Special Initiatives

Streets Alive for Small Business

​In 2022, Street Lab is launching a special initiative to help support NYC small businesses made possible by a grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). We’ll offer some of our best pop-up programs at Open Streets on commercial corridors in low to moderate-income neighborhoods, creating a way for New Yorkers to come together and re-discover small businesses nearby. We’ll also create equipment libraries for local organizations and launch a Design Lab for Open Streets. Learn more here.

Supporting New Public Spaces

In 2022, Street Lab is working with the NYC Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and communities in the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn to create new Open Streets, plazas, and other public spaces in areas of the city that lack these amenities. To help these spaces succeed, we’re offering free, ongoing programming and extensive support with logistics, outreach, and community engagement.Learn more here.

Street Lab Teens

Street Lab Teens offers New York City youth a chance to support and shape Street Lab’s mission of bringing community-oriented programming to neighborhood public spaces across New York City. Working closely with Street Lab staff, the team helps develop and lead select Street Lab programs, all of which take place outdoors and have been re-designed for COVID. Learn more here.

Pop-up Programs by Cargo Bike

To reduce our carbon footprint, in 2022 we’re delivering some of our pop-up programs to locations by cargo bike, starting with locations in Chinatown, Harlem, and the South Bronx. Keep an eye out for more to come!

Learning Hubs

As part of our COVID response, we launched pop-up, open-air meeting places for NYC students. At Learning Hubs, students of all ages can meet up with classmates, find a book to read, and do homework together, all while staying safe, socially-distanced, and outdoors. Our staff and volunteers will be on-hand to offer help. Learn more here.

Street Lab Artist Partnerships

During COVID, we’ve expanded our partnerships with NYC artists and musicians and developed new ways to connect them to audiences in a safe, open-air setting. Visual artists, classical and jazz musicians, and more—all on the streets of NYC. Now featuring street exhibitions by NYC Artist Corps Grant recipients. Learn more here.

Inside Out

During COVID, we’ve expanded our partnerships with NYC arts and cultural institutions to bring programming out from behind walls into a safe, open-air setting. Queens Museum, The Drawing Center, SoHo Memory Project, and most recently the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs New York City Artist Corps. Thanks to NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund at the New York Community Trust for initial support. Learn more here.

Past Initiatives

100 Activations for NYC

In the second half of 2021, Street Lab added more than one hundred new activations on the streets of NYC to support neighborhoods hit hard by COVID. Activations featured Street Lab’s signature programs as well as Street Lab Teens leading community chalk murals and partnerships with artists and other cultural groups. We are committed to using challenging moments like these to activate public space in ways that include, connect, and lift up every New Yorker. Learn more here.

In 2021, in support of the city’s recovery efforts, Street Lab created open-air street venues for sharing the work of hundreds of NYC artists who were recipients of City Artist Corps Grants. The City Artist Corps was a $25 million recovery initiative intended to support NYC-based working artists who were disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Over 3000 artists received grants, and Street Lab provided them with places to exhibit their work and also engage with the public.

The Uni Project

When we launched a portable reading room called the Uni in 2011, we understood the impact it could could have for kids in low-income neighborhoods who are at risk for “summer slide” and achievement gaps. Thus began our work to transform the street-level environment of the neediest NYC streets with pop-up reading rooms, drawing studios, and more. All of that work continues today and is embedded in the ongoing work of Street Lab, where a majority of our work serves mid to low-income communities. Learn more about the Uni Project here.