9 West 57th Street

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5 User Submissions

  1. submitted by: HB

    As of June 4, 2013, the chairs, umbrellas and tables are missing from this POPS. There are no signs of construction or renovation.

    • submitted by: APOPS

      We will look into this. Thank you very much.

  2. submitted by: Doug

    I was recently kicked off the area next to the SOLO57 building between 5th and 6th ave. (I was with my leashed dog and 8 yr old son) – Lot #142 – 9 W. 57th st. The building rep told me it was private property and I was trespassing (Sunday morning). There is no sign, fence or obstruction to the space….its open from the sidewalk. It is a nice area with a fountain and lots of empty space (gravel ground) to run around in. Are there POP rules for this lot that stipulate no dogs and or trespassing information?

    • submitted by: APOPS

      Dear Doug, That sounds like an unpleasant experience. We assume that you were in the plaza on 58th Street. We will check into the current legal status of the space and report back to you here in the coming days.

  3. submitted by: Miri

    Walking down West 58th Street, not far from 5th Avenue, one is quickly absorbed in a seeming oasis of warm light as sidewalk opens up along wide travertine arcade, complimented by a Joan Miró and some greenery. On a windy Wednesday afternoon, the site is mostly empty. Passersby observe the statue, few stop, most proceed through the space without seeming to recognize its presence. Neglected, it seems. The site offers a variety of places to sit and rest, surely it must be the weather that has driven people away. This particular site can be found on the POPS map created by Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space and the Municipal Art Society of New York. However, it is unclear whether or not the space actually qualifies as public.

    Certainly the space fulfills the tenets of the POPS program, if those are understood to be openness, accessibility, safety, and the provision of a place to rest. Yet, a lack of signage makes the legal status of the space quite ambiguous. There are no physical barriers restricting public access to the site, but there is no assurance of one’s belonging. The belonging of the tenants of the curtain wall monolith that looms overhead is easily assumed; but as a member of the general public, there is a certain precarity to occupying the space. Openness is not welcoming, after all. It is not as if the site is unable to host a handful of notices assuring public access. Numerous travertine columns ensure that there is ample space for proper signage, if the site is indeed an official POPS. A couple of signs do hang in the arcade, one asserting that the bike rack–one of few amenities offered by the site–is strictly for tenant use, warning of the presence of security cameras, which seems to aim to prevent the wrong people from locking their bikes more so than to discourage the theft of the rightful bikes.

    While a lack of signage introduces ambiguity to the space, the reigning curtain wall asserts the precarious position of the public within the space. At the ground level, the curtain wall contributes to a sense of surveillance. While the ground floor gallery space and lobby give some hint of accessibility, there is certainly to transcendence of the explicit barrier between what is outside and what is within. In this dynamic there seems to exist a kind of two way surveillance; not ideal, but not necessarily unfair. Beyond the first floor of the building, this sense of surveillance intensifies immensely. The slope of the building prevents pedestrians from any sense of access to the upper floors of the building via their sidewalk view. Furthermore, it presents a site of power that seems to retreat into itself, drawing back its lines, strengthening and surveiling from within. It may be a beautiful building, and its arcade may be a beautiful site, but the sense of ambiguity and precarity that it promotes would seem to defeat the purpose of any public space, whether privately owned or not.