A Third Place

The concept of having a “third place” speaks directly to me. As a kid, and now as well, my local comic shop was usually the only place for me to discuss with others on the then nerdy subcultures of comics and gaming. There was really no place for that type of discussion anywhere else in my life, sadly even to my closest friends.

In Oldenburg’s, Our Vanishing “Third Places”, he discusses these effects for neighborhoods. I think that concept can easily be expanded to our “passions”. Being connected to many others because of your like-passions is one of the main reasons why I came to New York.

New York, to me, is the epicenter of tight knit communities, and only continues to grow.

As Oldenburg mentions, discourse is key. It’s the glue to all of this. Every week there is a symposium on comics, which is housed between Parsons, SVA, and Columbia. There are panels and presenters who gather a small group of people to discuss the past, present, and future of the medium. The diversity of range from professional to just a reader at the symposium allows unique ideas and questions to be in conversation. This extends to my own understanding as well.


Photo: Connie Sun

Knowing that there is a location that holds a forum on the things I connect to, makes me feel more connected to what’s around me.


Filed under Readings, Third Places

2 Responses to A Third Place

  1. admin

    I would be interested in discussing when or if a third place becomes not a third place when it gets too specialized? Or does urban density/internet allow for new types of specialized third places?

    • Trent Thompson

      Those are great questions.

      I would agree if a place was too specialized it would segregate people. The personal examples I used I don’t think fits that. The comic shop was a place for geek/nerd culture, which was really broad in scope: comics, card & tabletop gaming, and collectables. Unlike, say, if the place was a shop that only dealt with just specifically Mego Aqualad dolls and any thing outside of Mego Aqualad dolls is not allowed. I would venture to say that the shop wouldn’t last that long.

      I do believe that because our world is “smaller” and more capable, it allows for the niche to form there own places to gather. This goes for digital places as well, a la Kickstarter or Reddit. The growth of physical third places is heighten when the locales within cities are so fungible.

      But, I feel it is key that the place is flexible to have conversations larger than the core focus that the place is centered around.

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