City unveils new logo for privately owned public spaces after competition

The winning
The winning “Have a Seat" logo is from an NYC-based graphic designer.  Photo Credit: Knopf

The city has selected a new simple – but inviting – logo to highlight its 550 privately owned public spaces.

“Have a Seat,” which features three empty chairs, beat out more than 600 entries from nearly 60 countries to win the contest. Created by Emma Reed, a New York City-based graphic designer, the winning emblem will be officially unveiled on Monday.

The new logo was made to mark plazas, arcades and other seating areas that are located on private property and available to all pedestrians.

“We challenged folks around the globe to design a logo for New York City’s beloved POPS – and the public responded with amazing creativity,” Marisa Lago, director at the city’s Department of Planning, said in a statement. “There were so many incredible designs that it was hard to choose.  But, the happy, almost-dancing, chairs of this logo bring a smile to your face, and say ‘Welcome!’”

New York City has about 550 privately owned public spaces, including 590 Madison Ave.
New York City has about 550 privately owned public spaces, including 590 Madison Ave. Photo Credit: Corey Sipkin

The contest was sponsored by the city Planning Department, the Municipal Art Society and Advocates for Privately Owned Public Space.

Reed told city officials she was inspired by her own experiences of eating lunch at POPS in lower Manhattan.

Members of the public voted for the new logo, after viewing all entries at a public exhibit or on the website, popslogo.nyc. City officials said they received 17,000 votes.

Those votes, along with the opinions of several experts, narrowed the field to three finalists. Lago made the final decision.

Each of the finalists is set to receive $2,000, with Reed winning an additional $2,000.

Developers construct POPS as part of larger projects, usually in exchange for receiving waivers or approvals for building larger than they would normally be allowed.

These spaces can be located in both outdoor and indoor areas. Some POPS include public bathrooms and food vendors. People are allowed to sit there whether or not they purchase food or a drink.

There have been complaints that many of the current POPS are not clearly marked, even though some are designated with a tree logo.

By the middle of 2021, all POPS in the city must display the new logo along with information such as hours, amenities and that the site is available to the public.

Both the Department of City Planning and the Municipal Art Society have interactive maps of POPS sites across the city.