Public Space Programming

NYC’s Public Space Programming initiative brings free activities to public spaces, such as plazas and Open Streets. This program connects public spaces citywide with local organizations that host activities. All activations are free and open to New Yorkers of all ages and abilities.

Programming brings arts, culture, fitness, and educational experiences to neighborhoods in need. These activities also promote the positive use of public space. This program is focused on supporting neighborhoods in NYC DOT Priority Investment and Public Space Priority Areas, as identified in the NYC Streets Plan.

A colorful drag queen reads a story to children seated in a semi-circle on an Open Street in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Drag Queen Story Hour at 5th Avenue in Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Public Space Programming Request for Proposals

The Public Space Programming Request for Proposals is now closed.

NYC DOT held multiple virtual info sessions for organizations interested in applying to NYC DOT’s Public Space Programming RFP.View a recording of the virtual RFP Info Session held on January 13, 2022

Successful respondents will be placed on the Public Space Programming List and may be called upon to provide activities to a wide variety of public spaces throughout the city. All activities are free and open to New Yorkers of all ages and abilities.

Ten Blazilian drummers wearing white shirts and beating different sized drums perform on a stage as part of the Open Boulevards Performance Series.
Mambembe performs as part of Open Boulevards on the Columbus Avenue Open Street, Manhattan

Eligible Programming Categories Include:

Arts and Culture

  • Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, those that engage in some type of performance, such as dance, theater, singing, etc.
  • Activities may also provide lessons, such as teaching individuals how to dance, sing, etc.

Active and Healthy Living

  • Includes exercise classes, meditation, learn-to-ride or bike safety classes, education or outreach related to bike maintenance/storage, demonstrations, and other activations consistent with promoting a healthy and active lifestyle

Learning and Educational Activities

  • Programs that teach science, literature, design, mathematics, social studies, geography, or the environment

Crafts and Design

  • Activities that engage individuals of all ages and abilities to be creative
  • May include a learning or outreach component, such as highlighting the design field

Public Space Programming primarily serves NYC DOT’s Open Streets and Plaza Programs. Programming may also be provided to other NYC DOT owned property. This program does not provide services to locations that are not on NYC DOT property (i.e. parks, private spaces, etc.). Acceptance to the Public Space Programming List does not guarantee that funding will be provided. This RFP is for temporary, event-based programming. Long-term or temporary art installations will not be considered for this program. For more information on the NYC DOT Art Program and opportunities for exhibiting artwork on NYC DOT property, please visit www.nyc.gov/dotart.

Plaza and Open Streets partners may email programming@dot.nyc.gov to learn more about hosting activities.

Programming Events in 2021

NYC DOT teamed up with several City agencies, cultural organizations, and non-profit institutions to produce over 274 events in 2021. The goal of this partnership was to provide free public activities to the 33 neighborhoods hardest hit by COVD-19 identified in Mayor de Blasio’s State of the City Address.

Sign up for our Public Spaces newsletter to learn about upcoming events

Mobile Unit’s Summer of Joy

A box truck is used as the backdrop for a performance in a public plaza while several audience members seated in pink chairs watch.
Mobile Unit’s Summer of Joy premiered in Astor Plaza, Manhattan

The Public Theater Mobile Unit’s Summer of Joy was a pop-up experience that toured plazas and Open Streets throughout August 2021. Performances included the National Black Theater’s Stage for Healing and Resilience, Verses @ Work – The Abridged Mix, and Shakespeare: Call and Response. Learn more about the Public Theater’s Mobile Unit’s Summer of Joy

Flatbed Follies

Two people juggle brightly colored clubs on a flatbed stage in a plaza.
Flatbed Follies at Plaza de las Americas, Manhattan

The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus’ Flatbed Follies is an innovative travelling circus. They provide variety arts and amazing acts to neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19. Events are produced in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Learn more about the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Turn Out Queens!

Two dancers in traditional Mexican garments dance for people gathered at Corona Plaza in Queens.
Calpulli Mexican Dance performs as part of Turn Out Queens! In Corona Plaza, Queens

This past summer NYC DOT partnered with Queens Theater to host Latino Cultural events. All events took place in Corona Plaza and featured a variety of Latin music, dance and theatrical performances. Visit Queens Theater for information about these special events

100 Activations for NYC! – Partnership with Street Lab

A pop up library on an Open Street is surrounded by yellow and white seating elements. Several passerby of varying ages stop to check out the books.
Street Lab’s pop up library at 5th Avenue Sunset Park, Brooklyn

In partnership with Street Lab, NYC DOT brought over 100 activations to the 33 NYC neighborhoods hardest hit by COVID-19. Street Lab’s pop up learning environments provide vital educational, cultural, and healthy living services to New Yorkers. Visit Street Lab for a calendar of upcoming events

Green / Arts Live NYC

Three musicians play wind instruments on a fall day in a plaza.
A trio of musicians plays at Myrtle Wyckoff Plaza, Queens/Brooklyn

NYC DOT partnered with the City Parks Foundation, Open CultureWORKS, Street Lab, and The Horticultural Society of New York to support arts and cultural activities in public plazas and neighborhood parks through the Green / Arts Live NYC program. Through this partnership we funded 45 grantees to produce a broad range of cultural activities and workshops in neighborhood public spaces. This project also had support from the New York Community Trust, and Con Edison’s Arts Alfresco Series. Learn more about Green / Arts Live NYC

Public Space Programming List

Cover of the Public Space Programming List featuring a solo performer on a stage in front of an audience of adults an children.

This catalog includes a list of non-profit organizations available to provide programming in NYC DOT managed public spaces. All activities on the list are free of charge and suitable for New Yorkers of all ages and abilities.

Public Space Programming List – Coming Soon!