Lessons From Time Square

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dear Members:

As soon as we moved into our current space at 1500 Broadway, we wondered whether or not we would ever host a New Year’s Party given our perch overlooking Times Square. The answer to that question – for this – our last year in this space– is a resounding No! It turns out that throwing a New Year’s Eve party in the middle of Times Square has some impressive logistical challenges that we will not take on!

The benefit of our space at 1500, however, has meant that PNY has been able to say YES far more often than not to members’ requests over this last three and a half years – and we have said yes with pleasure and appreciation. Our time here has taught us that having multiple rooms of different sizes to use, with a mix of open spaces, creates substantive opportunities for members to engage and connect with one another in ways we never fully understood would be possible. And, it is because we have seen first hand how our physical space and layout contributes to the work of our members and enhances our own work, that we fully appreciated the fabulous opportunity provided by moving across town to the Ford Foundation Center For Social Justice. We will have an expanded collaborative hub with our new neighbors, more flexibility, more open spaces and even more room for PNY convenings, and that means both PNY and our membership will benefit.

What We've Learned at 1500 Broadway

As we look towards the New Year and our move, it feels fitting to reflect on all the ways that our home here at 1500 Broadway has allowed PNY to grow.

When we moved to our current space, for the first time in nearly 40 years we were able to:

  1. Have space for members to work both before and after an event.
  2. Hold two member events at the same time at the same address. 
  3. Host members’ meetings for groups from 4 to 80, including members’ board meetings.
  4. Support conversations that started during an event, to continue, either in a private space or in an open area, post event.
  5. Use different formats for programs from panels to workshops because our rooms could accommodate flexible arrangements.

We have learned that our space meant more than simply accommodating more member requests, though that has huge value. It has meant that colleagues met one another, often unexpectedly, and that those meetings led to important conversations with real results. Similarly, by having available open space where you could sit and take a call, or check email, our members learned to relish the freedom to come to PNY before a scheduled event, to stay after a program, or simply drop in when they were nearby. And, that too was more than simply convenient. It meant PNY became a real hub for the philanthropic community. When you came to PNY for a program, a discussion that started during that program could seamlessly continue immediately and in person, after the program. We have seen ideas ignite and develop, in the moment because there was a space for a conversation, and turn into new partnerships or collaborations. We have also seen the way that our community has become more connected by having a physical hub that members come to on a regular basis.

This space taught us to understand and thus properly value the opportunity provided by a move to the Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice. So, thank you, again, to our members, for your support that has made all of this possible.  

A 2018 New Year’s Eve Party? NO WAY!! But a celebratory event in our new space in the Spring of 2019 – absolutely. We can’t wait to have you join us there.   

Best regards,

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