Treading Lightly: Touring the Privately Owned Public Spaces of Midtown

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Before sitting down to write this week’s story on privately owned public spaces, or POPS, The Observer took a stroll from NYO HQ across town to check in on some of the POPS in the city. (We were not as ambitious as The New Yorker, which managed to trek all the way to 59th Street without crossing any avenues).

It was late in the evening, and so many of the lobbies were already closed—something that has already seemed against the idea of public space, but we guess they shut down Central, Prospect and Tompkins Square parks, too. Just not at 6 o’clock, when people are still heading home. One bright spot, literally, was the Park Avenue Plaza, where a number of chess games were still underway beneath the fluorescent lights. They have piano at lunch, too.

There is no way we could have visited, let alone photographed every POPS in Midtown—there are over a hundred—but it was fun just to wonder and play spot-the-POPS. See how many you recognize, and maybe change your perspective on the city a little.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

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