Who Knew? An interactive map of privately owned public spaces

The city is opening up rules for outdoor POPS — privately owned public spaces — so that restaurants, bars and shops can temporarily expand into adjacent spaces. This seems like a great solution — maybe better than putting tables in the street — and finally might mean that these zoning bonuses are put to some sort of good use for the public, rather than just the giveaway that they usually are.

I generally hate to see private use of public spaces. But in my mind, this is even better than a sidewalk cafe and these public spaces are almost always underutilized and unattractive. Now that we can drink in them, it’s given them a little more appeal. You can see the map here if you want to use it as a new picnic area list (keeping in mind that only the outdoor POPS are open right now.)

But the catch is the adjacent rule. For instance, I would LOVE to see something actually happen in the bonus plaza at the foot of 105 Duane — the useless and unpopular space on the north side between Broadway and Trimble Place — but what restaurant or bar is adjacent to it? Could Tribeca’s Kitchen get a waiver?

Now if Oneseed was open and ready to go, by my reading of the mayor’s executive order, they could take 20 percent of the new plaza at 111 Murray. Or get the Dead Rabbit to set up outdoors at 115 Broad…

By the way this is the same executive order that made street sweeping only once a week, and it also permitted the public dining areas in Hudson River Park for both City Vineyard and the Grand Banks.



  1. I’m unclear what space you mean when you say “the useless and unpopular space on the north side” of 105 Duane. I’ve lived in that building for 16 yrs and I face the north side. Since the shutdown, we’ve had quiet most days & nights (except for construction) which wasn’t the case before. I do voiceover work so that has meant I’ve been able to work from home (while recording studios are closed). If that became outdoor restaurants, the noise levels would affect those of us who have no choice but to work from home now. Every decision has a knock-on effect. Something that improves things for one business can adversely affect others. Just something to consider.

    • I mean that no one is ever in it and the neighborhood got a taller building in exchange for something that seems to have very little use for the public. Not a good deal, IMO. If you face north, I doubt you would hear anything in the plaza? But you are right that the curbside dining has created more street noise overall, as do all sidewalk cafes in the summer.

      • Then you mean the open plaza to the southwest of the building, not the north. In normal, non-Covid times, that plaza often gets used by employees in the area on their lunch breaks. With many businesses shut, I have not seen as many, though some construction workers still use it. I have seen some folks meet for socially distanced happy hours. Some people use the benches and/or cement planters for outdoor workouts too. There’s a woman who hula hoops. There are several folks I see there daily, just enjoying fresh air, or reading books. Some are residents of the building, some not. Obviously, foot traffic is down now too.

        If you are interested in poor public space/tall building exchanges, look a block further north at the AT&T building. That plaza is much bigger and even more rarely used. And though I would personally not enjoy the increase of sound, that seems like an ideal space for outdoor dining right now. It’s big enough to set up an outdoor serving area and allow for truly socially distanced dining.

  2. while we are on the subject of “pops,” is the courtyard of 240 greenwich street going to be opened to the public? that interior “pop” has been illegally closed by bny for decades.