Saturday, October 31, 2009

Who Needs a Designer When You Have Common Sense?

Gotta love Luigi's Pizza, a Pratt student favorite. The city put a big planter/bollard in front of their shop. So what did they do? They put a sheet of plastic on top and called it a table. It ain't pretty but it works!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The nice guys from Calexico let me "install" a Fire Hydrantable next to both of their food carts in Soho. This one was up for only 1 hour before it was whisked away by a man in a sailor's hat. I will take it as a compliment and let me know if you see it around!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009


Pop Up #4: the biggest pop up lunch event yet. We staged it on the sidewalk outside of the LentSpace park on Canal & Varick, which seemed appropriate as it is a "pop up" place itself. (

About 15 of us gathered to enjoy pizza on the lovely streets of lower manhattan. The fire hydrantables, lunch ledges, and a new arrival - a trash can table - were out in full force. It was a great showing unfortunately, the weather turned crap really quickly and it was COLD! On the bright side, we got some good footage, thanks to Kevin Chapados. Can't thank him enough. I will upload as soon as I can...


I am developing a portable street seat as part of my thesis, so I took note when I saw this couple sitting on the sidewalk on Broadway. They were pretty cool - told it to me straight out: no, they don't really need a seat, or at least they wouldn't carry one around with them.

Granted, not everyone is comfortable sitting on the bare NYC asphalt but it is times like this when I question what I am doing...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

POP UP #3: Reporting Back

So, I went to 6th ave and 12th to meet my friend Lys for Pop Up Lunch #3, involving the aforementioned fire hydrantable. The purpose of the event was to get people's reactions to the fire hydrantable, and to see if they wouldn't be willing to try eating a tasty sandwich at it.

In preparation for the event, I made 9 peanut butter and fluff sandwiches on Wonder Bread, cut into the shape of pentagons (in going with the Pop Up Lunch schematic) to lure in hungry pedestrians. I made business cards linking to the website. I even bought a flower to create some atmosphere.

To be honest - I think we turned people off a little bit with the tasty sandwiches. The upside is that it was clear that people were taken with the fire hydrantable. People were doing double and triple takes as they passed us, smiling, and several said "that's a good idea". So, in the spirit of turning lemons into limoncello - the experience was a success in part.

After getting the bad juju vibe from 6th Avenue, we continued south and west in search of coffee and perhaps a few firemen to try out our new fire hydrantable. No such luck with the firemen, but we did meet a fellow classmate and then a group of New Yorkers who really loved the concept of a fire hydrantable. I happened to have a lunch ledge on hand, so I pulled that out too and I swear to you, they nearly applauded.

Takeaways: pop up street ware is a great concept. Continue to develop prototypes and try them out with people who are actually trying to eat on the street or are at points of food. Lastly, leave the free sandwiches at home, even if they are adorable, delicious and pentagon-shaped.

POP UP #3: Fire Hydrantable

Ok folks, the time has come to test out the fire hydrantable idea. Now remember, this is just a rough prototype, just like the lunch ledge, I just want to see how people like the idea of being able to easily transform a fire hydrant into a table. To Manhattan I go....

PS - for all of you design buffs out there, that classy cup you see was designed by Marc Newson for Qantas airlines.


Found this bit in Florence Fabricant's section in the Dining Out section of the Times today. Can't wait to check it out:

An argument for Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s Broadway seating areas can be found from 24th to 25th Streets across Fifth Avenue from Madison Square Park. A collection of temporary food stalls has been set up to complement clothing and accessory kiosks along the western side of the park. Having chairs and tables makes lunches or snacks of freshly cooked food, with cider, wine or beer, all the more enjoyable.

NOSH AROUND THE WORLD Sample Southeast Asia (Fatty Crab sliders, sausages, satays), Mexico (Cabrito tacos), France (Suzette sweet and savory crepes), Belgium (Wafels & Dinges), Denmark (Viking meatballs and ebelskivers), Texas (Hill Country barbecue), the Hudson Valley (Breezy Hill Orchards cider and doughnuts) and the East Village (Butter Lane cupcakes).

The food and drinks are $3 to $8 a portion. The stalls are open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Nov. 1. On Nov. 22, some will move to Union Square.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


October 9, 2009. Brooklyn Heights. Sometime between breakfast and lunch.

These two guys are brothers. They were willing to try my lunch ledge but they worried about bird poo if the ledges were going to be a permanent fixture in the neighb.


Title: Two Strangers Brought Together, Over Lunch Ledges.
When: October 9, 2009, lunchtime.

I picked up person A, on the left, in a SoHo pop up store (it only seemed fitting). He was visiting from Minneapolis and just happened to have just bought his lunch. He agreed to participate in the lunch shelf experience and liked it so much he started to get religious on me.

Person B was innocently sitting on a bench eating her pizza when I corralled her over. She was a willing participant but I am not sure if the lunch ledges rocked her world as much as I had hoped.


Friday, October 9th. Lunchtime! Corner of Bleeker and Carmine.

Put 3 former co-workers, soup from Grey Dog and 2 strangers around a lamp post and see what happens! It's like Real World, except its real.

Surprisingly, the ex-coworkers and the strangers all loved the shelves. They said they wouldn't eat lunch on them by themselves but that they really enjoyed eating off of them and being out on the street. One draw back is that you see the pole more than the person across from you. But you do end up talking to people on the street around you. It's a trade off.

The folks at Trattoria Spaghetti on the corner couldn't help but share their admiration. Now if we could only do something about those open container laws...

More photos at:

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009


The setting: Calexico Food Cart, Broome and Broadway. October 8, 2009. Roughly 12:50-1:40pm.

For the first pop up lunch event, a gang of Pratt students helped me to test out my "lunch ledge" idea. I made four rough prototypes from pieces of wood studded with super-strong magnet-embedded posts. To add a little flair, I covered the pieces in contact paper and hot pink and orange artist tape (thank you Pearl Paint).

Overall, the ledges worked really well and thanks to Lys, they served as great conversation starters. People liked them, saying they looked like "street art" and that they seemed really useful what with the lack of tables and chairs on the street. For the most part, the ledges served as great burrito holders, though they were a little precarious. The magnets were a lot of fun (there sure are lots of places to stick these things in the city!), but there are stability issues that I'll have to resolve in the next round development.

Just putting the "fun" back in function - go ID! A big thanks to Dave, Lys, Rikki and Evan.

Check out more photos at:

Sunday, October 4, 2009


My first magnetic lunch shelf is up and running with full cup of coffee from Choice safely supported. Success!