Saturday, February 27, 2010

Teresa Mira: Activity # 3: Public Vs. Private

For this activity I walked around the area between 25th Street and 16th Street between 1st Avenue and Lexington Avenue. The first day I walked around was on Saturday the 20th from about 4-5pm. It was a very nice day out especially compared to the way the weather has been lately. Since it was so nice out there were a lot of people walking around and generally spending more time outside than they have been because of the weather. One of the first places I noticed was the plaza that’s where 24th Street should be between 1st and 2nd Avenues. It looks as if it is a public space, people hang out there and to my observations there aren’t any signs that say who owns the area. It’s actually really nice looking with circular structures that have stairs going up it so that you can sit on it. It looks as if during the summer and spring it is a very nice place to sit and hang out. The next place I noticed people at was the Starbucks on 23rd Street and 3rd Avenue. There are always a lot of people there and it looks like a place that is both public and private even if it is in fact private. Starbucks is obviously owned by the company making it private, but the way people hang out there it seems public, it’s a gathering space really. It also happens to be one of my favorite places to go. Then as I went down 3rd Avenue I turned down 20th Street toward Irving Place and saw a park, Gramercy Park. This park is unlike most parks you would see. Normally you would think of a park as a nice public area to hang out, this one however is a private park. It seemed pretty empty too, seeing how it was a nice day on a weekend, there were only a few people in there. This park seems to be, to me, almost like a waste because it would get so much more use if it was public. Stuyvesant Square on the other hand that’s on 17th Street between 3rd Avenue and 1st Avenue is a nice public park. There were more people there than in Gramercy Park, but not that many, I guess the winter has that effect on parks. I finally passed another Starbucks on 1st Avenue and 17th Street. This one is pretty much the same as the other Starbucks, a lot of people around, but still it is a private place. The next time I walked around it was Wednesday the 24th around 3:30. Although Wednesday’s weather rather unpleasant and definitely colder, there were a lot of people out and about. I attributed this to the fact that school had recently let out and kids were doing everything to not go back to their homes. The gathering places however aren’t just the places I noticed on the weekends, they were everywhere; the sidewalks as a whole were gathering spaces and of course being the sidewalks public space. Sidewalks themselves seem to be the ultimate and most important both gathering places and public places.

1 comment:

  1. From Alina: People occupy starbucks in a midpoint between private and public. Of course, you can not do everything in Starbucks which you would do in complete privacy but it is a place where you can get intimate to some degree. Even being deeply involved on your laptop is an example of how people in starbucks seek privacy in a technically public environment.