Atrium-closed-smaller.0.jpgNovember 17, 2011, Occupied Wall Street - The Campaign for the Commons, a working group of the Occupy Wall Street movement, was to meet this evening in the Atrium, at 60 Wall Street, with the topic “Occupy the Digital Commons.”

The Atrium is a magnificent Greek-revival neoclassical structure opened in 1989. It is a “privately owned public space,” which means:

  • The land is owned by a private entity.
  • In return for adding several floors above the allowable height - which block the public’s light, air, and space - the owners agreed to make the ground floor Atrium space available for public use.
  • When the building is torn down - in 10 or 1000 years - the owners can do with the space as the law then allows.

But until then, the owners must abide by these city rules:

  • Arcade: Open 24 hours
  • Covered Pedestrian Space
  • Open 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • May be closed to the public with advanced notice for 6 private and 6 local community not-for-profit organized events per year starting at 2:00 p.m. weekdays or at any time on weekend days

Since September the Atrium has been the de facto meeting headquarters of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Each night several of the movements 80+ working group meetings have been held there. Always in an orderly and respectful manner.

Tonight was to be the first meeting of the Campaign for the Commons working group, focusing on the commons, spaces like streets, parks, waterways, and public areas like the Atrium. The discussion was to center on how to nurture and grow the commons, including New York’s TLD. We’ve contacted Deutsche Bank for an explanation of the closing, and when and under what circumstances they plan its reopening.

The word irony comes to mind with 60 Wall being closed on the night a discussion on governing the commons was scheduled there. (Commons photo of guards in front of the Pine Street entrance to the Atrium, from the Inc. library.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page

NYCwiki.0.JPGNew York, July 16, 2011 - One year ago today a collaborative effort between Wikimedia New York, the Internet Society’s New York Chapter, and Inc. made the available for public editing.

And what a year it has been. Of the city’s 354 neighborhoods 215 have been taken their first steps toward being dotNeighborhoods. Here’s the breakdown by borough:

NYCWiki +1 Year - Progress Report
  Neighborhoods in Borough
dotNeighborhood starts
% starts
Bronx  65  46  61%
Brooklyn  84  47
Manhattan  59 33  55%
Queens  84  76  90%
Staten Island
 62  54  93%

In total, 64% of the city’s neighborhoods have moved forward with Staten Island leading the way with 93% starts. Go Si.

But there’s plenty of work remaining even on the best of the starts. So find your neighborhood and enter what you know. If you want to organize a concerted wikiazation of your ‘hood, let us know and we’ll highlight it on the NYCwiki home page. Harlem is the current Neighborhood of the Month. 

Plans for year 2 include:

  • Running training sessions for those unfamiliar with wiki editing, with the first session at the Langston Hughes Library in East Elmhurst later this summer.
  • Reaching 100% neighborhood starts.
  • Developing plans for adding higher level decision-making and collaboration layers.

With the ICANN having approved a TLD application process, by this time next year we should have a better idea on how neighborhood domain names will be governed and allocated. The better we plan it on our dotNeighborhood pages and on the NYCwiki, the more likely we’ll see our neighborhoods transformed into enriched civic treasures.

We’d like to offer our sincerest appreciation to the Internet Society-NY for their efforts, especially its V.P. Joly MacFie, whose work in installing and maintaining the MediaWiki platform has been instrumental in its superb up-time and virtually spam free operation. And to Richard Knipel of Wikimedia-NY who has helped with training and imagining other ways to add important public content to the NYCwiki. And to the hundreds who have contributed information about their neighborhoods.

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Home Page


Jackson Hts., New York, June 30, 2011 - I split my out-of-office advocacy efforts for .nyc between civic and tech events. Generally I receive a positive reception at civic oriented meetings and a “why bother” at tech events. Last night it was an East Village Tech meetup at d.b.a., a beer garden at 41 1st Avenue. It was a loud space with about 10 picnic style tables with our group of perhaps 25 occupying three of them.

I went to test the salience of the “secrecy story” as a recruitment tool: that is, that inadequate transparency on .nyc’s development precludes sufficient public engagement and endangers the resource’s optimization. Or more viscerally, will residents become enraged upon learning that the .nyc TLD is being divvied up behind closed doors at City Hall?

The first fellow I spoke with was student working for a firm that had just made a bundle selling Tweet Deck, a Twitter add-on. His listened attentively but as I answered a question from another 20ish fellow next to me, moved to another table, either not having understood me or not interested. That second fellow worked for a tech advertising firm. He told me that he’d not entered a domain name in three years and doubted their value, (typical of those under 30). With the event being a geographic East Village tech meeting, I tried drawing upon his civic pride, “Wouldn’t you want to have a role in managing the domain?” He responded with confidence that only corporations could guide the development of a successful digital product. I was about to mention our dotNeighborhood governance approach, the success of Wikipedia and open source when he asked the fellow across the table what he thought, presenting the secrecy aspect with cogency. That fellow responded that corporations are going to get what they want anyhow, so why bother to even try. My neighbor nodded his acquiescence, and so went the evening. 

On a more positive note, I conversed with someone frustrated with the banking system who wanted to create a collaborative financial guidance tool, perhaps a wiki. I thought this was a great idea and agreed to make a connection with the Wikimedia folks. And finally, d.b.a. had a great Brooklyn East India Pale Ale which made the evening a joy. (Ice Cream photo courtesy of Free Photo.)

Learn more about our overall effort from our Wiki Pages