In May, Untapped Cities writer Jake Schabas published an expose on midtown POPS (Privately Owned Public Space) on Streetsblog and announced the city’s initative to put those spaces back into the hands of the public. This initiative is 6 ½ Avenue, a series of midblock crosswalks from 51st Street to 57th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenue. The goal would be to link previously unconnected public spaces and add “clearly-marked pedestrian crossings” and other safety initiatives. Schabas also noted that some of these “public” spaces look so private, even The New York Times was fooled by the arcade in the Parker Meridien Hotel. We thought it was private too.
6 ½ Avenue weaves in and out of buildings, alternatively outdoors and under covered arcades, not unlike the passages of Paris (without the consumerism). 6 ½ Avenue is supposed to have all of the above pedestrian measures on the street (not all are in place yet) but one wonders if more needs to be done within to create a sense of public identity for the spaces, which were originally created as afterthoughts by developers who received height bonuses in exchange. Public art, perhaps, or way finding signs, or unified street furniture. What ideas do you have for 6 ½ Avenue?
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.