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Paley Park, New York City
(4.6/5 based on 40+ reviews on the web)
Paley Park is a pocket park located at 3 East 53rd Street in Midtown Manhattan on the former site of the Stork Club. Designed by the landscape architectural firm of Zion & Breen, it opened May 23, 1967. Paley Park is often cited as one of the finest urban spaces in the United States.Measuring 4200sqft, the park offers a quiet urban oasis in the midst of the bustling city by the careful use of falling water, airy trees, lightweight furniture and simple spatial organization.Key to its success is a 20ft high waterfall spanning the entire back of the park. The waterfall creates a backdrop of grey noise to mask the sounds of the city. The park is surrounded by walls on three sides and is open to the street (with an ornamental gate) on the fourth side, facing the street. The walls are covered in ivy, and the overhead canopy formed by honey locust trees adds a degree of serenity to the park.A privately owned public space, Paley Park was financed by the William S. Paley Foundation and was named by Paley for his father, Samuel Paley. A plaque near the entrance reads: This park is set aside in memory of Samuel Paley, 1875–1963, for the enjoyment of the public.Social interaction in the park was analyzed in the film The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William H. Whyte.Paley Park served as the inspiration for a similarly sized urban park in Charleston, South Carolina, that opened in June 2015 and is known as Theodora Park.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Agree it is a lovely oasis although it shouldn't be seen as a smokers oasis - it is a relief from the hustle and bustle of the city and a great spot for a coffee with the backdrop of the waterfall/ 
  • If you are a smoker and you want to enjoy a smoke with a coffee and relax without being criticized, just visit this small oasis. I visited with my husband who is a smoker and although I am not I enjoy...  more »
  • Very beautiful park among the skyscrapers. In the background there is formed a waterfall and in front of him with chairs and tables under the shade of trees. I do not believe that there may be something in this huge city.
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Google
  • A decent little park in the middle of the city with a cascade waterfall at the back. It's similar to Greenacre Park a few blocks over and is a great alternative for a lunch goer like me. I would give this 5 stars, if it wasn't for even better parks nearby. But nonetheless its a great spot.
  • This would be a great urban oasis except for one thing. It seems to have been taken over by cigarette and cigar smokers. If you love waterfalls and inhaling second-hand smoke, then this the place for you. Given that smoking is now illegal I public parks in NYC I'm not sure why it's tolerated here.
  • So peaceful here. Very clean and quiet. Staff members are very friendly.
  • Neat little place to go relax over lunch with some friends. Very relaxing and the waterfall is very neat!
  • A beautiful quiet getaway setting for piece of mind, lunch or to enjoy the waterfall.