In 2010, the New York State Supreme Court found that the NYPD continued to enforce loitering laws that were ruled unconstitutional back in the 1980s. Have things changed in the past 10 years? What’s loitering? Who has the right to hang out in public space? How do loitering laws impact New Yorkers?

In the winter of 2018 CUP collaborated with Teaching Artist Stephen Kwok and public high school students from Life Sciences Secondary School to investigate these questions. Students created public art interventions, surveyed community members near their school, and interviewed stakeholders working on the issue. The team gathered what they learned and created, Let’s Hang Out, a guide to NYC’s loitering laws, how they impact communities, and how these policies and their enforcement could be transformed.

Students debuted their final project at the 96th Street Library, where they presented the booklet and shared their creative process.

Get your own booklet here!

Check out more photos of the students in action here!

What People Are Saying

“I’ve learned about how people view problems arising from loitering laws and more generally, the many injustices people experience in city life. I have enjoyed being in the program and collavborating with other students. It’s something I never thought I would do. Don’t be afraid of anything and speak up about any issues you are passionate about!” -Araceli Bazan, student

“I learned two things. The first is that the space of New York belongs to the people who have the right to exist in public space when and where they want to. Two, loitering is a word that’s definition is up to whoever decides to define it.” -X-Zavion Rivera, student

“I enjoyed the experience learning various topics such as photography, videography, and most importantly about the subject of loitering, which is something that is not well known and defined. Working with other students to convey our message was a positive experience.” -Lisbeth Martines, student

Funding Support

Major Support for this program was provided by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and Council Member Ben Kallos.

Special Thanks

Eric Goldfischer, Nikita Price, Audacia Ray, Michael Sisitzky, Mark Turner, Clair Beltran, Christine Gaspar, Codi Haigney, Kendell Harbin, Alex Heisler, Bria Mathis, Nidhi Subramanyam


  • CUP
  • Teaching Artist
  • Stephen Kwok
  • Project Lead
  • Fielding Hong
  • Project Support
  • Leigh Taylor
  • Life Sciences Secondary School 
  • Principal
  • Kim Swanson
  • Parent Coordinator
  • Cecilia Marshall
  • Students
  • Araceli Bazan, Sherry Cortez, Azia Francis, Kageethna Kumarasivam, Lisbeth Martines, Chelsea Rivera, Natalia Rivera, X-Zavion Rivera, Amy Veras