900 Park Avenue
Unlike virtually all the neighboring residential buildings along this section of Park Avenue that have built out at ground level to their respective front lot lines and then set back, ziggurat-style, at upper floors, this tower is set back at ground level and thus able to introduce a plaza whose typology is more commonly found in front of residential towers elsewhere. At the northwest corner of Park Avenue and East 79th Street, the plaza follows the semicircular drop-off driveway model, but with a slight twist. In the half-circle area normally reserved for the ornamental fountain are artworks that render the space imageable to the public. The current sculpture, entitled Cat (1984), by Fernando Botero, is a bronze of a well-fed, polar-bear-sized cat with great whiskers. A previous sculpture, by Francisco Zunica, was a bronze of three grand women majestically strutting in different directions. Well-manicured shrubs and trees still surround the sculpture.
The space remaining around the driveway is currently filled with small trees and shrubs, but has displayed colorful flowers in the past. On Park Avenue, the plaza space is a small sunken corridor, separated from the sidewalk by a wall adorned with a small fence, heading north into the southern wall of the next building on Park Avenue. On East 80th Street west of Park Avenue is another tiny area of plaza.
7 User Submissions
I visited this space recently and found it unclear which space I could occupy – there was a sign stating “private property crossing and use subject to consent of owner” at the very border between the sidewalk and the driveway…and the only way to access the strip to the side of the building (unless you scale down the wall) is to pass through the driveway…you can see an image of the sign embedded in the driveway here http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirosim/8571152744/in/set-72157633033281688
Thanks for your comment. The sign that you describe is a common one stating the true fact that the property is private property. However, because the space it is a privately owned public space, you are entitled to enjoy access to it. Please look at the site plan that our web site has provided to determine what you can access. The New York Times article by David Dunlap describes these sorts of signs and what their significance is.
Located on the northwest corner of 79th and Park, the POPS outside of 900 Park Avenue is perhaps the least inviting and most restrictive in the city. The aforementioned profile does a thorough job explaining the physical appearance of the space, but to recap, the POPS is primarily used by a semicircular driveway. There is a sculpture of a Cat in the center of the driveway, and the remaining space is a sunken corridor located between Park Avenue and the eastern facade of the tower.
There are no benches, or any indication that the space is a suppose to be available to the public. Moreover, the doormen take pleasure in asking “trespassers” to leave. In fact, when confronted with evidence that their plaza was to be enjoyed by the public, the doorman threatened to call the police department. Either the City has given up trying to enforce the public aspect of this POPS, or they never tried at all. The City should enforce the POPS rules, or stop providing developers with such an incentive.
View of semicircular driveway. Facing west-northwest
View of semicircular driveway facing east towards Park Avenue.
Sunken “plaza” between building and Park Ave
As someone who frequently walks and passes by 900 Park Avenue, I was surprised to find out that is a POPs space. From the exterior, 900 Park appears to be a residential building with a semicircular driveway. Along the driveway, there is a walkway which leads to the entrance of the building. From this walkway there is a small pathway leading to the side of the building adjacent to Park Avenue. The small corridor looks like it is for private use, and I did not feel welcomed to enter. The corridor did not include any indication that it was for public use, such as a bench or sitting area. The other corridor on the opposite side of the building leads to what appears to be a private door.
Unfortunately, this POPs does not look like it is inviting or welcoming for the public. I did not know how to properly navigate this space, since it simply looks like a driveway and entrance to the building. Since there are no benches, I stood along the walkway. However, this was not an enjoyable experience. On my leisure, I would not come to 900 Park Avenue. The cars coming in and out of the driveway obstructed my view of the flowers, and sometimes the sculpture as well. There is no clear distinction of where you can and can not go. I would have preferred to stand closer to the door, but it is where the doormen and residents appeared to be waiting for cars. As I was walking around, I felt like the doormen and residents inside the building were watching me. However, due to the very dark glass, I was not able to see inside.
The sculpture in front of the building, and the cleanliness are the two best features of this POPs. The space appears to be very well kept. The sculpture, by Manolo Valdes, is a nice way to bring a form of public art into this residential area. The POPs occupants in this space are mostly residents. I felt like I was the only non-resident in this space.