How the Urban Umbrella has come back to life and spawned rivals

Maribel Lieberman’s ground-level storefronts in a SoHo loft building are some of the most attractive retail spaces in the city.

But for the longest time she couldn’t fill her three vacant spaces. The pandemic was one reason. Another was the dreary steel pipe–and–green plywood shed covering the sidewalk while work was being done on the roof.

In May she sprung for an Urban Umbrella, a prettier kind of sidewalk shed that’s finally disrupting an industry whose unsightly work has been a defining element of the New York pedestrian experience since the 1980s. Lieberman is now in talks with a tenant to take all of her empty Broome Street

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