Stories

Rate New York City’s privately owned public spaces

In collaboration with WNYC, The New York World has mapped the city's plazas and arcades — and invites you to help us survey conditions

WNYC and The New York World are collaborating on a project to map and report on New York City’s privately owned public spaces, aka POPS, to figure out how public these public spaces are. Through zoning incentives, New York’s city planners have encouraged private builders to include public spaces in their developments. Many are in active public use, but others are hard to find, under heavy surveillance, or essentially inaccessible.

With the Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti Park drawing attention to the regulations and usage of these spaces, we want you to tell us about the POPS in your life. Whether it’s parks, plazas, atriums or fountains, find all of NYC’s POPS on the map below, then use the form to report on your experience.

Here’s How — Deadline for Submissions is November 9th!

1) Find your space on the map below. You can zoom in to different parts of the city, and click on a particular space to see information such as the owner, the boundaries, and the total area.

2) In the pop-up menu you’ll also see a Site ID – a unique ID we’ve assigned to each space.

3) If you want to report on a particular space, enter the shortcode in the form below and tell us about your experience!

If you’re on Twitter, you can tweet photos with the hashtag #privatepublic and the name or site ID code for your location.


The submissions for this project are now closed but please read our reporting on what we found.

This map pulls data from the New York City Department of City Planning Privately Owned Public Spaces dataset, available through the NYC OpenData website. The file was last updated on August 5, 2009 and we have verified the data as best we can, but some information may be incomplete. The total number of publicly owned private spaces is over 500 but the map displays only 391 entries because multiple spaces exist at some addresses. If any aren’t showing up properly, feel free to let us know in the comments.