Streets Alive for Small Business

Activating Open Streets along NYC commercial corridors

Street Lab has launched a special initiative to help make Open Streets on commercial corridors in low/moderate-income neighborhoods across the city come alive, made possible by a grant from the NYC Department of Small Business Services. We’re offering our best pop-up programs to help New Yorkers come together and re-discover businesses nearby. We’re piloting an Equipment Library so groups can borrow our custom-designed pop-up gear to host their own activities. And we’ve launched a Design Lab to prototype new solutions that bring small businesses to the street.


Equipment Library.

Design Lab.


Since April 2022, we’ve provided 40 days of our best programs on commercial Open Streets in six neighborhoods—Sunset Park and Bedford-Stuyvesant (Brooklyn), Harlem (Manhattan), Stapleton (Staten Island), Elmhurst (Queens), and Concourse (Bronx). These pop-ups included chalk murals made by Street Lab Teens and small business snapshots captured by our 2022 Artist-in-Residence, Sanika Phawde. More coming soon!

Providing our best pop-up programs to help New Yorkers come together and discover businesses nearby. 

Equipment Library

A four-month pilot of an Equipment Library for Open Streets along business corridors in 2022 resulted in 41 days of activation by local groups and revealed a strong demand for a shared library of equipment and turn-key programming solutions. We’re applying what we learned to the launch of a new Equipment Library for Public Space in 2023.


Triangle Tables



Design Lab

Street Lab is developing new programs and physical designs for activating streets in commercial districts and drawing more foot traffic to local small businesses.

In our pipeline:

One Big Table

One Big Bench

pop-up cooling station

Modular seating system for streets

Meet a Small Business

pop-up cooling station

Neighborhood Info Kiosk

pop-up cooling station

Pointing the way to nearby small businesses
In development.

Latest news:

Meet a Small Business on Fulton Street

Meet a Small Business on Fulton Street

On Saturday, April 1, Street Lab’s Meet a Small Business program landed on Fulton Street in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, to showcase local businesses in partnership with FAB Fulton. A new Street Lab-designed cart made its debut, stopping in front of three small businesses...

Activating streets to support NYC small businesses

Activating streets to support NYC small businesses

This past Sunday, Street Lab tested two new programs supporting small businesses on the Open Street on East 115th Street in front of La Marqueta—One Big Table, featuring free food samples from market vendors, and Meet a Small Business, featuring a plant-potting...

Made possible by a grant from NYC Dept. of Small Business Services

Additional support from

These Open Streets along commercial corridors offer a historic opportunity to create safe, vibrant public spaces where New Yorkers of all ages can gather in the heart of business districts across the city. Street Lab is excited to partner with community groups, local small businesses, and SBS to offer solutions that build community and strengthens the local economy in these high-need neighborhoods.
—Leslie Davol, Executive Director, Street Lab

When I saw what you created on our street, it was exactly what I dreamed of, but never imagined possible. Somehow you created the dream in my head of what the city can be.”
—David Estrada, Sunset Park Fifth Ave BID