Our website is a digital space for collaboration about physical space. We invite you to participate in the creation of knowledge designed to secure greater public use of New York City’s 525 or so POPS, those zoning-created plazas, arcades, and other outdoor and indoor privately owned public spaces.
The website provides a foundation of legal and other information about all privately owned public spaces in New York City. It offers many pathways to find a POPS that interests you and to learn more about it. Keyword searches, a clickable map, a gallery of photographs, POPS listed by address and neighborhood, and a filtering feature to locate POPS with food service, artwork, restrooms, and seating are available. You can geo-locate yourself and nearby POPS on your mobile device.
For each of the 600 or so POPS, the website provides written profiles, photographs, site plans, and a recitation of legal obligations. Most written profiles are drawn from Privately Owned Public Space: The New York City Experience (John Wiley & Sons 2000), written by Harvard Professor Jerold S. Kayden in collaboration with the New York City Department of City Planning and the Municipal Art Society of New York. Given its 2000 publication date, some of the written profiles no longer accurately describe some or all aspects of a given space. APOPS|MAS, with help from POPS users, will be updating written profiles as time and resources permit. Even if out-of-date, however, the profiles from the book provide a history of the space and may be compared to conditions today. The applicable legal obligations specified for each space are normally current, with a semiannual updating schedule.
You — city residents and employees, POPS owners, public officials, civic activists, design and planning professionals, and others local and worldwide who share a fascination with the very idea of privately owned public space — are our partners. Our website depends mightily on your interest in and willingness to contribute ideas and information about specific POPS or the idea of POPS. We encourage you to submit new written profiles, photographs, videos, redesigns, comments, program proposals, or reports of problems. We expect to publish most of what you submit. Please help us identify discrepancies between on-the-ground realities and the information currently presented on the website. Submit ideas that will make an individual POPS or all POPS better. We promise to do our best not only to publish your idea, but to move your suggestion to relevant parties. If we all do our jobs correctly, this digital space will enhance the physical space that is the ultimate object of our affections.
Conceived by Professor Kayden, working with the Municipal Art Society of New York, this website would not be possible without contributions from many individuals over many years. We would especially like to acknowledge the following: Richard Barth, Kent Barwick, Genie Birch, Amanda Burden, Melissa Cerezo, Vin Cipolla, Edith Hsu-Chen, David Karnovsky, Sean Kelliher, Brenda Levin, Amanda Miller, Ellen Nicholson, Rebecca Robertson, Joe Rose, Phil Schneider, Alexis Taylor, Patrick Too, and Douglas Woodward. Finally, we thank designer Sarah Rainwater and developers Antonio Lettieri and Jake Camara for working with us on the original website’s design and development.