MAS Chair Jerold Kayden provided help to the interns in the final preparation of their report. APOPS|MAS encourages other community boards to explore the approach of Community Board 6 and visit their own privately owned public spaces to see how the spaces are performing for the public.
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