Back to News Students Explore Dynamics of Public Spaces at MAPACA Conference

Students Explore Dynamics of Public Spaces at MAPACA Conference


Riverdale, N.Y. – Mount Saint Vincent students, together with Assistant Professor of Sociology LinDa Saphan, presented “Negotiating the Use of New York City’s Shared Public Spaces” at the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association’s (MAPACA) 27th Annual Conference on November 3, 2016.

The project sought to better define the various ways New York City public spaces are used by its many stakeholders, notably buskers (street performers) and authorities. Examining each group’s unique agenda, the project’s abstract “reveals how the notion of public space is perceived differently by each social group and how each group works to appropriate and use public spaces.”

The MAPACA presentation discussed the results of four studies. The first study, “The Relationship Between Transit Officers and Buskers in New York City Subway Stations,” conducted by junior Lissette Marie Rivera, investigated public performers in subway stations and how they negotiated their use of public space with transit authorities—as well as with each other. The second study, “New York City Buskers and Their MTA Subway Station,” presented by senior Maria Ruiz, explored how performers chose their location within the subway system in relation to other performers. The third, “New York City Performers: First Come, First Served,” researched by juniors Caroline Criscuola and Brandon Briones, focused on the use of public parks by buskers, particularly how they selected their performance spot. The fourth, “Seasonal Christmas Tree Sellers in New York City,” conducted by recent Mount graduate Catherine Maas and junior Kevin Cabrera, shed light on the lives and practices of Christmas tree sellers. They are the only vendors who are not required to obtain a permit, which creates much competition and tension as they claim their space on public sidewalks.

For more information about the MAPACA presentations, please contact Dr. LinDa Saphan at

About the College of Mount Saint Vincent
Founded in 1847 by the Sisters of Charity, the College of Mount Saint Vincent offers nationally recognized liberal arts education and a select array of professional fields of study on a landmark campus overlooking the Hudson River. Committed to the education of the whole person, and enriched by the unparalleled cultural, educational and career opportunities of New York City, the College equips students with the knowledge, skills and experiences necessary for lives of achievement, professional accomplishment and leadership in the 21st century.