Pop-up culture is ingenious. It turns vacant commercial space or land into productive enterprises. New York City cannot afford to have vacant land or storefronts at any moment so this is a great solution to the inevitable problem.

A pop-up business is outside the box and immediately garners attention. It sends an urgent message, “I’m only here for a limited time. Look at me!” People pay attention when popular food trucks move into an empty lot or a café pops up in a median or a boutique takes home in a recycled shipping container. This is happening all over the city and the country.

The most colorful pop-up award goes to the Dekalb Market in Brooklyn. I happened upon this amazingness earlier in December. It is curiously surrounded by a fence and has a colorful sign enticing you inside. Filled with arts and crafts of all kinds, varieties of foods and Christmas trees packed these fun brightly painted shipping containers. It is a great use of space and a great way to reuse shipping containers. An ultimate green money-making machine. Every bit of it excites me. I want more recycled shipping container spaces. The market will reopen when the snows flies away.

Another very cool place popped up this past summer in Manhattan, Riverpark Farm and adjacent, Riverpark Restaurant took over a construction site in Kips Bay. Plans for the building are still stalled and the farm is continuing to grow throughout the winter. It is producing abundance for the restaurant and filling a void on a perfectly usable working site.  The site will someday become the Alexandria Center for Life Sciences.

The other day, while getting lost in the city, which seems like an endless activity (I highly recommend it!), I walked right past a tiny pop-up, Cubby. This temporary business solves a temporary problem. They store traveler’s luggage. Genius! All New Yorkers should support this business venture. I made the mistake of going to the 34th Street Macy’s. The place is a mad house and one in five people are dragging their luggage behind them. Cubby would do quite well positioned next door to Macy’s. Although Cubby is not just for the traveler, they will store those heavy shopping bags and have them couriered to your front door. Excellent.

Pop-ups provide an opportunity for new businesses to take that next step. They get to try on a space without a huge commitment. New York is swimming with entrepreneurs and artists with a need to throw themselves at the public. Pop-ups are the test run. Pop-up possibilities are endless and New York City is the perfect playground for them.

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