New York is a city of many different publics; every park, every street, every traffic island is home to myriad overlapping communities, each with their own interests, customs, and needs. The mixing of people from every imaginable walk of life is what gives this city’s public realm its incomparable energy. It is New Yorkers, in short, who make New York, New York.

Whenever a new public space is created, or an existing space re-designed, architects must consider a broad range of competing demands that people will put on the completed project. The process of creating a great public space in this city is one of setting the stage for the greatest show on earth: the “street ballet” of daily life in New York City.

During this year’s NYCxDESIGN—New York City’s official citywide celebration of design—Open House New York, the Times Square Alliance / Times Square Arts, and Brooklyn Bridge Park will give New Yorkers the chance to take a closer look at how architects and designers respond to the distinct design challenges and opportunities presented by the city’s singularly robust public realm.

First, OHNY members will get a sneak peek at the newest sections of two of the city’s most intensely used public spaces through OHNY Previews tours of the Times Square Plazas (May 14th) and the Main and John Street sections of Brooklyn Bridge Park (May 18th).

Then, on Tuesday, May 19th, the public is invited to a panel discussion at the Cooper Union’s Rose Auditorium, where public space managers and architects from both projects will discuss the process by which they work together to create public spaces that are flexible, dynamic, and able to support the immense diversity of people and activities that animate them every day.



Program Schedule


OHNY Preview: Times Square Plazas

Thursday, May 14 / 4:30 PM

Explore the new Times Square Plazas with Times Square Alliance VP of Planning, Policy, & Research Ellen Goldstein and Snøhetta principal Claire Fellman. Get the inside story on how one of the most heavily trafficked spots on the planet is being re-imagined to create more space for public life, and learn about how the project team has worked to ensure that the new plazas will enhance the area’s already legendary street life. You must be an OHNY Member to reserve tickets for this tour. Reservations go live at 10 AM on April 30th!


OHNY Preview: Brooklyn Bridge Park/Main & John Street Sections

Monday, May 18 / 5:00 PM and 6:30 PM

Go behind the construction fence at Brooklyn Bridge Park on a hard hat tour with BBP President Regina Myer and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. principal Matt Urbanski to explore the park’s newest sections, set to open later this year. Learn how MVVA and BBP have collaborated to reposition Brooklyn’s waterfront as a destination with an incredible mix of activities and flexible spaces, and get a peek at new features including a tidal salt marsh and a bouldering wall. You must be an OHNY Member to reserve tickets for this tour. Reservations go live at 10 AM on May 4th!


Setting the Stage: A Discussion on the Design of Shared Spaces for Public Life

Tuesday, May 19 / 6:30 PM
Cooper Union, Rose Auditorium
41 Cooper Square

Join us for a discussion about public space design in contemporary New York City. Creating spaces intended to serve so many different communities at once is a tall order; hear from the people working on some of the most heavily used destinations in the city about how they’re tackling the challenge. With panelists Claire Fellman, principal, Snøhetta; Regina Myer, president, Brooklyn Bridge Park; Tim Tompkins, president, Times Square Alliance; Matt Urbanski, principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc.; and moderator Katie Dixon, OHNY Board Member. This event is open to the general public. Click here to register now!


This series is organized by Open House New York in partnership with:

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