Peaceful pocket park to cool off in the urban jungle
Set in Midtown Manhattan, Paley park is one of the most known and most celebrated urban spaces in New York and the world. This small quiet space is the perfect place to cool off on a lunch break in the concrete jungle of New York City.
It was designed by Robert Zion and opened in 1967. It was conceived as the prototype for a new kind of public space, privately owned, described in a proposal by Zion & Breen Associates in a 1963 exhibition at the Architectural League of New York.
Paley Park has an intimate relation with the street. Low and inviting steps and trees that canopy the sidewalk often influence passer-by to stroll through the park on impulse.
“It is located directly on the street so that people are attracted to look in and enter. It has good, reasonably priced food, as well as moveable chairs and tables that let people be comfortable and have some control over where they sit. A waterfall provides a dramatic focal point and a reason to enter the park; its noise blocks out the sounds of the city and creates a sense of quiet and privacy. There’s adequate shade in the summer from the trees, though they allow a beautiful dappled light to pass through their leaves.”
Project for Public Spaces
The key to its success is a 6.1 meter high waterfall spanning the entire back of the park. The waterfall creates a backdrop of noise to mask the sounds of the city, providing an oasis of calm.
Social interaction in the park was analyzed in the film “The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces” by William H. Whyte.
#1month1park is Beirut Green Project’s latest blog section, where we will be featuring one park a month from across the globe. These blog posts are written by residents of cities around the world who enjoy using their parks and are eager to share their experiences with us.
The purpose of this activity is to showcase some of beautiful parks from around the globe, to get inspired by some of their unique features and solutions, and to highlight the significance and vital need for these spaces for a healthy city life.