A Brief Visit to Paley Park
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Paley Park in New York City. I’d read about it for years and had put it high on my “to visit” list while I was in the city for a few days. It was certainly worth the walk (I was staying in mid-town near Lexington and E. 36th Street).
First, I passed by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under serious exterior renovations,
but with its beautiful granite columns and wooden doors just begging to be photographed.
I continued on my walk, turned right on E. 53rd Street, and just beyond the subway entrance on the left hand side of the street spied the opening to Paley Park.
The park, opened in 1967 and designed by the architectural firm of Zion and Breen, is considered by many to be among the finest urban spaces in the United States. Located on the former site of the Stork Club, the space was given by William Paley (who was head of CBS) in memory of his father.
Central to the success of the space is a twenty-foot high waterfall at the back of the park, which you see immediately on entering.
Small, lightweight metal chairs and tables scattered through can easily be moved around to allow visitors to sit alone or in groups. On my visit, aside from a few parents with children, the park’s visitors seemed simply to be enjoying a chance to read, rest a bit, and (of course) check their email.
The honey-locust trees in the park (not in leaf while I was there) provide high, dappled shade for visitors in the summer.
For more information about Paley Park, check out the description on The Cultural Landscape Foundation’s website. And plan a visit yourself if you’re in New York. It’s a lovely spot.
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