180 Maiden Lane

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.83 out of 5)

Bounded by Front Street, Maiden Lane, South Street, and Pine Street, 180 Maiden Lane provides a well-appointed enclosed public space that was a mandatory lot improvement for Parcel 20Q of the 1973 Special Manhattan Landing Development District, one of the City’s special purpose zoning districts, repealed in 1998. The idea behind such districts is that a more fine-tuned, site-specific planning and zoning approach is needed in certain geographic areas in the city, particularly with regard to pedestrian amenities and circulation systems. For this district, the City mapped an intricate network of improvements, never fully realized, within a narrow strip along the East River from the southern tip of Manhattan north to the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.

This enclosed public space is the best fully indoor privately owned public space in downtown Manhattan. Most likely entered from the intersection of Front Street and Maiden Lane, the space lays out as a multistory, multifunctional atrium bathed in reflected gold tones. The tubular support frame glistens against the enveloping glass walls, and the brasslike cladding on interior columns is actually painted wood, an architectural trompe l’oeil. Tall trees illustrate the substantial scale and, along with the several planters, foster a calm, natural ambiance. The bamboo trees at 590 Madison Avenue’s covered pedestrian space in midtown Manhattan are brought to mind. Escalators and stairs rise from the middle of the space to the private lobby above.

Of equal importance to the space’s felicitous appearance is its functionality. On the Maiden Lane and Pine Street sides are seating areas replete with black wire movable chairs and tables, as well as polished stone planter ledges. The Pine Street side is also well programmed, with a portable platform set up for regularly scheduled performances and special events, a video wall with multiple television monitors, a food kiosk, and public restrooms. Underneath the private lobby is an art gallery exhibition area.

For a space that does not lack for things to see and do, its hours of operation, weekdays from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm, are sadly constrained. At night, the potential user feels like the classic outsider, nose pressed against glass, enviously watching the glistening lights and private happenings that take place from time to time. But it must be emphasized that the hours of operation are legally approved and even make sense for a downtown that tends to clear out once the workday is done. Still, with substantial visitation at nearby South Street Seaport, and with new efforts to increase the number of downtown residents underway, this space could be enjoyed during evening hours in ways that may not have been anticipated when the hours were originally established.

The outdoor public space is a strong complement to the indoor space during summer months. The area along Front Street has six backless polished stone benches, angularly shaped and alternating with two rows of trees. The waterfall at the 88 Pine Street special permit plaza to the southwest is less than a stone’s throw away, across Front Street.


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11 User Submissions

  1. submitted by: Chris

    I went to visit this POP this morning. I started taking pictures of the building from the outside when I arrived. A security guard came out from the inside to ask me “Are you taking pictures of the building?”. I said yes, and he told me that I wasn’t allowed to. I replied, “Isn’t this a public space?” and he said “No, it’s closed.” As I walked away, I peered into the space from the outside windows and indeed the space was closed and blocked off due to renovation.

    Although the POP was inaccessible, was the guard correct in telling me that I could not take pictures of the building?

    • submitted by: APOPS

      Thank you for contacting us. If you were taking photographs of the building and its privately owned public space from the public sidewalk, then a security guard from the building normally should not be able to tell you that you cannot take photographs from that location.

      • submitted by: Patrick Way

        Security informed me today that the indoor spaces are not open to the public, per the management, because “covid”

  2. submitted by: Amber Ruther

    According to NYC’s POPs guidelines, where a nighttime closing has been authorized, the minimum hours of public access are generally 7am-10pm from April 15-October 31, and 7am-8pm from November 1 to April 14th. Why is 180 Maiden Lane exempt from this guideline? It doesn’t seem fair that they receive the benefit of additional square footage at roughly $50/square foot/month, but aren’t held accountable to actually ensure their space benefits the public in any significant way. Everyone is at work during those hours, so rather than serving as a public gathering and meeting space, this POPS seems to mostly benefit 180 Maiden’s existing tenants. As Comptroller Stringer said after an audit of NYC POPS, “New Yorkers are getting cheated out of public resources – and the developers are getting benefits and giving back nothing in return.”

  3. submitted by: Lloyd C. Bishop

    The bathrooms at the180 Maiden Lane POP are locked. Shouldn’t they be open? Can you inquire and enforce? The space is a pleasant place to get some work done, but the lack of the required public restroom diminishes public use.

  4. submitted by: iman

    29 Oct 2022:
    POPS was closed. Few people working inside – gardening the tree? –

  5. submitted by: Jim

    Are the hours listed to the side for the enclosed public space (“Monday through Saturday, 8:30 am to 10:00 pm. Sundays from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm”) correct, or is the space closed at 5:30 pm as indicated in the article?

    Thank you!

    • submitted by: APOPS

      Hi Jim,

      The data listed in the column is from March 2023. It is recent and probably accurate. The information in the article is from 2000. It was written a long time ago and may be out of date. We’re working to revise the articles, but with hundreds of POPS, it requires time.

  6. submitted by: Max

    Wow incredible. This POPS has sunlight, seating, WiFi, bathrooms, drinking fountains, and even a great cafe that is somehow liberated from Manhattan prices. The seats at tables aren’t the most comfortable, but they are good enough and there are other options too. The ambiance is indeed delightful and calming. The outlets are available but limited.