Public spaces

Public space.jpg

The next time you're in NYC (p.s. nobody calls it "NYC"), keep your eyes peeled for these "privately owned public spaces," which you will find everywhere—they exist as plazas, pass-throughs, indoor seating areas, etc.—and which are, as advertised, public spaces embedded in private buildings, "in exchange for additional floor area." Meaning our sad, grimy, proletariat presence buys them more floors (peasants! ick!). I walk through approximately five million of these on my way to work in the morning. Some are okay but this one, as you can see, is what might generously be described as "charm free." That's America!

According to this info page I found on (only .gov calls it "NYC"), these spaces must adhere to the following design principles: 

Open and inviting at the sidewalk

  • Easily seen and read as open to the public
  • Conveys openness through low design elements and generous paths leading into the plaza
  • Visually interesting and contains seating


  • Enhances pedestrian circulation
  • Located at the same elevation as the sidewalk

Provides sense of safety and security 

  • Contains easily accessible paths for ingress and egress
  • Oriented and visually connected to the street
  • Well-lit

Provides places to sit

  • Accommodates a variety of well-designed, comfortable seating for small groups and individuals

p.s. again: there are several of these POPS inside Donald J. Trump buildings, although of course they are very ugly. I sat in one and had coffee once—the ugliest one, on Fifth Avenue—because it was approximately 9º outside and my feet were frozen like fish sticks and I had to pee badly. It was a mistake, I'll admit it, but in my defense it was also 2004.

NYCKari GdailyComment