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Handy new map shows all of NYC’s privately-owned public spaces

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The city has over 550 POPS but most people are unaware of their locations or existence

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In recent years, NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer has put out consecutive reports that showed a lack of access to the city’s privately-owned public spaces (POPS). Stringer called on the city agencies to do more to ensure public access to these spaces. Now a year on from those reports, the Department of City Planning has published a comprehensive map that identifies the over 550 POPS spread throughout the city (but largely located in Manhattan).

The map not only identifies the location of the POPS but also offers up a bunch of helpful information about each location. Each POPS location on the map will tell you about its size, the hours of access, the particular amenities offered at that site, and information on the architect of the space. You can also identify POPS within each community board.

POPS came about as a result of several zoning resolutions in the 1960s. In order to build taller or bulkier buildings, developers offered the public open space and greenery in parts of the city that had dense development. While the city is home to hundreds of POPS, most people are unaware of their existence or location, and in many cases buildings were found to be in violation of the POPS laws, and restrict access to the public. This map will attempt to change the status quo.

“Tucked away in our busiest and densest business districts, privately owned public spaces, or POPS, are places to sit and relax, eat lunch and people watch,” said DCP director Marisa Lago, in a statement. “Whether near your office, a hospital or home, these indoor and outdoor spaces provide a respite from our bustling city. The POPS map is intended to take the mystery out of their location and function.”