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Vote on the next logo for the city’s privately owned public spaces

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Some 600 designs were submitted from more than 50 countries

The former Citigroup Center at 601 Lexington Avenue, which has a POPS with a cafe and other amenities.
Max Touhey

New Yorkers have a chance to make their mark on the city’s privately owned public spaces (POPS) and cast their vote on the more than 600 logo design submissions aimed at making the pedestrian plazas instantly recognizable.

Designs from more than 50 countries poured into the Department of City Planning’s (DCP) competition to reimagine signage that signals to New Yorkers and tourists alike that certain lobbies, atriums, and green spaces are accessible to the public. Those spaces often go unmarked or skirt city rules with misleading signage or barriers. The new logo would serve as a clear, identifiable beacon to passersby that they are welcome to some 550 POPS, according to the director of the Department of City Planning.

“We’re looking for a logo that’s instantly recognizable and clearly identifies these delightful indoor and outdoor spaces as open to the public,” said Marisa Lago. “POPS are created for the public, so we’re asking you to help us pick a logo.”

Vote for your favorite submission online starting noon Wednesday—voting will remain open until April 2 at noon. Participants can only cast one vote, so choose wisely. There will also be a chance to physically peruse the submissions at an upcoming public exhibit. A date, time, and location will be announced on the competition’s website.

The three logos with the most votes will be included into a review by a seven-person panel, which along with the public vote, will select three awardees to receive a $2,000 prize. From those, Lago will select one to become the official POPS logo—the winner will receive an additional $2,000. Funding for the competition is provided in part by the design firm Knoll.

Currently, the city boasts 3.8 million square feet of POPs created when developers are granted extra floor area or special waivers for their buildings. Landlords are required to maintain the spaces and must meet certain standards such as providing ample, comfortable seating, incorporating greenery, and ensuring they’re visible to the public. Certain POPS are beside for-profit eateries but patronizing them isn’t necessary to visit those spaces.

Planning officials have worked to raise awareness for POPS with a comprehensive map of their locations throughout the city. The logo competition, launched in partnership with Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space and the Municipal Arts Society, is the latest effort to raise the spaces profile. Both measures are responses to several audits performed by Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office that found an alarming number of POPS surveyed to be noncompliant with city rules.

The Department of Buildings has committed to regularly inspecting POPS throughout the city.