Pocket Parks of NYC
The next stop was nearby Chatham Square. Kimlau Memorial Arch was erected in 1962 to honor LT Benjamin Ralph Kimlau, a World War II hero of Chinese decent, but the square, Chatham Square, has been there forever and previously hosted the site of the Second and Third Avenue Elevated Lines before their demolition in the mid-20th century. It is a short distance from there to Columbus Park. Though it isn’t a pocket park, I had to take my son there to enjoy the Asian musicians, impromptu singers and Mahjong games. It was a hive of activity as we stopped to listen and took a few pictures of our new-found obsession: Bubble Tea.
The schlepp to Bennett Park about ten blocks away was worth my son’s reaction to the Helix, a sculpture by Rudolph de Harak erected in 1969. It is a series of one-inch stainless steel strips fashioned into a helix that fascinated my future engineer. This was where I discovered what a wonderful photographer he is. I handed over the camera and he became my official photographer for the rest of the day.
New York City is a vibrant culture populated by pocket parks. It is a guide I was privileged to write and an experience I was privileged to share with my son if only for one day.