Tiny oases of greenery in the concrete jungle are celebrated in this sprightly guidebook, the first of a planned series.
Recalling her salad days as an actress searching for that most precious of New York commodities—a place where you can sit down without paying—novelist O’Brien (First Saturday, 2012, etc.) offers this compendium of 56 “privately owned public spaces” and city parks in Manhattan, from Midtown on south. It doesn’t take much to make a park in those environs: Take a vacant lot or a recess bordering a sidewalk, add a few planters with shrubs, some chairs and furniture—you’ve got Gotham’s answer to Yellowstone. Some of these are little more than places to rest one’s feet during a shopping binge after grabbing a bite from a sidewalk vendor, but many manage to conjure a sheltering, distinctive space from cramped dimensions. O’Brien seeks out those that feature verdant foliage and clever landscaping, sculpture and artworks that add visual interest, dramatic views of the cityscape, a glimmer of a reflecting pool or a waterfall to mask the roar of city noise.
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