“This Executive Order means that hundreds of gracious open spaces that dot our busy commercial districts and our waterfront are now available to help New Yorkers physically distance as we get back to work. The order also means that our local eating, drinking and retail establishments can temporarily expand into these spaces – all of which were created for the public’s enjoyment by our zoning rules,” Director Lago said.
Provisions for the Mayor’s Executive Order on Privately Owned Public Spaces – or POPS:
POPS are public spaces that are owned and maintained by private property owners pursuant to various zoning regulations. First introduced in the 1960s, the nearly 600 POPS that exist today provide opportunities to sit, relax, people watch, eat, meet others – in other words, to partake in and enjoy urban life. Coming in all shapes and sizes, these spaces are aimed at ensuring that the busiest areas of New York City offer indoor and outdoor atriums, plazas and walkways to the public.
Temporary uses that will be allowed within POPS via the Mayor’s Executive Order include dining areas, health screening stations, bikeshare docks, kiosks, retail stands and space for New Yorkers to line up safely to enter adjacent buildings.
An interactive map of all POPS is available here.
In order to add any of the temporary uses outlined by the Executive Order, POPS owners must submit a description and site plan that details their changes to POPSCOVID_DL@planning.nyc.gov.
Outdoor and open-air POPS must remain open to the public during their approved hours of access. While indoor POPS can be closed, access to subway stations, through-block connections and sole connection to a lawfully operating business must be maintained. Outdoor POPS will be able to separate or close off some seating to promote distancing.
Once the Executive Order is lifted, all uses that it temporarily allowed must be removed from the POPS.
Provisions for the Mayor’s Executive Order on Waterfront Public Access Areas – or WPAAs:
WPAAs offer public open space where New Yorkers can connect with and enjoy their shoreline. First introduced through the 1993 waterfront zoning text, these publicly accessible spaces are required by zoning for waterfront sites. The public areas must be improved with landscaping and trees, seating and other amenities. WPAAs can also include walkways, green spaces or other improved spaces for public use.
Temporary uses that will be allowed within the City’s nearly 40 WPAAs via the Mayor’s Executive Order include outdoor dining areas, retail stands and shade structures.
An interactive map of WPAAs is available here.
In order to add any of the temporary uses outlined by the Executive Order, business owners using WPAAs should send a basic site plan and description of the proposed changes to WPAA@planning.nyc.gov.
Once the Executive Order is lifted, all uses and modifications that it temporarily allowed must be removed from WPAAs.
Department of City Planning
The Department of City Planning (DCP) plans for the strategic growth and development of the City through ground-up planning with communities, the development of land use policies and zoning regulations applicable citywide, and its contribution to the preparation of the City’s 10-year Capital Strategy. DCP promotes housing production and affordability, fosters economic development and coordinated investments in infrastructure and services, and supports resilient, sustainable communities across the five boroughs for a more equitable New York City.
In addition, DCP supports the City Planning Commission in its annual review of approximately 450 land use applications for a variety of discretionary approvals. The Department also assists both government agencies and the public by advising on strategic and capital planning and providing policy analysis, technical assistance and data relating to housing, transportation, community facilities, demography, zoning, urban design, waterfront areas and public open space.