OHNY Preview Series (Setting the Stage)

Open House New York

Setting the Stage
Designing shared spaces for public life

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. 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 2015's NYCxDESIGN—New York City’s official citywide celebration of design—Open House New York, the Times Square Alliance, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park gave New Yorkers the chance to take a closer look at how architects and designers respond to the distinct challenges and opportunities presented by the city’s singularly robust public realm.

Program Schedule

OHNY Preview: Times Square Plazas
Thursday, May 14   |  4:30 PM
People were invited to explore the new Times Square Plazas with Times Square Alliance VP of Planning, Policy, & Research Ellen Goldstein and Snøhetta's Nick Koster. By getting 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, attendees learned about how the project team worked to ensure that the new plazas would enhance the area’s already legendary street life.

OHNY Preview: Brooklyn Bridge Park/Main & John Street Sections
Monday, May 18   |  5:00 PM and 6:30 PM
This event gave New Yorkers access behind the construction fence at Brooklyn Bridge Park on a hard hat tour with BBP President Regina Myer and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates principal Matt Urbanski to get a peek at the park’s newest sections, which openened later that year. Visitors learned how MVVA and BBP collaborated to reposition Brooklyn’s waterfront as a destination with an incredible mix of activities and flexible spaces, and got a peek at new features ranging from a tidal salt marsh to a bouldering wall.

Setting the Stage: A Discussion on the Design of Shared Spaces for Public Life
Tuesday, May 19   |  6:30 PM
Times Square Alliance hosted a discussion about public space design in contemporary New York. Creating spaces intended to serve so many different communities at once is a tall order; this panel included people working on some of the most heavily used destinations in the city and conversation about how they’re tackling the challenge. Panelists: Claire Fellman, principal, Snøhetta; Regina Myer, president, Brooklyn Bridge Park Corp.; Tim Tompkins, president, Times Square Alliance; and Matt Urbanski, principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

Images courtesy of Etienne Frossard and the Times Square Alliance