The New York City Department of Transportation has been partnering with local restaurants to install pop-up cafés in parking spaces for the last two years now, creating vibrant public spaces that the whole community can enjoy. These spaces, active during warmer weather, can be installed with a minimal amount of time and money (a strategy that echoes PPS’s Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper approach).
Establishments that apply to participate in the program have to meet design guidelines, but can spend as much or as little money as they want (cost has averaged at $10,000). The spaces must be maintained by the sponsoring restaurant and are open to all members of the public, regardless of whether or not they buy anything.
Take a look at the little time-lapse video below from the NYC DOT that shows a day in the life of one such pop-up café, on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. The founding spirit behind our work here at PPS, William “Holly” Whyte, would surely have enjoyed observing the social life of this small urban space.