In 2007, architect Brian Nesin, Director of Friends of POPS, reached out to the West 54-55 Block Association to discuss how the series of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS) between 51st and 57th streets and 6th and 7th Avenues could become a more useful asset.
He and the Association gathered some ideas to find ways to make these public amenities more helpful to the neighborhood. After that, the project was presented to Community Board 5 and then to the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The DOT decided to study how this area could be enhanced and in 2012 6 1/2 Avenue was created from the pedestrian arcades running from 51st Street to 57th Street between 6th and 7th Avenue. It is composed of Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS), and there are official street signs that say 6 ½ Ave with stop signs at every intersection.
The main goal was to create safer connections between these blocks, but also to design and add life to those “lost” spaces. We think of them as small gems of midtown, where one can sit on a bench away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and enjoy lunch while admiring the installations or just relaxing in a small piece of garden.
It is still a work in progress, you could see here at the The Tower at 135 West 52nd Street. As a part of the project, the development team is revamping a block of the hidden thoroughfare. The developers, Chetrit Group and Clipper Equity, hired French lighting designer Thierry Dreyfus, the man responsible for the 423-foot tower’s glowing facade, to create a permanent installation for the pedestrian passageway, which will have landscaping, including a huge green wall and a waterfall, by M. Paul Friedberg & Partners