project leader
Christa O
180 Smith Street
City-wide (City-wide)
latest update rss
Thank you message from the project leader!

the project

Do you ever want to take a load off and enjoy your surroundings, but can’t find a place to sit? Is your neighborhood full of cars and trucks, and in need of more open, public spaces for you and your neighbors to hang out?

NYC has begun to install pop-up cafés to solve this problem, and they are awesome!  Usually installed in reclaimed parking spaces on city streets, pop-up cafés are an inexpensive and simple way to make our streets safer and more livable.

Streetfilms, the go-to site for online videos promoting livable streets, will produce a short video that shows how pop-up cafés positively impact neighborhoods, businesses, and pedestrian spaces. The video will encourage more pop-up cafés and street reclamation in NYC by enlightening New Yorkers about their benefits. “Discover NYC Pop-Up Cafés” will be a valuable advocacy tool for community members that care about livable streets, and who want to make their neighborhoods even better.

So go ahead! Support this project, then use the video (available Fall 2011) to convince your local coffee shop, bar, bike shop, etc. to install a pop-up café!

Project results:

  • A fun and informative short film about the value of pop-up cafés in NYC
  • Documentation of a simple and inexpensive way to improve pedestrian spaces and open, public space
  • The film will serve as a free and easy way for people to advocate for pop-up cafés in their neighborhoods by sharing it online, at community board meetings, and with local business owners

the steps

Streetfilms will produce a short and fun video documenting the new pop-up cafés that are being installed throughout NYC. The 5 to 10 minute film will show the positive impact and enjoyment that pop-up cafés bring to neighborhoods, businesses, and pedestrians.  The film will feature interviews with pop-up café users, artists who designed them, business owners who installed them, NYC Department of Transportation (DOT) officials, and advocates for more pop-up cafés.  Our small and efficient crew will film for one week, edit and distribute it in Fall 2011. The film will be distributed widely for free on, and through Facebook, Twitter, and Vimeo. Streetfilms will also host a community screening where people can come learn more about the value of pop-up cafés. 

why we're doing it

New York City continues to grow and the increased density of the city means we need to re-examine how we partition our street space for pedestrians, bikes, cars and transit.  Cars take up far too much space in the current equation, and leave pedestrians scrambling for space on our neighborhood sidewalks.  Pop-up cafés are an inexpensive and easy solution to this problem—they help provide more space for pedestrians by reclaiming only one or two parking spots per block. Pop-up cafés, paid for by host local businesses, provide dedicated space for people to sit and have a cup of coffee, meet friends for lunch, or just to rest their weary legs.  NYC is becoming known for our new and fantastic pedestrian plazas like in Times Square, and pop-up cafés allow neighborhoods to create their own pedestrian spaces on a smaller and affordable scale to enrich their communities. Unfortunately, pop-up cafés are sometimes met with resistance because people are afraid removing one or two parking spaces on a block will have negative impacts. “Discover NYC Pop-Up Cafés” will help get the message out that we need to keep improving pedestrian spaces in NYC to create a better, safer and more livable city.


$2,500 – Salary and benefits for our small, experienced and extremely efficient film crew to produce one short film. Includes pre-production, filming, and post-production costs. Streetfilms makes all films using sustainable transport: walking, biking and public transportation. $300 – Indirect costs including accounting, space, Internet expense, and related basic support related to Streetfilms. $175 – Supplies related to film production. Includes printing, postage/delivery, and miscellaneous expenses. $25 – Mini DV tapes Project total = $3000 ioby fee = $240


Thank you message from the project leader!

Check out this Pop Up Cafe (aka not a parking space)!

Check out this post from Streetsblog NYC A Day in the LIfe of a Pop-Up Cafe. You can see how many neighbors come together in this easy, pop-up environment. Not a bad use of a parking space!

Update from Streetfilms


The weather's cooling off and the days are getting shorter.  

Donate now so we can document pop cafes in all their autumnal glory!


And in the meantime, check out these great articles about Pop Up Cafes in NYC:


And check out this ioby profile about Streetfilms Director, Clarence Eckerson, Jr.:



This is where photos will go once we build flickr integration


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