1991 Broadway
Bel Canto

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 2.92 out of 5)

It would be an understandable mistake to think that this covered plaza, on the west side of Broadway between West 67th and 68th Streets, is all restaurant and no public space. Three large signs on the exterior trumpet the name “Ollie’s,” another sign identifies Ollie’s as a “Noodle Shop & Grille,” and the public space identification sign on glass entry doors in comparison fades into obscurity. Inside the glass panels and doors lining the public sidewalk is more confirmation of a restaurant. People are buying and eating takeout from the large food counter at back, seated around small tables in numerous molded white chairs near a large ice cream cone-shaped structure. A corridor at the southern edge of the space leads, in fact, to a restaurant to the west. Given the powerful image of private food services here, it bears emphasizing that this is public space, and no one is obligated to purchase or do anything. Understood as such, the food service becomes a pleasant amenity that may add to the enjoyment of neighborhood users and passersby. Beyond the northern end of the space, behind a wall covered with plants, is the entry corridor for residents of the Bel Canto, the host building.

Of the four covered plazas encouraged by the Special Lincoln Square District zoning, this is the only one devoted to food. The covered plaza at 2 Lincoln Square houses a museum, the One Harkness Plaza/Harmony Atrium space supplies a climbing wall, and the tiny outdoor covered plaza at 30 Lincoln Plaza leads to a superb landscaped plaza.


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8 User Submissions

  1. submitted by: Yvonne

    Question. What time does this plaza close? On the sign it says 12PM however I am in the plaza now after 12PM – it’s 7pm and it’s still open. Did they mean to say 12am or 12 midnight? If so the sign needs to be changed. Thank you. 🙂

  2. submitted by: Kay

    I wish the tables and chairs could be moved for greater functionality, by groups of people wanting to utilize a portion of the space, without being chastized by staff. The space is beautiful, but I believe if it was more welcoming, in terms of usage and staff &public interaction, people would be able to use this space in various, positive and intresting ways. Thanks you for making the space available to the public. Despite all, it is apreciated.

  3. submitted by: Kira

    The POPS at 1991 Broadway at 70th street is a space that in recent years as fallen to the wayside, running parallel to its faltering neighborhood. Many shops and restaurants in this neighborhood have been forced to close in recent years, leaving vacant, ugly space. These spaces are visible from the street with their clear, wide windows framing their dirty interiors, the giant FOR RENT signs trying to block out the public accessibility to know more about the space. The POPS feels similar. It is easily accessible to the public- it is not hidden or disguised as a business. Although, several years ago, it did have a Chinese take-out station, which and discouraged homeless loiterers, and made it seem as though you had to buy their food to sit there. The POPS feels very isolated with its floor to ceiling windows and awkward shape. It doesn’t have a purpose without these small businesses producing foot traffic. The space produces echoes, making it an unpleasant place for a pedestrian to rest. I do not see people passing through who are not homeless, although the tables and chairs provided do look ample enough to nap in, so I think the city is doing that community a favor to rest in a safe space without hassle. It has lots of natural light, although the 6 trees inside are withering away. It’s not clear to me who takes care of the building, locking it up at night, making sure it is clean at all times. I do know it is own by luxury condominium Bel Canto, but I didn’t see anyone associated with the building while I was there. The space is easy to find and was accessible for a wheel chair or a stroller. The floor to ceiling windows provide transparency, natural light, and safety to this small space. There is no feeling of being left out despite the glass. It is an absolute space-open, immersive, and solid. As a relational space, it is almost a private oasis. One can sit peacefully, yet can also be gawked at from the sidewalk and on display. It is a relative space because people can pass in and out at their leisure, and it seems to follow a similar structure changing as the neighborhood does. The space could be important for the neighborhoods residents in the future. Potentially, this could be a great POPS that anyone could use.

  4. submitted by: Susan Evans

    A new restaurant called the Sugar Factory (apparently a Vegas-based chain) has moved into the space Ollie’s once occupied. It has remodeled the public plaza so that it looks like part of the restaurant and even has waiters standing in the plaza among the tables, handing out menus and taking orders. It has also installed TVs in the plaza that play videos of celebrities (the Kardashians, Britney Spears) endorsing the Sugar Factory. The photos included in this message were taken over the weekend of 4/14–as you see, it is very difficult to tell that the plaza is open to the public. According to the DOB website, there are two active complaints: “PRIVATELY OWNED PUBLIC SPACE/NON-COMPLIANCE” and “CERTIFICATE OF OCCUPANCY -NONE/ILLEGAL/CONTRARY TO CO”. There is also a Stop Work Order dated 3/7/17 issued because “WORK @ COVERED PLAZA WITHOUT DCP APPROVAL IS APPROX 90% COMPLETE”. It is hard to understand how the plaza can be open given the stop work order and current treatment of the POPS.

    The photo on the right also shows that there is a waiter present in the space.

  5. submitted by: Vivienne Sendaydiego Singer, pomBlue LLC

    Request to have a Fashion Show http://www.pomBlue.com for Fashion Week Friday, September 8, 2017 8-9pm partnered with Sugar Factory.

  6. submitted by: Talia Schulder

    This public space is currently blocked off by yellow gates. When I asked someone who works at the Sugar Factory restaurant that is located inside the building, right past this public space, they said that it is closed because the restaurant has 25% capacity.

    However, the restaurant should have no legal ownership over the space and should hence be unable to control its closure. I am curious how this space is legally closed currently and if there are plans to ensure it can reopen (whilst also maintaining potentially some semblance of distancing, i.e. fewer tables and chairs, etc.)

    • submitted by: Jerold Kayden

      Dear Talia, Thank you for your comment. This space has had ongoing issues over the years as you can see from previous comments. Our suggestion is to file a 311 complaint. Click on the “Report a Problem” box on our homepage to file the complaint. Be detailed. The Department of Buildings should then send an inspector. You can follow up on your complaint by checking on at the Department’s Building Information Search, searchable by address. APOPS|MAS