Summer installations of the Uni in New York start soon, and we’ve got some great new partnerships and locations. Watch our Find the Uni page for the latest details.

In locating the Uni, we look for neighborhoods actively looking to improve their public spaces. And we look for street-level locations in those communities where people already gather. Often, markets are a part of the mix.

In preparation for the 2012 season, we stopped by one of our favorite markets—the place we chose to launch the Uni for the first time back in 2011—New Amsterdam Market in Lower Manhattan. Founder Robert LaValva was roaming the stalls, and he pulled me out of the crowd for an invigorating conversation about his ongoing work. We aim to support him by returning with the Uni to the market soon.

Check out the mission of New Amsterdam Market. It draws on local history to envision a commercial future for New York that transcends bland, big box trends swamping many American cities:

“New Amsterdam Market is a reinvention of the Public Market, once a prevalent institution in the City of New York.  Revived for our present times and needs, New Amsterdam Market will incubate a new and growing economic sector: small businesses such as butchers, grocers, mongers, and other vendors…

…Our vision is to revive the historic Fulton Fish Market, a priceless public legacy that is owned by the people of New York and whose two market sheds have remained empty and unused since 2005.  By bringing residents back to the Seaport, we are reviving the East River Market District –a rare fragment of our city’s first port and oldest commercial neighborhood– as a thriving, public destination for all New Yorkers.”

And I love the attention to detail. Every visit, I learn something about how I want the Uni to run:

Logo-free signage. Simple, sustainable materials throughout: chalk, wood, steel.

An awareness of location, user habits, and traffic patterns. Here, a sign placed at the nearby bike path.

Ingenuity: a power-free, portable hand washing station. Note foot pump. Outstanding.

Quality on-site storage and hand-powered solutions for moving gear. The Uni hears you.

Visit and support places in New York City like New Amsterdam Market. See you there.