Channeling scofflaw Trump, land use chair says it’s time to make public spaces great again

City Council introduces bill to provide more oversight on publicly owned private zones
June 30, 2016 03:00PM

The Atrium next to 60 Wall Street

The Atrium next to 60 Wall Street

Amid backlash over the (metaphorical) wall Donald Trump has built around the public atrium at Trump Tower, the City Council proposed a bill that would provide further oversight over the city’s publicly owned private spaces.

The move comes after the Council approved a proposal to allow landlords on Water Street to convert the spaces – known as POPS – into retail use, sparking a larger debate about how the public amenities are treated.

“The bottom line is, folks, we have a real problem here. We have permitted the construction of millions of square feet across the city, but we’re not sure if the public is getting their end of the bargain,” City Councilman David Greenfield, chair of the land use committee, said at a hearing.

Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, removed a bench inside the atrium at Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in order to make way for campaign kiosks selling “Make America Great Again” hats and “The Apprentice” box sets, according to Gothamist.

The Donald’s company, Trump International Realty, was twice fined $4,000 for the infraction, then another $10,000 when representatives failed to show up at a Department of Buildings hearing.

The Council bill, backed by members Ben Kallos and Donovan Richards, would require the Department of City Planning to create a map of the spaces and report twice a year on the status of each POPS. It would also mandate the DOB to report annually on complaints and violations.

“Perhaps this is the one and only blessing in what the Trump campaign has focused our attention on. It’s time to make POPS great again,” Greenfield added. “Part of this discussion is the dramatic flouting of the rules at Trump Tower. But to be fair, Trump Tower is one of many.” [Gothamist]Rich Bockmann