By Ryan Velez
Pix 11 reports that a recent audit of New York buildings show that just about every building has failed to give full access to public space on its premises. Of course, one of the biggest names on that list is Trump Tower,
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer made that declaration on Tuesday, half a year after his office found out that a large percentage of private developers had fallen short of agreements they'd made with the city which allowed them to build higher and more dense buildings than applicable zone regulations allow. In exchange for that privilege, developers were required to include privately owned public space, or POPS, on the developed property.
"Only the rich and powerful got the good part of the deal and the public is being swept away," Comptroller Stringer said in an exclusive interview with PIX11 News. Other buildings of note include the BNY Mellon Building at 101 Barclay Street in Lower Manhattan.
Its towering atrium, which is a POPS, has signs prominently displayed at its entrances: "This lobby is the private property of BNY Mellon and is intended for use by BNY Mellon's employees and invited guests. All other persons are not permitted and must leave upon request."
At Trump Tower, according to the comptroller, a public seating area is blocked off with a metal barricade, 16 of the 21 outdoor tables were also fenced off, the fountain was not working and several required signs were not on display.
"You can talk about Trump all you want," Stringer said, "but if he's getting away with this deal, and everyone else is getting away with this deal, then what was the point of making the deal in the first place?" However, this may not necessarily reflect on the president.
“The Buildings Department is totally asleep at the switch,” the comptroller told PIX11 News. “They're not enforcing the agreement. They're not enforcing the law. Shame on them.”
For its part, the Department of Buildings issued a statement on Tuesday:
"We agree with many of the audit’s recommendations and will be conducting regular inspections of all POPS in the city.” Hopefully, they will be able to put something into action and fix this apparently widespread issue.