Pocket Parks of NYC
After finding a post yet again focusing on an image of Paley Park, this time from a Canadian publication, I have to speak my piece. There are many more pocket parks than Paley Park. Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Paley Park, it’s just that it seems to be the only park that gets showcased when someone writes about these little green gems in the middle of the city.
Rev. Linnette C. Williamson Memorial Park was the first pocket park to be created in 1965 under the leadership of Whitney North Seymour, Jr. A boom of pocket park creation followed in the coming years including the creation of Paley Park designed by Zion & Breen and opened May 1967. Perhaps Paley is mentioned so often because it exemplifies what a pocket park should be in the eyes of the creators of what are actually known as ‘vest-pocket parks.’ It is easily seen by those passing by on the street, yet separate and welcoming. It has comfortable and movable seating, foliage and amenities such as a waterfall that masks the noise of the city creating a peaceful atmosphere.
Yes, I love Paley Park, too, but I also love Worldwide Plaza at 825 Eighth Avenue, One East River Place at 525 East. 72nd Street, Elevated Acre at 55 Water Street and 1211 Avenue of the Americas (otherwise known as Sixth Avenue).
These are only four of the best public spaces in my book. Of the 530+ Privately Owned Public Space (POPS) on the books in NYC, only about 225 were still used as intended with seating, foliage, etc. My guide has 56 of the BEST Pocket Parks of NYC, hence the title. BEST means it has seating and other amenities that make it a comfortable place to ‘take a load off’ in the middle of a busy day in Manhattan.
If you feel I missed a site, it may turn up in a future revision, but I would love to hear about your favorites in the comment section.
So visit Paley Park if you must, and I definitely encourage a visit, but make sure you head about two doors to the East and see a piece of the Berlin Wall at the tiny Continental Illinois Building’s pocket park.
These pocket parks really are amazing.